Copper Mines -Another One Bites the Dust?  A Tale of Two Forecasters: IEA vs EIA. 

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  IEA becoming unreliable in energy forecasts.   Oil groups ask Biden to remove barriers to offshore production.  Giant copper mine in Panama faces contract repeal.  Senate permitting reform bill targets judicial process used to delay projects. 


IEA’s World Energy Outlook Forecast Is an Outlier among Forecasts
Institute for Energy Research, October 31, 2023

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) has become an outlier, projecting a peaking of global fossil fuel demand by 2030, when all evidence and other modelers show the world’s fossil fuel demand growing.
  • The IEA puts its faith in the ability of wind, solar and electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels, when in reality there are struggles in each sector.
  • Wind and solar power are facing much higher costs, higher interest rates and more public dissatisfaction with the costs of its deployment.
  • IEA expects U.S. sales of electric vehicles in 2030 to be 50 percent when U.S. auto manufacturers are slowing down their EV development in response to slower-than-expected growth in sales of electric vehicles, among other factors.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2023 makes assumptions in its Stated Policies Case (base scenario) that results in forecasts that are very different than those other modelers are producing. For instance, IEA has world fossil fuel demand peaking in 2030, and then declining due mostly to lower coal demand. Fossil fuel demand in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) International Energy Outlook continues increasing through 2050 where it is 18 percent higher than fossil fuel demand in 2022 and supplying 70 percent of the world’s energy. IEA’s forecast for world liquids demand peaks in 2030 at 104.5 million barrels per day and slowly declines; EIA’s is higher at 105.5 million barrels per day and increases thereafter to 121.5 million barrels per day in 2050. And, OPEC’s 2030 liquids demand forecast is for 112 million barrels per day—7.5 million barrels per day more than IEA’s forecast.



U.S. oil groups urge Biden administration to support energy security by removing offshore production barriers
World Oil, November 2, 2023

The American Petroleum Institute (API) called on the Biden administration to help meet growing energy demand by allowing for consistent and predictable access to America’s vast energy resources offshore. In comments submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in response to the Call for Information and Nominations for 2024-2029 Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales, API joined with EnerGeo Alliance, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) in reiterating its concern regarding the administration’s repeated attempts to restrict future offshore production and urged the agency to promptly finalize its five-year offshore leasing program without delay and hold each of the lease sales scheduled on a region-wide basis in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been the backbone of U.S. energy production for years, providing more than one million barrels of oil equivalent per day for the last two decades,” API Vice President of Upstream Policy Holly Hopkins said. “The decisions made regarding future leasing will have short- and long-term implications for our nation’s energy and national security, job creation, and government revenue.”

In addition to submitting comments on the Call for Information, the associations joined with the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC) to submit comments in response to BOEM’s Notice of Intent to Prepare a Gulf of Mexico Regional Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

In both comment letters, the associations highlighted the Biden administration’s repeated attempts to restrict energy production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, including issuing an unlawful moratorium on oil and gas lease sales; cancelling offshore sales; allowing the five-year program for federal offshore leasing to expire; adding unjustified restrictions and removing acreage from a congressionally-mandated lease sale and issuing a final five-year program with the fewest lease sales in history. The associations urged Interior to end the bureaucratic delays, including additional NEPA reviews, and move forward with region-wide lease sales as soon as possible.

“Without the right implementation, the administration’s five-year program will become a mere paper exercise instead of an actionable vehicle for strengthening U.S. energy security,” Hopkins concluded.


Panama Congress Backs Repealing First Quantum Mine Contract
Michael McDonald, James Atwood, Yahoo! Finance, November 2, 2023

Panamanian lawmakers voted to repeal a new contract with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Wednesday in the second of three required votes, adding to uncertainties over the future of a giant copper mine.

Authorities in Panama are grappling to contain weeks of demonstrations against a renegotiated contract that President Laurentino Cortizo’s administration signed with First Quantum for the Cobre Panama mine. The backlash underscores the challenges for mining to gain widespread acceptance at a time of heightened social and environmental scrutiny and resource nationalism.

Panama’s Congress has been convened to a special session Thursday for a third, definitive vote on the mine. On Wednesday, the bill was voted on by article and a provision to rescind a contract for the mine passing in a 63-0 vote. Final approval to repeal would make a proposed referendum of the contract unnecessary and send the arrangement to extend the Canadian firm’s mining license by 20 years into arbitration.

Shares of the Canadian miner rose as much as 8.3% Thursday in Toronto trading, after a three-day slide that wiped out almost half the company’s market value.

The bill also establishes an indefinite moratorium on metal mining nationwide and orders the government to reject all current and future requests for metal mining permits and renewals.

First Quantum has lost almost half its market value in the past week given the mine in Panama is its biggest money maker and accounts for about 1.5% of the world’s mined copper.


NEW PERMITTING REFORM BILL: Senate Republicans introduced a new bill yesterday meant to streamline the buildout of energy projects by amending the judicial processes often used to delay permit approvals.

Introduced by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the Revising and Enhancing Project Authorizations Impacted by Review, or REPAIR, Act is intended to speed up projects’ implementation by limiting the ability of groups or individuals to file suits under NEPA, the 1970 law that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions before making decisions.

The bill would require individuals filing a suit against a project to file within 30 days and necessitates that the individuals are directly affected by the project and focus on the “direct and tangible harms” not considered in the initial authorization process. The measure would create a database, maintained by the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, for claims that have not been adjudicated within 90 days of filing. The bill would establish a “mediation process” that would allow the project developer and the permit-issuing agency to address a challenge directly in order to move a project forward. The measure also allows offshore wind projects access to the same judicial review process as offshore oil and gas.

The bill’s introduction highlights slight movement in an otherwise stalled priority for both parties within Congress. Although there is bipartisan support to streamline the permitting process for energy projects, there is large disagreement between the two sides on how to do so. More on that here. 

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy