Today’s Key Takeaways: Governor Dunleavy tours Westinghouse Microreactor Development Facility. “Conoco has made a commitment, and they’re sticking by it.” Drop in U.S. Gas Prices Temporary. Biden losing young voters on Willow and TikTok.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Alaska Governor Tours eVinci™ Microreactor Development Facility
Westinghouse Electric Company, March 24, 2023
Throughout its history, Alaska has been known as a land of boundless possibilities, adventure, exploration, natural resources and, of course, a strong cultural heritage tied to the indigenous communities who have called this land home for centuries.
Moving forward, Alaska sees a potential for nuclear energy technology to help the state secure its future by providing clean, cost-competitive, reliable and safe electricity, even to the most remote and harshest corners of the state.
It is a state with a lot of land — in fact the largest (you could fit Texas twice over in its 586,000 square miles) — but with the third smallest population. That creates a rather unique situation as many small rural communities search for sustainable sources of energy to thrive.
“We have more microgrids than anywhere else in the country, perhaps, possibly, the world,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “A lot of isolated communities, sometimes hundreds and hundreds of miles apart from each other, and currently most of those communities are dependent on diesel generation.”
Benoit Morenne, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2023
Ryan Lance says Alaska, where he began his career, will provide much-needed crude for decades to come
Chief Executive Ryan Lance was only a budding oilman when he first set foot in Alaska. Nearly four decades later, his company reigns supreme over the U.S. Arctic.
At a time when investors profess gloomy views of long-term demand for oil and demand quick returns from companies, Mr. Lance’s contrarian strategy sets him apart. The CEO says that a dearth of investments in oil and gas means that the world will need new supplies of crude; as a result, he is pursuing a strategy to drill wells that will yield oil for decades.
That plan is underpinned by ConocoPhillips investments in Alaska, where Mr. Lance’s career started. He spent around 14 years there navigating the state’s energy landscape, politics and, occasionally, its wildlife.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Mr. Lance embraced the local lifestyle. The oil boss likes to tell people about the time he was hiking through the Kenai Mountains and crossed paths with a bear, that chased him up a tree, said Don Wallette, a former chief financial officer at ConocoPhillips.
People who know Mr. Lance said his experience in Alaska shaped his advocacy for the roughly $7 billion Willow project in the state’s North Slope, which Mr. Biden greenlighted earlier in March. Willow cements ConocoPhillips’s status as the largest producer in the state and gives it license to keep expanding, analysts said.
Drop In U.S. Gasoline Prices Likely To Be Temporary
Charles Kennedy, OilPrice.Com, March 27, 2023
Although the national average U.S. gasoline price fell slightly by 0.3 cents per gallon last week, declines are likely to be temporary, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-saving app GasBuddy.
U.S. gasoline prices fell for a second consecutive week last week, as oil prices were under intense selloff with the banking sector jitters in the United States and Europe.
Last week, the average price of gasoline in America dropped by 0.3 cents from a week ago to $3.40 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average is now 7.8 cents higher compared to a month ago but 83 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, De Haan said. The national average price of diesel has fallen by 5.9 cents in the last week to $4.19 per gallon. That’s 92.7 cents lower than a year ago.
Biden’s moves on Alaska drilling, TikTok test young voters
Jonathan J. Cooper, AP, March 26, 2023
Recent moves by President Joe Biden to pressure TikTok over its Chinese ownership and approve oil drilling in an untapped area of Alaska are testing the loyalty of young voters, a group that’s largely been in his corner.
Youth turnout surged in the three elections since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, helping Biden eke out victories in swing states in 2020, pick up a Democratic Senate seat in the 2022 election and stem potential losses in the House.
But the 80-year-old president has never been the favorite candidate of young liberals itching for a new generation of American leadership. As Biden gears up for an expected reelection campaign, a potential TikTok ban and the Alaska drilling could weigh him down.
Meanwhile, his plan to wipe out billions of dollars in student loan debt is in jeopardy at the Supreme Court. The effort, announced shortly before last year’s midterms, was an attempt by Biden to keep a promise he made after defeating progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary campaign in 2020.