ConocoPhillips has funded FEED at its Willow NPR-A development
Kristen Nelson, Petroleum News, January 10, 2021 edition
ConocoPhillips approved funding for front-end engineering and design, FEED, for its Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska earlier in December, ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman told Petroleum News in a Dec. 29 email. The funding “includes gravel work for the 2021 winter season, and progress with detailed engineering based on the development plan approved in the ROD,” she said.
The record of decision or ROD on the final environmental impact statement for the project was signed by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Oct. 26 (see story in Nov. 1 issue of PN). The FEIS for the project was released in August.
“A final investment decision is planned for late 2021,” Lowman said.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
EX-IM BANK FINANCES US LNG PROJECT FOR FIRST TIME: The Export-Import Bank finalized its first ever U.S. LNG export project authorization, the agency announced today.
The bank is providing $50 million to Freeport LNG, a Houston-based exporter of liquified natural gas.
Ex-Im says the action will support 200 American jobs, mainly in Texas, as well as through supplier networks in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
The first and last? It will be interesting to see whether Biden moves to restrict Ex-Im and the International Development Finance Corporation, another export finance agency, from supporting fossil fuel projects. Former President Barack Obama ended overseas coal finance, but Biden has been murky about his approach to natural gas exports.
Trump hurries to loosen mining regulations, approve projects
Reuters Staff, January 8, 2021
Outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration is moving to loosen mining regulations and green light new mineral projects before leaving office this month, with successor Joe Biden unable to reverse some of the changes.
Administration officials tell Reuters they plan to publish a raft of decisions on Jan. 15 that will expand miners’ access to federal lands, give final approval to Lithium Americas Corp’s Nevada lithium mine and approve a land swap for a Rio Tinto Ltd Arizona copper mining project, among other steps.
Biden will be able to reverse some of Trump’s changes, especially proposed rules under regulatory review. But some of Trump’s steps will either be irreversible or require Biden to restart the rule-making process, a years-long effort, which is a concern to environmentalists.
Businesses Brace for a Democratic Congress
Emily Glazer, Collin Eaton and Orla McCaffrey, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
Businesses are scrambling to assess the impact of Democrats winning control of the Senate, a development that took some by surprise and is expected to accelerate Biden administration policy changes and increased regulatory scrutiny of industries such as finance and oil.
Companies and trade groups are bracing for further government oversight after Democrats won both seats in Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election. While narrow control of the Senate makes it difficult for Democrats to pursue ambitious legislation, it puts the party in control of key committees and clears the way for President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees to head agencies that regulate a wide array of industries.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS:
ADDRESSING THE 95% CHALLENGE
Count on Coal Blog, January 7, 2021
Over the next 80 years, the U.S. is likely to account for just 5% of global emissions. That’s the finding of Varun Sivaram, an expert at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy.
As he recently told Axios, while reducing U.S. emissions is important, tackling the 95% percent challenge – rising global emissions – should be the focus. He argues that the most important thing the U.S. can do is to innovate and effectively deploy a range of clean-energy technologies in affordable ways.
With new leadership in Washington, heeding this call and remembering the 95% challenge is going to be critically important to producing effective and replicable global solutions.
A race to cut U.S. emissions using draconian policies that raise energy prices or destroy community-supporting industries with little care for the bigger more important global picture should be a non-starter. Fuel-targeting, long a favorite tactic of some environmental groups, needs to go the way of the top hat.
Dismantling the U.S. coal industry while pretending coal isn’t the leading fuel for global electricity generation is hardly climate leadership. It’s willful blindness to important energy realities. And pretending that the nation’s coal fleet doesn’t still play a critical role in balancing the grid and ensuring the affordable and reliable power consumers count on is just as unhelpful.