News of the Day:
Positive signs for oil, tourism, but rebound will take time
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, December 24, 2020
Alaska is positioned to possibly become an even more popular destination when travel eventually resumes en masse but oil markets aren’t likely to rebound nearly as well despite relative recent strength, according to the leaders of some of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s large investment partners.
Recent gains in oil markets have surpassed the expectations of most investors but are also tentative, given the dominant presence COVID-19 continues to have over much of the world, according to the leaders of Riverstone Holdings LLC.
Riverstone is a $40 billion private market investment firm that focuses on the energy and infrastructure sectors.
“While (oil) prices are up in the near-term, they are lower in the medium- to long-term,” said Pierre Lapeyre Jr., co-founder of Riverstone Holdings.
Oil prices have hovered around $50 per barrel for Alaska North Slope crude in mid-December on hopes that the first round of COVID-19 vaccines will translate into greater demand before too long.
Oil Prices In 2021 May Look Oddly Familiar — And Squeeze Shale
Gillian Rich, Investors Business Daily, December 28, 2020
A weary world rejoiced as the coronavirus vaccine began its rollout in December. Oil prices hit $50 per barrel, the highest levels since March, on the news. But the celebrations were short-lived as medical experts warn of a long dark winter ahead.
In fact, optimism in the oil markets was premature as analysts say oil prices are in for a rough first half of 2021. New lockdowns have arrived, OPEC is set to increase supply, and President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to hammer out a new Iran nuclear deal; all of which are expected to drag on oil prices.
“We expect a pullback (of oil prices) here shortly, similar to what we saw happen in early September,” Allyson Cutright, director of the global oil service division at Rapidan Energy Group. “And that’s primarily because we don’t see the vaccines really impacting demand until the second half of the year.”
Rapidan expects Brent to average $45 per barrel for 2021 and West Texas Intermedia at $43. If that looks familiar, that’s because it is.
HEX CI still moving forward
Kay Cashman, Petroleum News, December 27, 2020
Since taking over operatorship of the Cook Inlet Kitchen Lights unit on July 1 with its purchase of bankruptcy debtor Furie Operating Alaska LLC and related firms, HEX Cook Inlet LLC touts a surprisingly hefty list of accomplishments.
The company, a joint venture between HEX LLC (80%) and Rogue Wave AK LLC (20%), was founded in 2020 by Alaskan John Hendrix, its president and CEO. Hendrix, who was raised in Homer and is an engineer, has close to four decades of experience in the energy industry in Alaska, the Lower 48 and internationally with Apache, BP, and Schlumberger.
In a Dec. 18 presentation to a Commonwealth North study group, Hendrix listed HEX CI’s accomplishments, the most recent being record natural gas production in 2020 of 15.4 million cubic feet per day, as compared to about 12 million when HEX took over on July 1. T
Scientists propose new evolutionary system of mineral classification
Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, News Suppliers & Equipment USA Diamond, December 27, 2020
Researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science and the University of Colorado Boulder are proposing a new “evolutionary system” of mineral classification that includes historical data and reflects changes in the diversity and distribution of minerals through more than four billion years of Earth’s history.
Diamonds are the inspiration behind the scientists’ proposal because even though many of them differ in both composition and genesis, they are all categorized as “diamonds” by the International Mineralogical Association’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.
This means that the historical context of the gems is left behind and this has become problematic for planetary scientists, geo-biologists, paleontologists, and others who have to treat equally rocks that formed billions of years ago in space as the carbon-rich atmospheres of dying stars expanded and cooled or diamonds that formed 5,000 years ago when a large meteorite struck a carbon-rich sediment on Earth.
Senate bipartisan action on energy brings climate progress
Fran Ulmer, Anchorage Daily News, December 24, 2020
No one needs to tell Alaskans that climate change is real. We see the impacts as glaciers retreat, permafrost thaws, sea ice melts and weather patterns change dramatically. We see increased coastal erosion threatening two dozen Alaska Native villages.
Locally and globally, people are losing so much as the climate changes so rapidly. To slow it down, we’re going to need all hands-on deck and every tool in the toolbox. That means bringing all the best solutions, even some technologies that are still in development, need more research or require additional investments to bring to the marketplace.
One recent positive step to make that happen came from Congress, with an Alaskan leading the way: Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Congress passed the Energy Act of 2020 as part of a larger spending bill this month. It does several key things to help our economy, our health, and our climate.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
Phony Climate Activism 101
Ronnie Thompson, American Conservation Coalition Blog, December 14, 2020
In their latest attempt to prove just how radical they are, more than 300 left-wing environmental groups penned a letter to congressional Democrats expressing concerns over a bipartisan energy package that may soon become law. As is often the case with the environmental left, their opposition is not rooted in principle, but rather in a quest to demonstrate that they are the only ones who actually care about climate change.
Putting their performative tactics aside, far-left environmental groups seem to believe that addressing climate change requires fierce opposition to any reasonable proposals that could make a difference. The latest energy package they oppose includes measures to support carbon capture, advanced nuclear, and battery storage, but these provisions are apparently not good enough. In fact, the provisions, according to the letter’s signatories, are “dirty energy handouts” and “false climate solutions.”
On what planet is supporting nuclear energy—the nation’s largest source of carbon-free electricity—a dirty energy handout? And since reducing emissions is goal number one when it comes to combating climate change, carbon capture cannot possibly be dubbed a false climate solution. Then again, it’s probably a waste of time to try to understand the environmental left’s nonsensical positions since its goal is not to reduce emissions, but rather to manufacture as much hysteria and outrage as possible.
These 300+ environmental groups would rather go down kicking and screaming in the absence of a Green New Deal as opposed to promoting realistic climate solutions. Leaders of these groups have made clear that they want congressional Democrats to walk away from negotiations on this energy package and focus on “aiming higher” under a Biden administration. This position wouldn’t be so outlandish if these weren’t the same people shouting to the rooftops that we only have twelve years left to address climate change. In spite of their manufactured time crunch, far-left environmental groups have no problem with undermining climate action that could happen right now.
What’s more is that in holding out for the incoming presidential administration, these groups must have forgotten that candidate Biden released a climate platform supporting investments in carbon capture and nuclear technology. Also noteworthy is that more than seventy senators were involved in writing the individual bills that make up the energy package, making it an overwhelmingly bipartisan piece of legislation. By the far-left environmentalists’ standards, do the dozens of Democratic senators who were involved in crafting this bill support dirty energy handouts and false climate solutions? It’s unlikely that we will ever get an answer to this question.
Perhaps the most outrageous line of attack against the energy package is that, according to the letter, it contains policies that will “forward energy injustice.” It would be one thing if these environmental groups were claiming that the package does not allocate enough funds for energy technologies, resulting in an injustice. But instead, these groups take a Green New Deal or bust approach and believe that only it will serve as a cure-all solution to environmental challenges. Ironically, the Green New Deal would produce the most injustice of any environmental proposal. It would crush free markets, enforce mandates, and decimate the working and middle classes by way of soaring energy prices.
The environmental left’s latest performative gesture demonstrates once again that it does not actually care about addressing climate change. Despite the narrative painting President Trump, Republicans, and congressional gridlock as the biggest barriers to climate action, the truth is that far-left environmental activists are the largest force standing in the way. Congress should tune out these unserious actors and pass this energy package.