ConocoPhillips requests July decision on Willow suit
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, February 24, 2021
ConocoPhillips is asking the federal judge overseeing both of the lawsuits seeking to stop one of the largest North Slope oil developments in decades to determine the near-term fate of the project by the summer.
Attorneys for the Houston-based major that has grown its presence on the Slope in recent years proposed to U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge Sharon Gleason that she rule by July 1 on the merits of the nearly identical lawsuits challenging the federal permits for its Willow oil project. A midsummer decision would hopefully allow ConocoPhillips and Interior agencies time to remedy any issues ahead of the 2021-22 winter construction season, they wrote in motions filed Feb. 22.
Separately, the Bureau of Land Management and the coalition of national conservation groups suing the agency over its approval of ConocoPhillips’ development plan for Willow jointly submitted a motion Feb. 22 in one of the suits laying out an agreed-upon schedule that would have the last briefs filed by June 1, ahead of a ruling by Gleason.
Cheniere to tag LNG cargoes with emissions data to aid buyers’ environmental goals
Harry Weber, S & P Global Platts, February 24, 2021
Cheniere will give its LNG customers emissions data associated with each cargo it produces at its two US export terminals, in a bid to make its environmental footprint more transparent at a time of increasing pressure on buyers to reduce their shale consumption.
As the biggest US LNG exporter, Cheniere is a major buyer of physical gas that it uses in the liquefaction process. Much of the gas is drilled in shale basins stretching from the US Gulf Coast to the Northeast to Western Canada.
Amid the energy transition to greater use of renewables and cleaner burning fuels, France’s Engie said in November 2020 that it had halted talks with NextDecade about a supply deal tied to the developer’s proposed Rio Grande LNG facility in Texas. With strict carbon emissions goals, European utilities are being pressured to shy away from signing new deals for importing US shale gas.
Biden Administration Recognizes that Supply Chain Security Starts with Minerals Security
National Mining Association, February 24, 2021
The National Mining Association (NMA) today applauded President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, which the President will sign later today and reportedly contains directives that are specific to our domestic minerals supply chains and recognize the key role that minerals play in securing the availability of critical and essential goods and materials.
“We can’t import our way to economic and national security; we have to establish that security literally from the ground up by using American-mined materials produced by American workers under world-leading environmental standards,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO. “The President clearly recognizes the threat and is acting to protect against the exposure that exists in our energy, national security, manufacturing and medical supply chains given our overreliance on imports for the building blocks of these key industries.”
Talking Points on Wind Production Tax Credit
Alex Epstein, Real Clear Politics, February 25, 2021
The Wind Production Tax Credit is a perverse policy that pays utilities to slow down or shut down reliable power plants whenever the wind blows. It is driving reliable power plants out of business, leading to higher costs and lower reliability.
- Wind turbines cannot provide the reliable energy that our amazing electrical grid requires 24/7. That’s why every place in the world that uses unreliable wind energy depends 24/7 on massive amounts of reliable energy from coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear plants.
- Because wind turbines are unreliable, they can’t replace our reliable power plants, only duplicate, or supplement them at tremendous cost. That’s why the more wind a grid uses the more expensive its electricity tends to be.1
- The only reason utilities buy unnecessary, wasteful wind turbines is government policies that force them to do so or reward them for doing so. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them,” says Warren Buffett.2
- One of the worst wind favoritism policies is the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which pays utilities to shut down or slow down reliable gas, coal, and nuclear power plants whenever the wind blows, driving many out of operation and threatening the grid’s future.3
- The perverse incentives of the wind PTC and other wind favoritism are not only making electricity more expensive but less reliable. That’s why grids around the US are already blacking out industrial customers, and Texas and the Northeast are warning of residential blackouts.4
- Congress needs to let the 28-year-old wind PTC expire, end all forms of energy favoritism, and let technologies compete on reliability and cost. That will reduce electricity prices, increase reliability, and increase innovation.
In the U.S. northeast, grid operator ISO-NE warned, the grid is likely to be at risk of fuel shortages and rolling blackouts thanks to limited natural gas pipeline capacity. “In the coming years as more oil, coal, and nuclear leave the system, keeping the lights on in New England will become an even more tenuous proposition.” -ISO New England, 2018 Regional Electricity Outlook.
SEC to push companies to disclose more about climate risks
Ben Geman, Axios, February 25, 2021
The Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to push companies to disclose more info about risks that climate change poses to their business — and signaled that tougher policies could be in the offing.
Driving the news: Allison Herren Lee, the regulator’s acting chair, said Wednesday that the SEC would bolster its focus on how companies are responding to its 2010 guidance on the topic.
- She said it’s important to provide investors with “access to material information when planning for their financial future.”
The big picture: It’s the latest sign of increased climate focus from the SEC and other financial agencies, including the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.
- Earlier this month the SEC said attorney Satyam Khanna would serve in the newly created role of senior policy adviser for climate and ESG.
What we’re watching: The SEC’s potential move toward creating formal, mandatory disclosure rules on climate specifically, as opposed to just looser guidance.
- Lee said ensuring compliance with the existing guidance is an immediate step “on the path to developing a more comprehensive framework that produces consistent, comparable, and reliable climate-related disclosures.”