From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
KERRY AT CERAWEEK: President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry warned oil and gas executives today to “read the tea leaves” and reorient their businesses away from fossil fuels.
“There are some companies moving more aggressively to make that transition,” Kerry said during a virtual appearance at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, the world’s largest annual energy industry confab. “Others continue to fight to hold onto whatever the market share is, which is going to diminish.”
“Where is the revenue going to come from?” Kerry added, saying companies resisting change are waging a “useless” fight and will end up “on the wrong side of this battle.”
Minutes later, Michael Wirth, the CEO of U.S. oil and gas major Chevron, a company that Kerry likely had in mind, delivered a very different message targeted at the Biden administration.
He said that the world will still require oil and gas for decades to come, the resiliency of demand during the pandemic proves that, and policy should focus on reducing emissions, not fossil fuel use.
“We are all looking for gas as an important part of the energy future around the world,” Wirth said. “We need to make sure we are working with the administration to help them understand that.”
Kerry and Wirth, along with other U.S. oil and gas CEOs who addressed CERAWeek, are on the same page in saying the industry will play a crucial role in determining the trajectory of emissions.
“We should not be talking about eliminating fossil fuels, what we should be talking about is eliminating emissions,” said Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, who said her company strives to produce “net-zero carbon oil.”
“We cannot achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement without the oil industry helping in that,” she said.
The Biden administration also shares common goals with industry in expanding use of technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen that can be delivered by pipeline and compliment gas used in energy-intensive sectors such as manufacturing.
Natural gas can help solve climate change, industry reminds policymakers
Scott DiSavino, Reuters, March 3, 2021
The energy industry wants policy makers to remember that natural gas can and should be part of the solution in solving climate change, executives said at a conference on Tuesday.
“The most important thing to continue to impress upon the policymakers is natural gas can and should be a big part of the climate change solutions,” Michele Harradence, SVP, and chief operations officer gas transmission and midstream at Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc, said at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek.
She noted gas has already “done a lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in North America. It is an excellent complement to renewable energy and provides low-cost reliable backup needed to support growth of renewable infrastructure.”
In the United States, carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels fell in 2020 to its lowest since 1983 as coal-fired power plants retired and were replaced by gas-fired generators and renewable electric sources, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Harradence noted that building more gas infrastructure does not lock in emissions over the long term since “We can blend hydrogen and renewable natural gas into the gas stream and that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Another speaker on the CERAWeek Gas & The Decarbonization Agenda panel, Andy Calitz, deputy secretary-general of the International Gas Union (IGU) trade group, said one of the most important things global major economic powers could do is adopt a carbon tax.
Calitz said the “amazingly cold winter in the northern hemisphere … will impress upon governments … that a careful balance needs to be struck between energy security and climate risk … because the stakes are so enormously high.”
Calitz and other executives on the panel noted gas can provide that energy security and help reduce carbon emissions from burning other fossil fuels like coal and oil.
Army Corps agrees to reconsider Pebble Mine permit denial
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media, March 2, 2021
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will reconsider its decision denying a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine.
The agency has accepted an appeal application from the Pebble Limited Partnership. The Army Corps says the application is sufficient to begin an administrative appeal.
The Corps decided in November that Pebble’s plan to mitigate the environmental damage was inadequate and that the project doesn’t serve the public. The open pit gold mine would be among the largest in the world. The site is upstream from Bristol Bay.
The agency rejected an appeal from the state of Alaska. The state has no standing to appeal because it’s not the permit applicant, the Corps said. Gov. Mike Dunleavy says the state should be able to appeal because the mine would be important to the state’s economy and would be built on state land.
GOP will back Alaska Sen. Murkowski’s reelection despite Trump threat, McConnell says
KTUU, March 2, 2021
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Republican party will support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s 2022 bid for reelection.
McConnell’s statement comes days after former President Donald Trump called for the GOP to “get rid of” Murkowski and the other Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach him.
McConnell also says he’s not worried about Trump’s influence playing a factor with Murkowski’s attempt to get another term.
Trump’s words against the Republican incumbents at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference highlight the divide between the former president and the establishment wing of the Republican party.
Jigar Shah to Run U.S. Energy Office That Backed Tesla, Solyndra
Brian Eckhouse & Ari Natter, Bloomberg Green, March 3, 2021
Jigar Shah, a clean-power pioneer who helped bring solar into the mainstream, has been tapped to run the U.S. Energy Department loan-program that backed Tesla Inc. and failed solar-manufacturer Solyndra LLC.
As head of the agency’s loan programs office, Shah will oversee more than $40 billion in loan authority available to support clean energy projects. His selection underscores President Joe Biden’s commitment to bringing climate to the fore. The entrepreneur is a longtime champion of clean power at entities including SunEdison Inc. and Generate, which builds, owns, operates and finances sustainable-energy projects.
“One of the reasons they are choosing me is to make the office more exciting, make it more accessible and make entrepreneurs feel like someone who has been in their shoes before is there and will give them a fair hearing,” Shah said in an interview.