Oil producers cautious as recovery hopes rise
Ed Crooks, Wood Mackenzie, November 20, 2020
On 10 November 1942, with Rommel’s army in full retreat across Egypt and French forces surrendering to the Americans and British in Morocco and Algeria, Winston Churchill gave a speech at Mansion House in London. “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end,” he said. “But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” That seems to be about where humanity is now in its battle against Covid-19.
So, while oil executives speaking at Wood Mackenzie’s online Americas Energy Summit this week were looking ahead to a better year in 2021, they were cautious about stepping up activity on hopes of a rebound in demand.
“We are taking a conservative approach to what we think prices will be,” said Vicki Hollub, chief executive of Occidental Petroleum. “I do believe that we’re going to see better prices towards the fourth quarter of next year… But for the near term, what we’re doing is we’ve capped our investment at $2.9 billion in 2021. That’s the maximum it would be, and if prices were for whatever reason to go lower than $40, we would probably adjust that.”
Demand Rising for LNG and Oil Cargoes
Matthew V. Veazey, Rigzone, November 22, 2020
Rigzone’s downstream readers paid considerable attention to articles this past week focusing on signs of improving fortunes of players within the global crude oil and LNG markets. However, readers also showed interest in another recent piece detailing one place that appears to want less of an important energy commodity. Keep reading for details.
The Great American LNG Comeback
Like others in the U.S. oil and gas industry, LNG exporters have had to contend with low prices and low demand this year. However, as this article from Rigzone contributor Jude Clemente points out, the market for LNG from U.S. export terminals has been improving. In fact, he observes that demand has entered record territory in recent weeks. Although there has been an uptick in traditional Asian demand centers, Clemente also discusses how U.S. producers and shippers can make further inroads into the European market.
Media gets documents on Pebble from SalmonState, discovers AKDNR is doing their job!
Liz Ruskin, KTOO, Alaska Public Media, November 20, 2020
Publicly, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources says it’s not involved with Pebble Limited Partnership’s application for a federal permit to dig an open-pit gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay.
But text messages and meeting notes — released in response to a public records request from mine opponents — show that behind the scenes, the leaders of the agency have been collaborating with Pebble to create the final piece of Pebble’s application.
“This will be a huge lift, but I have full confidence in this team,” Deputy DNR Commissioner Sara Longan wrote in a text to another DNR official on July 31.
Federal agency proposes rule aimed at blocking banks from not financing Arctic drilling
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, November 21, 2020
The federal government on Friday released a proposed rule aimed at limiting large banks from pulling their financing from Arctic oil and gas projects, after several banks announced policies that prohibit or limit their investment in such projects, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, some experts and activists said the rule’s impact, if it is finalized, could be muted if banks can show that opting to not finance Arctic oil projects is a financial decision, not a political one.
The head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent bureau under the Treasury Department, said on Friday that the banking system’s capital and services must be accessible to everyone on equal terms.
Our Take: From Alaska’s Congressional Delegation: U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska), welcomed a proposed rule announced today by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to ensure that national banks are providing fair access to banking services to customers based on objective risk, without excluding legal businesses and individuals. The announced rule comes after a sustained effort by members of Congress, led by the Alaska congressional delegation, urging the country’s senior federal financial regulators to examine the legality of decisions in late 2019 and early 2020 by several of the nation’s largest banks to withhold financing from oil and gas development projects in the Arctic, including the 1002 Area of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
Subsidizing and innovating away climate change
Amy Harder, Axios, November 23, 2020
Washington lawmakers may throw billions of taxpayer dollars at clean energy next year, prompting a rush of ideas about how to do it and how effective it can be at tackling climate change.
Driving the news: With the federal government’s political power likely divided, the biggest policies are likely to come through an economic recovery package in the form of subsidies and other spending.
Where it stands: Extending wind and solar tax credits are at the top of the list for Democrats and renewable-energy lobbyists. But more measures are in the works that could also hitch a ride on a stimulus bill.
The big picture: Washington has a decades-long practice of approving carrots (rewards) over sticks (penalties) to affect energy policy.
In fact, the federal government has almost never passed a major “sticks” policy — like carbon taxes and mandates penalizing oil, natural gas and coal — despite decades of debate about such approaches. (A federal ethanol mandate is a notable exception.)
What they’re saying: This debate about carrots and sticks is a perennial one.