From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
TRUMP LOOKS TO BEAT THE CLOCK IN ALASKA: President Trump’s Interior Department this week will ask companies to pick which areas they’d like to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a hurried step toward an actual lease sale in January, not coincidentally, before Joe Biden takes office. A notice in the Federal Register today says Interior’s Bureau of Land Management will formally “request for nominations” tomorrow. BLM will hold a 30-day comment period once the call for nominations is published.
Need for speed: The Trump administration is eager to deliver on a mandate from the 2017 Republican tax cut bill allowing energy exploration in a 1.56 million-acre section of the 19.3 million-acre refuge, known as the “1002 area,” where billions of barrels of oil are believed to lie beneath the coastal plain.
“This call for nominations brings us one step closer to holding a historic first Coastal Plain lease sale, satisfying the directive of Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and advancing this administration’s policy of energy independence,” said BLM Alaska state director Chad Padgett in a statement.
But Biden has vowed to permanently ban drilling in ANWR, declaring himself “totally opposed” to disturbing the status quo in a long off-limits area that environmentalists consider to be one of the wildest places left on Earth. The Trump administration is hoping that selling drilling rights before Biden comes in would make it difficult for him to reverse, since oil and gas leases on federal lands are considered government
The Great American LNG Comeback
Judy Clemente, Rigzone, November 16, 2020
After a record 2019, it has been a rocky ride through the pandemic for the U.S. LNG export business. Sunken prices and demand globally have shrunk our shipments abroad. In January, exports were up over 9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) before steadily falling to 2.5 Bcf/d at the end of August, with facility utilization bottoming out at 20 percent. From April to November, there were nearly 180 cargo cancelations, and RBN Energy estimates that a whopping 550 Bcf of gas was pushed back into the U.S. market in summer alone.
But U.S. LNG exports have been picking up in recent weeks, as the figure in this article shows. Asian prices have been rising quickly amid rebounding demand and forecasts of a frigid winter. Even through hurricane-related shut-ins in our shipment zone along the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. LNG demand has been at record levels of over 10 Bcf/d in recent weeks. All six of our facilities have been online.
Niblack’s exploration for copper, gold resumes on Prince of Wales
Jacob Resneck, Coast Alaska, November 16, 2020
Drilling crews are returning to the Niblack Project, a mineral exploration effort seeking copper, gold, silver, and zinc near Prince of Wales Island’s Moira Sound. The project ramped up in 2009. In the years to follow, the company Heatherdale Resources says it plowed tens of millions of dollars into exploration efforts. But investor money dried up and by 2012 full-time exploration had ceased. Work completely stopped by 2016.
Now, after a corporate reshuffling of debt and rising copper and gold prices, the company plans to bring back a two-dozen-strong crew by the end of this month. Heatherdale’s CEO Rob McLeod says the drilling will likely go no deeper than 1,000 feet.
“Most will be shallower than that,” he said. “And then we’ll be able to take the drill underground and be able to drill in in multiple directions 360 degrees, essentially.”
Exxon Aims to Sink Connecticut’s Climate Misinformation Lawsuit
Bloomberg Law, November 16, 2020
Exxon Mobil Corp. is calling on a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit from Connecticut officials accusing the oil giant of misleading the public about the role of fossil fuels in driving climate change.
Connecticut lacks personal jurisdiction over Exxon because the challenged actions—producing, promoting, and selling oil and gas—took place outside the state and were conducted by nonresidents, the oil giant told the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on Nov. 13.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
State Climate Action Unlikely After Democrats Fail to Flip Statehouses
Alex Brown, Pew Trusts, November 16, 2020
Amid predictions of a November Democratic election sweep, climate leaders in states including North Carolina, Arizona and Pennsylvania were hopeful they could finally pass legislation to bolster clean energy, cut emissions and limit fossil fuel development. But while President-elect Joe Biden found success at the top of the ticket, Democrats down ballot were unable to flip a single legislative chamber held by Republicans. Meanwhile, the GOP seized power in New Hampshire’s legislature and expanded majorities in other states. After Democratic gains failed to materialize, the prospects of sweeping climate action — at least at the state level — have dimmed. The only exceptions are states where Democrats won more seats in already blue legislatures, including California, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Washington.