OIL – What’s happening in other “oil” states?
North Dakota launches task force to aid oil industry recovery
Alan Kovski, Oil & Gas Journal, May 7, 2020
North Dakota has launched a task force to help the oil industry and its service sectors recover from the demand shock of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bakken Restart Task Force is reviewing and will help organize regulatory streamlining, economic stimulus, and ideas for tax relief and low-cost financing for oil operations and related activity. Some of the assistance already has begun.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
MEMORIAL DAY GAS PRICE PRESSURE: Gasoline prices could rise around Memorial Day as EPA’s waiver exempting oil refiners from summer-grade fuel requirements is set to expire.
Historically, the transition to summer blends leads to a slight bump in prices around Memorial Day, May 25. But given the pandemic and its damage to fuel demand and travel, the bump may be amplified for drivers released from stay-at-home orders once the waiver is lifted as scheduled May 20.
EPA’s temporary waiver for companies to switch from summer-grade gasoline, issued March 27, has put “further downward pressure on gasoline prices,” the Energy Information Administration noted in its weekly petroleum analysis Wednesday.
EPA’s waiver was intended to help companies “ensure a steady supply of gasoline” during the pandemic, to the chagrin of environmental groups who cautioned the exemption would lead to increased emissions of greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants.
Prices are ticking up: Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said gasoline prices are already starting to rise as some companies have switched to summer blends regardless of the waiver. National gasoline prices are averaging $1.81 today, compared to $1.77 a week ago and $2.89 from a year ago.
Seabed mining industry projects optimism amid pandemic
Nathaniel Gronewold, E & E News, May 7, 2020
The ocean bottom is rich in cobalt, manganese and rare earth minerals used to manufacture advanced batteries and renewable energy technologies. Several governments, their industry partners and an obscure U.N. agency are moving ahead with finalizing rules for plucking this mineral wealth off the ocean floor in seas beyond national jurisdictions.
Lawmakers Are Bitterly Divided Over How To Get More Stimulus Cash To Americans
Sarah Hansen, Forbes, May 7, 2020
- A deep divide has emerged over the prospect of sending more federal aid to state and local governments; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested that states will need another $1 trillion to cover budget shortfalls while Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed allowing states to go bankrupt rather than sending them more aid.
- A proposal to send monthly payments of $2,000 to qualifying Americans is gathering Democratic support, though without any Republican backing, the idea is unlikely to gain any real traction.
- Democrats are looking to spend big across the board, with discussions under way for provisions that would boost funding for housing, nutrition assistance, broadband in rural areas, law enforcement, Medicaid, federal pensions, and rent and mortgage relief, the Washington Post reports.
- Republicans are wary of more spending and have advocated for pumping the brakes on new funding in favor of seeing how the existing stimulus spending shakes out in the economy.
Trump team to courts: Back off on relief funds
Michael Doyle & Niina H. Farah, E & E News, May 7, 2020
A high-stakes fight pitting tribes against Alaska Native corporations could be a preview for how the Trump administration defends its distribution of billions of dollars in COVID-19 pandemic relief funds. Basically, the administration tells courts to back off.