Taxpayers Footing the Bill on Offshore Wind Boondoggle? 

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Today’s Key Takeaways: Murkowski on LNG, Cook Inlet gas shortage.  $85 beginning of oil rally.  LNG boom slowing down?  Roman ship discovered by miners.  Shutting down offshore wind in TX?  


Murkowski talks LNG, local projects in Soldotna
Ashley O’Hara, Penninsula Clarion, August 3, 2023

A memorial service for Kenai River sportfishing titan Bob Penney, good fishing and a meeting with Kenai Peninsula Borough officials were among the circumstances that brought U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski to the central peninsula on Tuesday.

Speaking from a picnic table at Odie’s Deli, Murkowski caught up the Clarion on Kenai Peninsula projects, oil and gas resources and what it looks like to collaborate with local government to get things done.

When it comes to the Alaska LNG Project, Murkowski said the project is in a “good place” with permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She is working, she said, to secure a loan guarantee for the project, which is estimated to cost between $40 billion and $50 billion.

“The opportunity for a federal loan backstop is one that the state has been seeking and we worked to include within the infrastructure bill, so that authorization is in place,” Murkowski said.

She said she’s currently working to ensure that federal backstop will be available for the project in light of a “technical hurdle” with the Department of Energy about how that guarantee would be implemented.

Murkowski said that financial incentives offered by the State of Alaska to oil and gas operators, while expensive, have historically facilitated an increased interest in production in the area. She said she “strongly disagree(s)” with importing liquefied natural gas from abroad.

“For (Alaska) now to be that state that has been able to provide for others, now in a position where we’re going to be seeking this from another country … we’re a state that is awash in gas,” she said. “We’re awash in oil and gas.”

On a related note, Murkowski said she’s concerned about looming oil and gas shortages in the Cook Inlet basin and said Alaska shouldn’t be afraid of exploring new energy pathways. The Cook Inlet basin, she said, is a field that’s “been worked pretty hard.”

“I think we need to be challenged,” Murkowski said. “I think we need to be challenged hard as to how we’re going to take care of ourselves. And if it’s not more gas, what are you going to do to fill in that void here?”


$85 Is Just The Beginning Of The Oil Rally
Irina Slav, OilPrice.Com, August 2, 2023

  • Several analysts have concluded that Saudi Arabia may want to raise production this autumn in order to regain lost market share.
  • Goldman Sachs: oil demand had hit a record in July, reaching 102.8 million barrels daily.
  • Bloomberg survey:  Saudis could decide to relax the cuts by 250,000 to 500,000 barrels daily from next month.

Earlier this week, media reported that oil production from the members of OPEC had fallen to the lowest since 2021—or 2020, depending on the source—thanks to voluntary production cuts from Saudi Arabia and involuntary declines in Nigeria, Angola, and Libya.

The news naturally pushed oil prices higher. Yet they have already begun to climb as traders have finally started paying attention to the supply warnings and demand projections that banks and other analysts have been issuing for weeks.

The jump in prices should have made Riyadh happy, and it probably did. The question now is how much higher the Saudis would let prices go before starting to relax their cuts.


Is Louisiana’s LNG boom slowing down? Analysts weigh in after project delays The Advocate  
-Four Louisiana LNG terminals face project delays, financing struggles. 
-Delfin LNG requests fifth timeline extension from FERC.
-Delfin cites COVID-19 disruptions, US-China trade complications as reasons.
-Lake Charles, Driftwood, West Delta LNG projects face setbacks. 
-Some industry players may get weeded out, analysts. 
-Louisiana’s established LNG projects remain active, expansions planned.


Serbian coal miners uncover Roman ship
Alexandra Vasovic, Reuters, August 3, 2023

Archaeologists in Serbia are painstakingly brushing sand and soil off the ancient woodwork of a Roman ship discovered by miners in a vast opencast coal quarry.

After an excavator at the Drmno mine uncovered some timber, experts from the site of a nearby former Roman settlement known as Viminacium rushed to try and preserve the skeleton of the ship, the second such discovery in the area since 2020.

The vessel was probably part of a river fleet serving the sprawling and highly-developed Roman city of 45,000 people which had a hippodrome, fortifications, a forum, a palace, temples, amphitheatre, aqueducts, baths and workshops.

Lead archaeologist Miomir Korac said previous findings suggest the ship may date back as far as the 3rd or 4th century AD when Viminacium was capital of the Roman province of Moesia Superior and had a port near a tributary of the Danube River.

“We may assume that this ship is Roman, but we are unsure of its exact age,” he told Reuters at the dusty site hanging precariously above a vast open coal pit.


TEXAS STATE SENATOR OUTLINES PLAN TO CUT OFF GULF OFFSHORE WIND PROJECT: A Texas senator is leading the fight to oppose the Biden administration’s first offshore wind sales in the Gulf of Mexico, arguing that the planned sales—which include two separate sites offshore Galveston totaling 199,266 acres—would result in job losses and environmental harm.

Sen. Mayes Middleton of Galveston, a Republican, filed Senate Bill 1303 earlier this year, which would implement a state-level permitting process for any offshore wind projects in Texas. It’s an attempt to use state powers to stymie the Biden administration’s efforts carried out under federal law. 

The bill would require the sign-off of all relevant state agencies, as well as a permit from the Texas land commissioner (a post currently occupied by Dawn Buckingham, who saidshe has “serious concerns” about such wind projects).

“This project puts our economy and our national security at risk,” Middleton told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

“It’s very close to Freeport and the Houston Ship Channel, which together represent about 900 billion in economic impact,” he said, citing the most recent estimate from Port Houston authorities. “That’s countless jobs.”

Middleton said he plans to re-file the bill as early as this fall during a special session. Others, including environmental groups and commercial fishing groups in the state, have joined in the chorus of opposition.

Hurricanes are also a major concern: Category 4 and 5 storms barrel regularly through the Gulf’s warm waters during the hurricane season.

“You’re talking about turbines that are around 800 feet tall here—they’re huge,” Middleton said. “We don’t know what would happen to these wind turbines during a Category 5 hurricane.”

The lease announcements for the Gulf of Mexico last month were in pursuit of the Biden administration’s goal of developing 30 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030. And while it is unlikely Middleton will be able to stop the administration from moving ahead with its plans, he is determined to marshal together all state-level agencies and stakeholders to try.

“It’s going to be harmful to Texas if it ever was completed, so we just need to make sure that it doesn’t happen,” he said. “There’s just no reason for taxpayers to foot the bill for a multibillion dollar offshore wind boondoggle like this.”

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy