Texas LNG cancelled. Biden’s infrastructure roll out. Murkowski gets challenger & Sullivan support.

In News by wp_sysadmin


Iran And China Strengthen Oil Ties With 25-Year Strategic Deal
Tsvetana Paraskova, OilPrice.Com, March 29, 2021

China and Iran officially stated they would boost their energy and political cooperation as part of a 25-year strategic partnership agreement at a time when the U.S. is looking to sanction covert Iranian oil exports to China.

This weekend, Iran and China signed the strategic partnership deal to expand relations in areas such as energy, infrastructure, industry, and technology, the office of the Iranian president said in a statement.

The two countries also pledged to boost cooperation in fossil fuels and alternative energy, “security of demand and supply as well as transfer and transportation of fossil fuels and the Chinese side shall consider financing and investing in the up –and-downstream projects of the energy industries in Iran and the Iranian side shall provide the necessary facilitations and support in this respect,” Iran said.

In recent weeks, various reports have suggested that China has been considerably boosting its crude oil imports from Iran—so much so that the ports in the Shandong province, where most independent refiners are based, are experiencing tanker traffic congestions. Increased buying from China has provided more incentive for Iranian oil exports.

According to some estimates, China has been taking in some 856,000 bpd of Iranian crude this month—a 129-percent surge compared to February.

China has never actually stopped buying crude oil from the Islamic Republic, even after the Trump Administration slapped sanctions on Iran’s oil sales in 2018, warning buyers to stay away from Iranian crude or risk being sanctioned and cut off from the U.S. banking system.

The Biden Administration warned China earlier this month that it would not turn a blind eye to rising Iranian oil exports to Chinese ports, the Financial Times reported, citing a senior Biden administration official. According to the report, Washington has not missed the substantial increase in Iranian crude shipments to China. The U.S. has reminded Beijing that there are still sanctions in place against the Islamic Republic.


Annova Cancels Texas LNG Export Facility Project
Pipeline & Gas Journal, March 26, 2021

Annova LNG announced the immediate cancellation of its liquified natural gas (LNG) export facility under development in Brownsville, Texas, due to changes in the global LNG market.

The project had proposed building a 6.5 MTPA liquified natural gas (LNG) export facility on the Port of Brownsville.

“The entire Annova team is very grateful to the greater Brownsville community for having supported this project for several years,” a statement from the company said. “We are in the process of notifying our supporters, commercial partners and regulatory agencies of this decision.”

The Annova LNG project was being developed by majority owner Exelon Corporation and minority owners Black & Veatch Corporation, Kiewit Energy Group and Enbridge.

The project was still in its development phase and the cancellation should not lead to any layoffs, the Houston Chronicle reported


Coal country races to shield itself from Biden’s climate plan
Bloomberg News, March 29, 2021

Coal’s slow downfall is gaining momentum across the US as clean energy becomes cheaper and wins widespread support, but lawmakers in mining states from Wyoming to West Virginia are determined to fight back with a series of roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s plan to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. 

Seeking to prolong the lifespan of an industry that’s vital to local economies, at least five states are seeking to pass legislation that would give them weapons such as bigger hurdles to shut coal-fired plants, a war chest for potential legal battles, more power to state regulators over utilities, tax cuts and cheaper state insurance for power stations. 

The race to shield coal country from an energy transition that Biden contends will generate jobs and wealth in everything from solar-panel manufacturing to wind power generation highlights the political complexity of the shift to renewables. Even some Democrats in coal-producing states support the efforts to protect people’s livelihoods and the funding of schools and other public services in areas that derive income from the dirtiest fossil fuel. Meanwhile, utilities say the measures will drive up costs for ratepayers, while environmental groups say they’re only slowing, not stopping, the eventual move away from coal.


Republican announces run for Murkowski’s Alaska Senate seat
Becky Bohrer, AP, March 29, 2021

An early Republican candidate announced plans Monday to seek the Alaska U.S. Senate seat that has been held since 2002 by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Kelly Tshibaka, who has led the sprawling Alaska Department of Administration since early 2019, in a statement said she is running “for the Alaskans who believe government is of the people, by the people and for the people. The D.C. insiders need to be held accountable to us.”

Her campaign said she was resigning as commissioner in pursuing the Senate race.

Sullivan Vows Murkowski Election Support Despite Trump Challenge
Shawn Donnan, Bloomberg, March 28, 2021

Alaskan GOP Senator Dan Sullivan said he’ll support colleague Lisa Murkowski’s re-election bid despite a vow by former President Donald Trump to campaign against her in 2022.

Murkowski, 63, was one of seven Republicans to join Democrats in a vote in February to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors for his role in inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A majority voted to convict but was short of the two-thirds threshold needed to uphold the impeachment.


What to watch in Biden’s infrastructure rollout
Ben Geman, Axios, March 29, 2021

President Biden is expected to show his cards this week when it comes to energy and climate provisions, he’ll ask Congress to include in a big-dollar infrastructure package.

Why it matters: Biden campaigned on major investments in zero-carbon power, electric vehicle charging, climate-resilient infrastructure and more.

Chances to move a huge package like this come around exceedingly rarely, and specifics have been absent so far.

What’s next: His speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday — and other info the White House may reveal — should provide more clarity on what he wants in the wider infrastructure proposal expected to be well north of a trillion dollars.

Needless to say, we’ll have way more later in the week, and here’s a few things we’re watching…

The pitch: Biden is expected to promote the plan as a major jobs package, but a note from the research firm ClearView Energy Partners said it could also be part of a wider message on competition with China.

  • It notes that amid concerns about inflation and with the pandemic receding, the plan may be positioned partly as “an industrial policy by which the U.S. might counter and contain a rising China.”

The specifics: There’s intense interest among energy lobbyists of various stripes, activists, and others to see a huge array of provisions included, and not everyone will come away happy.

  • To take just one example, there’s a push to create new tax incentives for battery storage projects.

The strategy: It’s not yet clear how much Biden and Democrats will seek to move through budget reconciliation (the filibuster-proof process that constrains what can be included), or whether there’s an opening for some bipartisan dealmaking.

The lobbying and advocacy: The upcoming plan is the biggest opening for a sweeping climate and clean energy package in a decade.

  • Axios’ Hans Nichols reports that progressives are trying to sell the initiative with new cable TV ads arguing clean energy projects will immediately create thousands of jobs.
  • And Axios’ Andrew Freedman, in the same story, noted the stakes of that and other advocacy efforts that will surround the bill.
  • There may be resistance to making the infrastructure bills too climate-heavy unless the public views clean energy spending as a win/win for jobs and the environment, Andrew notes.

Go deeper: Economists bullish on Biden’s $3 trillion infrastructure plan