News of the Day:
North Face denies service to industry that provides ability for them to make & sell their products
Joshua Skinner, CBS 7, December 10, 2020
Innovex Downhole Solutions says it was recently denied an order of jackets by The North Face, a popular outdoor recreation company because they are in the oil and gas business.
“I was surprised but not surprised if that makes sense,” Innovex CEO Adam Anderson said.
Innovex is based in Houston and has nearly 100 workers in the Permian Basin.
Each year, the company gets a Christmas gift for its employees. This year, it was supposed to be a North Face jacket with an Innovex logo, a company Innovex has ordered gear from in the past.
The company providing the jackets said The North Face doesn’t want to support the oil and gas industry in the same way they’d reject the porn industry or tobacco industry.
“They told us we did not meet their brand standards,” Anderson said. “We were separately informed that what that really meant is was that we were an oil and gas company.”
The irony of The North Face denying service to an industry that provides its ability to make and sell its products isn’t lost, either.
“The recreational activities they encourage are all ones that require hydrocarbons to make the products, to provide the means to get to whatever activity folks want to perform,” Anderson said. “It’s just so intertwined with everything that we do.”
The Art of the Last-Minute Oil Deal
Spencer Jakab, The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020
In what was either expensive political point-scoring or an absolute steal in the energy market, the first federal leases for oil and gas development in California in eight years were auctioned on Thursday.
The Trump administration announced plans last year to auction leases on about a million acres of federal land in California, setting off a flurry of legal challenges in the environmentally conscious state. In the end it came down to just 4,133 acres in Kern County, where there are existing oil fields. The Bureau of Land Management estimated that up to 10 wells could be drilled on the newly leased parcels.
Taxpayers didn’t get much for all the trouble—only $53,562, the price of less than 1,200 barrels of crude. That could be an amazing deal for the companies that purchased the leases, even after paying rent plus royalties on any oil produced. Federal leases adjacent to producing properties have fetched prices 30 or more times as much per acre.
With a new Arctic discovery, Rosneft compares Kara Sea with Gulf of Mexico and Middle East
Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer, December 10, 2020
Russian oil and gas company Rosneft has announced the discovery a new field in the Kara Sea holds an estimated 800 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
The discovery of the field, named after Soviet war hero Marshal Zhukov, was made in connection with this year’s drilling at the Vikulovskaya field, a part of one of Rosneft’s major license areas in the Kara Sea.
The drill hole is 1,621 meters deep, according to Rosneft, and is located in the area where the company and its partners found 130 million tons of oil in 2014.
That latter field was named Pobeda (Victory) and was originally managed by a joint venture with U.S. oil major ExxonMobil.
According to Rosneft, more than 30 prospective hydrocarbon fields have so far been identified in its three Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky license areas in the Kara Sea. Resources in the area are vast and could become the basis of a new petroleum province comparable with the Gulf of Mexico or parts of the Middle East, the company argues.
Commodities hit 6-year high with recovery boosting oil, copper
Bloomberg News, December 11, 2020
The world’s commodities markets are staging a comeback as the global economy bounces back from the steepest downturn since the Great Depression.
The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index rose 1.3% on Thursday to its highest since 2014 with the world inching closer to a covid-19 vaccine and the transition process to a new US president becoming clearer. That has Wall Street regaining its appetite for risk, delivering commodities their best run in years: Copper, long seen as a bellwether for the global economy, is surging; oil is recovering from the worst effects of the lockdowns; and extreme weather and strong Chinese demand is driving up crop prices around the world.
Political battle lines emerge over Wall Street’s focus on climate
Ben Geman, Axios, December 11, 2020
Another political battle is brewing over how financial regulators and banks deal with the risks of climate change.
Driving the news: Nearly 50 GOP House members this week fired a shot across the Federal Reserve’s bow as the central bank increases its focus on climate.
- Their letter, via Politico, warns the Fed against widening “stress tests” of banks to include climate-related risks, alleging the concept is rife with methodological flaws.
- It also criticizes Fed plans to join the Network for Greening the Financial System, a multilateral coalition of central banks, arguing it could bring “harmful restrictions.”
Of note: Last month, for the first time, the Fed included climate among the risks described in its formal Financial Stability Report.
Why it matters: Wall Street and its federal overseers are now a major front in climate policy and advocacy wars.
- Big banks are increasingly rolling out new climate-related lending restrictions, though activists point out that the industry’s overall fossil finance remains huge.
- And asset management giants like BlackRock have taken a more active role via ESG fund offerings and shareholder votes, though environmentalists say the efforts are too modest.
Catch up fast: The GOP letter is just the latest in a series of skirmishes.
- The Trump-appointed head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently floated rules that say big banks can’t impose sweeping policies that refuse finance for entire project categories and sectors.
- That plan is partly a response to GOP lawmakers dismayed by a number of large banks’ climate guidelines that steer clear of Arctic oil, coal, and some other project types.
- And the Labor Department recently finalized a rule that limits private retirement plan managers’ leeway to invest based on ESG — environmental, social and governance — factors.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
Global emissions are down by an unprecedented 7%—but don’t start celebrating just yet
by Pep Canadell Et Al., The Conversation, Phys Org, December 11, 2020
Global emissions are expected to decline by about 7% in 2020 (or 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide) compared to 2019—an unprecedented drop due to the slowdown in economic activity associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It may sound like welcome news, but we can’t celebrate yet. A rapid bounce back of emissions to pre-COVID levels is likely, possibly by as soon as next year. A recent study found emissions in China snapped back to above last year’s levels during late spring when economic activity began to return to normal. The decline in emissions in 2020 was particularly steep in the United States (12%) and European Union (11%), where emissions were already declining before the pandemic, mainly from reductions