Energy Brief: Court Denies Request for Injunction on Dakota Access Pipeline

Today’s Washington Brief

  • The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against construction on the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday night. Construction on federal land near Lake Oahe remains on hold, however; the federal government has not yet granted Dakota Access’s developers the easement necessary for construction to move forward there. (The Hill)
  • Hurricane Matthew hit Virginia and North Carolina Sunday morning around the time it was downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm killed at least 17 people, including eight in North Carolina, since hitting Florida late Thursday. (The New York Times)
  • Al Gore will campaign with Hillary Clinton in Miami on Tuesday. The area has not only just been battered by Hurricane Matthew, but is also a part of the country most vulnerable to sea-level rise and the state where Green Party candidate Ralph Nader helped derail Gore’s 2000 presidential candidacy. (The Washington Post)

Today’s Business Brief

  • China, India, Japan, and South Korea are increasing their purchases of Iranian oil after sanctions have been lifted, while European nations have been slower to do so. Asia importantly remained an importer from Iran even when U.S.-led sanctions were in place. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Total S.A., the French oil and gas company, sold Berlin-based Atotech chemical company to the Carlyle Group for $3.2 billion. Atotech makes chemicals for circuit boards and semiconductors used in electronics. (Financial Times)
  • Oil eased off four-month highs on Monday as doubts over oil producers reaching a meaningful output cut deal brought some speculators to unwind bullish bets. Brent crude futures were down 23 cents at $51.70 a barrel at 4:48 a.m. ET. U.S. futures were last down 30 cents at $49.51 a barrel. (Reuters)

Today’s Chart Review

Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern)

28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda
28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda
Brian Deese, senior advisor to President Obama, speaks at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy 9:45 a.m.
NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan speaks at a Resources for the Future forum 11:30 a.m.
28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda
28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, others discuss bio- and agro-terrorism 10 a.m.
Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, speaks at the Women’s Energy Network 12 p.m.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz speaks at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy 6:45 p.m.
Former Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), others discuss science policy and climate change at Pennsylvania State University 7 p.m.
28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda
Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy holds discussion on the future of the energy grid 9:30 a.m.



Hurricane Matthew Toll Climbs to at Least 17 as North Carolina Suffers Record-Breaking Flooding
The New York Times

Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone early Sunday morning as it hit North Carolina and Virginia with a weakened but still powerful punch. The storm’s death toll in the United States has climbed to at least 17, after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said his state’s toll had risen to eight.

Al Gore to appear in hurricane-battered Florida to rally millennials for Clinton
Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Can former vice president Al Gore, who hasn’t been on the ballot in a decade and a half, persuade young voters to back Hillary Clinton by appearing in hurricane-battered South Florida? He and the Democratic presidential nominee will start testing this proposition on Tuesday, when the two appear together in Miami.

Conservative Group Files Lawsuit for Documents in NY’s Exxon Probe
Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult

A conservative legal group filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, seeking communications documents between his office and environmental advocates regarding the state’s investigation of Exxon Mobil Corp. The Energy and Environment Legal Institute filed its lawsuit Thursday in the New York Supreme Court, aiming to compel Schneiderman’s office to release documents under a public-records law.

Carlyle buys Total’s Atotech chemicals business for $3.2 billion
Andrew Ward, Financial Times

Carlyle Group has beaten rival private equity groups to reach a $3.2 billion deal with Total for the French company’s Atotech chemicals business. The sale takes the energy group closer to its target for $10bn of disposals by the end of next year.

Mexican Peso Rises on U.S. Election Outlook; U.K. Gilts Slide
Emma O’Brien and Eddie Van Der Walt, Bloomberg News

Mexico’s peso climbed to its strongest level since mid-September on speculation Hillary Clinton will prevail in the U.S. presidential election after a painful weekend for Donald Trump. U.K. government bonds extended a selloff to a fifth day, crude oil pared losses and gold rose.

Oil & Natural Gas

OPEC’s Quiet Man Remains at Heart of Cuts Deal Nobody Saw Coming
Angelina Rascouet and Salah Slimani, Bloomberg News

As OPEC members meet again in Istanbul, the quiet diplomacy of one of its lowest-profile members will play a central role in whether the group can successfully implement its first production cuts in eight years.
Algeria is the ninth-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has limited international clout, but in its capital last month it still managed to clinch a deal that had eluded its more formidable counterparts.

Asia Soaks Up Iran’s Post-Sanctions Oil
Dan Strumpf and Jenny W. Hsu, The Wall Street Journal

Asian nations are stepping up their purchases of Iranian oil, underscoring Tehran’s deepening energy ties with the region amid a slow rapprochement with European crude buyers. China, India, Japan and South Korea are among big Asian oil consumers that have sharply boosted their imports of Iranian crude this year.

Utilities & Infrastructure

Court denies tribe’s request to halt pipeline construction
Devin Henry, The Hill

A federal court panel has lifted orders blocking construction on a portion of the embattled Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota. In a two-page ruling issued Sunday night, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against construction on the project along a small stretch of land while its lawsuit over the pipeline moves forward.

Germany’s E.ON Faces Renewed Criticism for Uniper Spinoff
Eyk Henning and Giles Turner, The Wall Street Journal

Germany’s E.ON SE came under renewed criticism on the weekend from investors who compared its breakup strategy unfavorably with that of RWE AG, a rival utility that floated its renewable power business on Friday. Both E.ON and RWE have pursued radical splits in response to changes in German energy policy, with the government pushing the country toward renewable power and away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy.


U.S. Tax Credit Powers Wind-Farm Upgrades
Rebecca Smith, The Wall Street Journal

Wind-power producers are rushing to take advantage of a green energy tax credit extended by Congress—and, in a new twist, many are using it to renovate existing wind farms, not just build new ones. Some wind producers, encouraged by turbine makers, are deciding to “repower” existing wind farms to tap the tax credits, including NextEra Energy Inc., which has 110 wind farms in 19 states and Canada.


Trump vows to help coal if elected president
Devin Henry, The Hill

Donald Trump promised during Sunday night’s debate to help the coal industry, saying he would act as president to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from “killing” the sector. “We are killing — absolutely killing — our energy businesses in this country, and I’m for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, but we need much more than wind and solar,” he said.

World Bank says Paris climate goals at risk from new coal schemes
Larry Elliott, The Guardian

Slowing down construction of coal-fired power stations will be vital to hit globally agreed climate change goals, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said as he outlined a five-point plan to flesh out last year’s Paris agreement to reduce CO2 emissions. Speaking at a climate ministerial meeting in Washington during the bank’s annual meeting, he said there was no prospect of keeping global warming at or below 2C (3.6F) if current plans for coal-fired stations, especially those earmarked for Asia, were built.

Coal Industry is Dying, No Matter What a President Trump Would Do
Travis Hoium, Newsweek

It’s a hard truth, but the biggest reason the coal industry is in trouble in the U.S. is the growth of U.S. natural gas production. That’s right, U.S. natural gas production is killing U.S. coal production.


Nuclear firm confident reactor can pass strict UK test
Zheng Xin, China Daily

China General Nuclear Power Corp has said it is confident that the Chinese-made Hualong One reactor will pass Britain’s strict approval process in five years. If it passes, the design will be used at the proposed power station at Bradwell, on the east coast of England, which would be the first nuclear project in a developed market to use a Chinese reactor.


Pentagon budget should be used to fight climate change, environmentalist says
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

A top environmental activist wants to put the Pentagon’s defense budget to work against what he calls the nation’s most ominous threat: climate change. “If you think we don’t have the money then you’re not paying attention,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the group “We have things like the defense budget that need to be put to work defending us against the most dangerous adversaries we face.”

How battered island nations helped seal an emissions deal
Camille von Kaenel, ClimateWire

Arnold Franck was 1,800 miles away from his island nation of Haiti this week when Hurricane Matthew washed away entire towns and claimed nearly 300 lives. But, he said, being here at a meeting of the United Nations’ aviation agency was critical for Haiti’s future.

The best views in the country have gotten better, thanks to air pollution laws
Brady Dennis, The Washington Post

Decades ago, in fact, the average visibility in the park was about 35 miles, and on many days only a fraction of that. These days, the average view in Shenandoah stretches 60 miles, and on the clearest days it can reach twice that far.

What’s the best way to save the whales?
Darryl Fears, The Washington Post

Nearly 90 years have passed since North Atlantic right whales became a protected species following their devastation by whalers, but their populations have yet to recover. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine lays out some of the reasons why.

Opinions, Editorials & Perspectives

Canada’s Trudeau Steps Up on Climate Change
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada promised to make climate change a priority when he campaigned for office last year. This week he made progress on that promise with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon.

The Fight Goes On
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Appalachian News-Express

Prior to becoming Senate Majority Leader, I vowed to keep up the fight for coal and Coal country. Nearly two years later, I thought I owe it to the people of eastern Kentucky to give an account of what I’ve done.

South Australian blackout puts questions on value of wind power
Andrew Bolt, (Victoria) Herald Sun

IT was three years ago that I advised South Australia’s Liberal leader to get himself a stick of gelignite and blow up a wind generator. Yes, we were at a party but, no, I wasn’t drunk.

Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies

Electric Vehicles Change the World 2017-2037
Peter Harrop, IDTechEx

For 20 years we have surveyed the whole electric vehicle scene land, water and air, hybrid and pure electric. The next 20 years will make all that seem just a taster.

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