Energy Brief: Tillerson Used Email Alias at Exxon, NY AG Says

Washington Brief

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change and other important topics when he was CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., according to a court filing by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, raising questions about whether the company fully complied with a subpoena for emails. (Bloomberg News)
  • President Donald Trump has only moved to fill one of 46 science and technology positions, ranging from his science adviser, to the heads of NOAA, NASA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. (The Washington Post)
  • Trump will travel to Michigan on Wednesday and is expected to announce a decision on whether to uphold the Obama administration’s emissions standards for cars and light trucks. (E&E News)

Business Brief

  • BlackRock, a major asset manager, plans to put more pressure on companies to disclose how climate change could affect them. (Reuters)
  • Russian state-owned oil company Gazprom reached a provisional agreement with European regulators, addressing charges that it broke regional antitrust regulators due to its dominance in the continent’s natural gas markets. (The New York Times)
  • Jaguar reached an agreement with EDF Energy to buy all its electricity from renewable sources through March 2020. (CNBC)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on energy infrastructure 10 a.m.
Wednesday
ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum 8 a.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on invasive species 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on energy infrastructure 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on marine monuments 10 a.m.
2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook 12 p.m.
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on Indian Country infrastructure 2 p.m.
House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Venezuela 2 p.m.
Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna speaks at CSIS 2:30 p.m.
Thursday
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on infrastructure on federal lands 10 a.m.
USEA discussion on carbon capture 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on drinking water systems 10:15 a.m.
ASE event on efficiency and infrastructure 12:15 p.m.
Atlantic Council discussion on U.S.-Mexico energy relationship 12:30 p.m.
House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on forestry initiatives 2 p.m.
“Roast and Toast” of EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski 6 p.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

 

A Message from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers:

An efficiency evolution is taking place in aircraft. Carbon fiber composites derived from petrochemicals are being used in landing gear doors, wing flaps, horizontal stabilizers, vertical fins and other parts to lighten aircraft and increase fuel efficiency. Learn how American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers are making lives easier, healthier, safer and more productive at afpm.org. At AFPM, we make progress.

General

Tillerson Used ‘Alias’ Email for Climate Messages, N.Y. Says
Erik Larson, Bloomberg News

New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chief executive: Wayne Tracker. Tillerson sent messages from the account to discuss the risks posed by climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company.

Trump to visit Mich., expected to weigh in on emissions
Camille von Kaenel, E&E News

President Trump will travel Wednesday to Michigan, where he is expected to announce whether his administration will consider lowering vehicle emissions and fuel economy requirements.

One big thing that Trump’s government is missing: Scientists
Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

President Trump has moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas, a Washington Post analysis has found. The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Stocks Drop Before Fed as Pound Slumps on Brexit
Garfield Clinton Reynold and Samuel Potter, Bloomberg News

Most European stocks retreated as signs of caution started to show in markets before this week’s packed schedule of events, which includes a U.S. interest rate decision. The pound tumbled as the British Prime Minister won permission to trigger the country’s departure from the EU.

Oil and Natural Gas

Gazprom Makes Concessions in E.U. Gas Deal, but Trouble Looms for Russian Giant
James Kanter et al., The New York Times

After fitful negotiations spanning nearly two years, Gazprom moved a step closer on Monday to resolving a longstanding dispute with European antitrust regulators critical of the company’s dominance in regional natural gas markets. News of the provisional agreement provides a welcome respite for the Russian state gas exporter and for the government in Moscow, which has long benefited from Gazprom’s profits.

The Monumentally Expensive Quest to Pull Off an Alaskan Oil Miracle
Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg News

Four decades after the Trans Alaska Pipeline System went live, transforming the North Slope into a modern-day Klondike, many Alaskans fear the best days have passed. Jobs have vanished.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Engie Eyes Bid for $19.8 Billion Utility Firm Innogy
Dinesh Nair et al., Bloomberg News

Engie SA is weighing an offer for RWE AG’s German renewable-energy utility Innogy SE, which has a market value of about 18.6 billion euros ($19.8 billion), people familiar with the matter said. The former French natural gas monopoly is speaking to advisers and hasn’t made a final decision about whether to proceed, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Innogy in talks with car consortium over charging stations: CEO
Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert, Reuters

Innogy is in “intense” talks with a group of carmakers, Chief Executive Peter Terium told journalists on Monday, hoping to be selected as a supplier of super-fast charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe. “It’s not a done deal yet,” Terium said, pointing to strong competition from rival vendors.

Arizona utility drops lawsuit against state regulator’s subpoena request
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

The state’s largest electric utility may have outmaneuvered a utility regulator in the fight over its campaign-spending records. Arizona Public Service and Pinnacle West Capital Corp., its parent, have quietly dropped their lawsuit seeking to quash the subpoena issued by Commissioner Bob Burns for corporate records relating to the 2014 election.

Renewables

Jaguar Land Rover reaches agreement to buy renewable electricity from EDF Energy
Anmar Frangoul, CNBC

Jaguar Land Rover has reached a new agreement with EDF Energy to buy 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. In an announcement towards the end of last week, the car manufacturer said the agreement would run until March 2020.

EU funding renewable energy efforts in Algeria
Daniel J. Graeber, UPI

Algeria, a member of OPEC, will get support in its efforts to diversify its economy with a $42.7 million package supporting renewable energy, the EU said. Members of a bilateral consortium met in Brussels to sign off on the multi-million dollar package to back an economic reform agenda.

Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves
Diane Cardwell, The New York Times

In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of Brooklyn, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door.

Can California Go 100 Percent Green?
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News

California’s Senate leader wants the Golden State to shift to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, pushing it to lead the country in grabbing that green power goal. Environmentalists are cheering California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León’s (D) plan to double, and accelerate, the state’s current renewables mandate of 50 percent by 2050.

Coal

Coal industry urges Trump to protect fossil fuel research
Devin Henry, The Hill

A group of coal-mining firms, labor unions and energy-industry associations is asking the Trump administration to spare a critical research office from budget cuts this year. In a letter to President Trump released on Monday, the groups said the White House should protect the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy from funding cuts.

Nuclear

Toshiba seeking to extend Tuesday deadline for third-quarter disclosure: sources
Taro Fuse, Reuters

Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) is seeking to extend its Tuesday deadline for submitting official third-quarter earnings due to disagreements with auditors over issues at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, sources familiar with the matter said. The extension would be its second for the earnings after Toshiba postponed a month ago to probe potential problems at Westinghouse.

Climate

Exclusive: BlackRock vows new pressure on climate, board diversity
Ross Kerber, Reuters

BlackRock Inc, which wields outsized clout as the world’s largest asset manager, planned on Monday to put new pressure on companies to explain themselves on issues including how climate change could affect their business as well as boardroom diversity. The move by BlackRock, a powerful force in Corporate America with $5.1 trillion under management, could bolster efforts like climate-risk disclosure practices developed by the Financial Stability Board, the international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.

Meteorologists Warn Pruitt Against ‘Mischaracterizing’ Climate Science
Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult

The American Meteorological Society pushed back on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s stance on climate change in a letter on Monday, joining a chorus of opposition from critics of the Trump administration. Pruitt said in a CNBC interview last week that he “would not agree” that carbon-dioxide emissions are “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” saying the evidence is unclear and that “we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

If America’s public lands were a business, the GOP would be bungling the balance sheet
Yvon Chouinard, Los Angeles Times

American politicians have always been obsessed with running government “like a business.” They promise to make bureaucracies leaner and let the free market fix all our problems. Well, if America’s public lands were a business, shareholders would be shocked by the gross negligence of some of their top executives.

Trump’s Climate Agenda: Do Less, With Less
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seems like a refined and intelligent man. Speaking in public, he has an easy manner, a winsome smirk, and a pleasant drawl.

Big Oil’s Big Climate Divide
Liam Denning, Bloomberg Gadfly

Among other things, carbon dioxide contributes enormously to cognitive dissonance. Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrated as much last week when he expressed doubts about the role of carbon dioxide emissions in fostering climate change.

A Message from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers:

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers produce the jet fuel allowing U.S. airlines to move more than 2 million passengers and nearly 50,000 tons of cargo each day, and the diesel fuel that America’s trucking fleet uses to move more than 98 percent of consumer goods to market. Learn how American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers are making our lives easier, healthier, safer and more productive at afpm.org. At AFPM, we make progress.

Research Reports

Climate Science: A Guide to the Public Debate
Joseph Majkut, Niskanen Center

The foundations of climate science date back to the early 19th century,1 when scientists—using their newfound sophistication in chemistry and physics—became aware that heat trapping gases in the atmosphere maintained global temperatures above freezing. Despite continued scientific study, the field was of little public interest until the 1960s, when scientists became increasingly concerned that greenhouse gas emissions might dangerously interfere with the planet’s climate.

Briefings

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