Energy Brief: White House Kicks Off Energy Week

Washington Brief

  • The White House announced preparations for an energy focus for its upcoming policy-themed week, as President Donald Trump is expected to promote “energy dominance.” (Bloomberg News)
  • A senior Environmental Protection Agency adviser confirmed the agency’s cleanup efforts and priorities for the Superfund site in East Chicago. The EPA appointed Janet Pope as the site-specific coordinator for the project. (The Post-Tribune)
  • Trump administration officials have called for debate between scientists about the scientific findings related to the impact of humans and carbon dioxide on the environment. (The Washington Post)

Business Brief

  • The Bureau of Land Management ordered the Texas oil company SG Interests to stop drilling and perform a chemical cleanup on its western Colorado lease. The company used an unapproved drilling technique that led to a spill last week. (The Denver Post)
  • EQT Corp. said it would buy Rice Energy Inc. for $6.7 billion in a merger that will create one of the country’s largest natural gas producers. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Rio Tinto Group received a counter-bid from Glencore Plc for its Australian coalfields operations after announcing the offer from Chinese-owned Yancoal earlier this week. (Reuters)

Chart Review

Not Over A Barrel
Bloomberg Gadfly

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
2017 EIA Energy Conference 8:45 a.m.
American Water Resources Association 2017 Specialty Conference on Climate Change Solutions 9 a.m.
Tuesday
2017 EIA Energy Conference 8:30 a.m.
American Water Resources Association 2017 Specialty Conference on Climate Change Solutions 9 a.m.
Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on EPA budget 9:30 a.m.
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing on marine sanctuaries 9:30 a.m.
House Natural Resources Committee markup hearing on land designation, conservation, and mining support bills 10 a.m.
House Agriculture Committee hearing on derivative clearinghouses 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee markup hearing on self-driving vehicle legislation 10 a.m.
U.S. Green Building Council panel on promoting sustainability through local Virginia government 12 p.m.
Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing on the deployment of clean energy technologies 2:45 p.m.
Wednesday
American Water Resources Association 2017 Specialty Conference on Climate Change Solutions 9 a.m.
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee nomination hearing for officials in the Transportation and Commerce Departments 10 a.m.
House Science, Space & Technology joint subcommittee hearing on science and technology 10 a.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on litigation against the Interior Department 10 a.m.
Senate Appropriations subcommittee budget hearing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 2:30 p.m.
Thursday
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee hearing on conservation and forestry in the 2018 Farm Bill 9:30 a.m.
House Natural Resources subcommittee oversight hearing on oil and natural gas development excess on federal lands 10 a.m.
House Science, Space & Technology subcommittee hearing on in-space propulsion 10 a.m.
Senate Appropriations subcommittee budget hearing for NASA 10 a.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

A Message from ExxonMobil:

Biofuel refined from algae could transform how we power automobiles and jet planes. It’s energy-rich and emits significantly less CO2 than most transportation fuels. And it doesn’t compete with food and fresh water supplies. We’re actively researching this technology to move it from the petri dish to the fuel tank. To learn more about our work and why we think this is a promising technology: EnergyFactor.com

General

Trump to Call for U.S. ‘Dominance’ in Global Energy Production
Jennifer Dlouhy, Bloomberg News

Donald Trump will tout surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at highlighting the country’s growing energy dominance. The president also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, gas, coal and other energy resources.

Trump’s agenda faces climate deep state
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

The Trump administration plans to repeal, reject and otherwise root out climate change policies that the president sees as undermining his pro-growth, America First agenda. A big problem for President Trump is that much of the federal policy apparatus that directs climate change activity is deeply and structurally embedded in the federal bureaucracy, and has been relatively untouched by the new administration. This is especially the case because former President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget continues into the fall.

EPA updates East Chicago Superfund site on cleanup efforts: ‘We recognize this is a problem’
Carrie Napoleon, The Chicago Tribune

A high-ranking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official was on hand Saturday for the first monthly informational meeting for people who live in the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site in East Chicago. Albert Kelly, senior adviser to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, joined the panel of EPA staff at Carrie Gosch Elementary School to provide an update on the status of testing and clean-up efforts of the Superfund site, as promised by Pruitt in May after he toured the lead-contaminated property and met with residents.

As Trump moves to privatize America’s national parks, visitor costs may rise
Mary Catherine O’Connor, The Guardian

Some are concerned that the proposed privatization of some public park services would drive up costs for visitors and fail to raise enough for repairs. America’s national parks need a staggering $11.5bn worth of overdue road and infrastructure repairs. But with the proposed National Park Service budget slashed by almost $400m, the Trump administration says it will turn to privatizing public park services to address those deferred maintenance costs.

Mixed reactions to BLM, EPA methane waste rule actions
John Moses, The Farmington Daily Times

Some industry leaders were happy and some citizen watchdogs were not when two parts of the federal government this month decided to put the brakes on methane and natural gas waste rules. The Environmental Protection agency placed a two-year pause on its oil and gas methane pollution rule in mid June as the agency seeks comments while it amends the rule.

Bill Clinton: ‘The water is going to keep rising’ whether US stays in Paris or not
Julia Manchester, The Hill

Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday offered advice to U.S. mayors who plan to honor the Paris climate accords in the wake of President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement. Clinton also argued that pursuing clean energy would only improve the economy.

Oil and Natural Gas

Texas oil company cited for improper drilling in Colorado that spewed waste
Bruce Finley, The Denver Post

A Texas oil company enmeshed in a decade-long dispute over leases to drill in western Colorado’s Thompson Divide area was hit with three federal “non-compliance” notices for improper drilling last week that led to a spill. Bureau of Land Management officials ordered SG Interests to stop drilling and clean up spilled foam chemicals, wastewater and drill cuttings, BLM spokesman Steven Hall said in an email response to Denver Post queries.

How Four Brothers Survived the Gas Bust to Make Family a Billion
Ryan Dezember and Timothy Puko, The Wall Street Journal

Merger of Appalachian gas producer EQT Corp. and Rice Energy will create one of the country’s largest natural gas producers. Rice Energy’s founding family is poised to reap more than $1 billion in its sale to rival EQT, after the gas producer’s shares rebounded from depths that forced the Rices to sell stock at an all-time low/

Oil Falls Prey to ‘Hungry’ Bears as Investors Drop Bets on Rally
Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg News

Bears are dominating the oil market. Hedge funds cut bets on rising West Texas Intermediate crude prices by 31 percent in the week ended June 20, pushing their net bullish position to the lowest in 10 months just as the U.S. benchmark slipped into a bear market. Wagers on declining prices reached a new high for the year.

Citing Trump’s executive order, BLM considers leasing sage grouse habitat for oil and gas
Heather Richards, The Casper Star-Tribune

The federal push to open energy development on public lands resonates in Wyoming, where low prices and production have wreaked havoc on the economy. But when it comes to saving a chicken-sized bird once considered for an endangered species listing, the overlap of conservation and drilling for oil and gas can drum up conflict.

In Pakistan, a Fuel Tanker Fire Leaves at Least 150 Dead
Salman Masood, The New York Times

When a tanker truck overturned on a road in eastern Pakistan on Sunday, hundreds of people rushed toward the vehicle to collect the spilled and leaking fuel. Using buckets, bottles and cns, they scooped up some of the 5,500 gallons of fuel that was gushing onto the road. Then, suddenly the truck caught fire and exploded, killing at least 150 people and seriously injuring at least 100 others.

Oil edges above November lows but under threat from U.S. supply surge
Amanda Cooper, Reuters

Oil rose for a third straight session on Monday, as speculators took advantage of last week’s drop to seven-month lows, although a relentless increase in U.S. supply and little evidence of a widespread drop in global inventories capped gains.Investors in U.S. crude futures and options have increased their bets against a further rise in prices, just as the number of U.S. oil rigs in operation hit its highest in over three years.

Utilities and Infrastructure

NY Bill Sets Stage for Storage Targets
Michael Kuser, RTO Insider

New York lawmakers last week unanimously passed a measure requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to set targets to increase the adoption of energy storage in the state through 2030. The new law requires the commission to work with the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency (NYSERDA) and the Long Island Power Authority to set targets and develop a storage deployment program.

Ramping up government infrastructure spending: Fund manager Q&A
Alex Veiga, The Associated Press

The prospect of a big federal government ramp-up in infrastructure spending has helped lift shares in companies that may play a role in overhauling the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and airports. President Donald Trump recently announced initiatives aimed at speeding the approval process for such projects. But the centerpiece of his plan would use $200 billion in government money to attract enough private investment to raise $1 trillion for infrastructure projects.

Renewables

Increasing number of farms switching to solar power
Ashley Robinson, The Regina Leader-Post

Farmers have always followed natural progression when it comes to technology. MiEnergy, a Saskatoon-based company, has been in the renewable energy industry for 15 years, first with geothermal and then expanding four years ago into solar energy.

Simsbury Debates Trade Off Between Green Farmland And Green Energy
Patrick Skahill, WNPR

Deepwater Wind, the group behind the nation’s first offshore wind farm, is now proposing a massive clean energy project in Connecticut. The company wants to build what could be one of region’s largest solar farms in Simsbury. The development would put solar panels on private land currently farmed for crops. If built, the company said the project will generate enough energy to power about 5,000 homes.

Coal

Glencore in bidding war with China to buy Rio coal assets
Rahul B and Barbara Lewis, Reuters

Miner and trader Glencore (GLEN.L) on Friday hit back with an increased offer of $2.675 billion (2.10 billion pounds) in cash to buy Australian coal assets from Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) that earlier this week said it was favouring a Chinese bid. On Tuesday, Rio Tinto said it had selected Yancoal (YAL.AX) to buy its Coal & Allied division in Australia for $2.45 billion. That was $100 million lower than a previous counter-bid from Glencore, but Rio said it believed Yancoal’s offer could be completed more quickly because it had regulatory approvals.

People Of Coal-Rich Northern Cheyenne Torn Between Jobs And Sacred Culture
Nathan Rott, NPR News

The Northern Cheyenne Reservation sits on one of the richest coal deposits in the country. There are billions of tons of the black rock buried underneath Littlebird, Lame Deer and the surrounding pine-dotted prairie. In some places, it’s so easy to access that coal developers have told tribal members it could be scraped up with a spoon. But despite high unemployment and systemic poverty, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe has never touched the coal.

Nuclear

Nuclear power infrastructure: Here is why Narendra Modi government adding 7000 MW to India’s Npower capacity is good news
Anupam Chatterjee, The Financial Express

The Union government’s approval last month for the construction of 10 nuclear power units with a cumulative capacity of 7,000 MW has reaffirmed India’s commitment to helping meet its energy needs through this environmentally safe resource. Significantly, the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) would be made indigenously. The decision is likely to result in manufacturing orders of close to Rs 70,000 crore for the domestic industry, and generate more than 33,400 jobs. These nuclear plants are unlikely to suffer the fate of the numerous coal-based plants which are operating at low utilisation levels due to excess generation capacity.

Climate

A flurry of recent statements show widespread climate doubt in the Trump administration
Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

After President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, journalists repeatedly asked the White House what he thought about climate change — and couldn’t get straight answers. Since then, though, additional statements from Trump and members of his administration have provided additional evidence suggesting that these leaders don’t accept the mainstream science of climate change.

Watch this ruling: It could affect coal and climate reviews across the West
Stuart Leavenworth, McClatchy Newspapers

Any day now, a federal appeals court in Denver is expected to rule on a case with major repercussions for coal mining on western public lands, one that could potentially affect other energy projects. Depending on its decision, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could force the U.S. Interior Department to more extensively analyze how expansion of coal mining on federal land affects carbon emissions.

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots
Juan Vidal, The Guardian

The evidence for the onset of climate change is compelling. But who and where is it hitting the hardest? How fast will it come to Africa, or the US? What will be its impact on tropical cities, forests or farming? On the poor, or the old? When it comes to details, much is uncertain. Mapping the world’s climate hotspots and identifying where the impacts will be the greatest is increasingly important for governments, advocacy groups and others who need to prioritise resources, set goals and adapt to a warming world.

Climate change in drones’ sights with ambitious plan to remotely plant nearly 100,000 trees a day
Jake Sturmer, ABC News

An Australian engineer is hoping to use drones to plant 1 billion trees every year to fight an unfolding global catastrophe. Deforestation and forest degradation make up 17 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions — more than the entire world’s transportation sector, according to the United Nations.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Transmission Projects Make Grid Reliable, Cleaner, and Invest in America
Isak Kvam, Morning Consult

Let’s talk about win-wins — technology that can dramatically improve our electrical system and drive the U.S. economy. I’m not talking about something as sleek as Tesla’s Powerwall or the chic design of modern wind turbines — it’s something essential to a modern way of life that most people see every day. Transmission lines.

Focus on private sector to combat climate change
Henry Waxman, The Daily Record

To confront the greatest common threat we have ever faced, we must go where the most change can be made. I believe that the private sector provides the best such opportunity. After all, most U.S. emissions come from the private sector — and if policy can’t be expected to limit those emissions, something else has to.

Matchmaking Finance and Infrastructure
Otaviano Canuto and Aleksandra Liaplina, The Huffington Post

The world needs to invest an average of US$3.3 trillion, and emerging markets of US$1 to 1.5 trillion annually just to meet currently expected rates of growth. The world currently spends US$2.5 trillion a year on infrastructure, and economists estimate that it needs to invest an average of US$3.3 trillion annually just to support currently expected rates of growth – with energy requiring the largest amount. For emerging markets, the infrastructure financing gap is estimated at around $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion a year.

NWE delivers renewable energy
Lisa Perry, The Billings Gazette

NorthWestern relies on clean, sustainable water and wind to provide reliable, affordable electricity to our Montana customers. Nearly 60 percent of the electricity we currently provide comes from our hydroelectric dams and wind farms. We have recently reached agreements with several new large wind projects and in coming weeks we will have six independently owned solar projects as part of our energy mix.

A Message from ExxonMobil:

Energy is fundamental to modern life and drives economic prosperity – in small communities across America and around the world. We need a range of solutions to meet growing energy demand while reducing emissions to address the risk of climate change. Visit the Energy Factor to learn more about some of the bold ideas and next-generation technologies we’re working on to meet this challenge: EnergyFactor.com

Research Reports

Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Coral Reefs: A First Global Scientific Assessment
Scott Heron et al., UNESCO World Heritage Center

In the past three years, only four reef-containing World Heritage properties escaped exposure to bleaching-level heat stress, while more than three-quarters of the properties have been affected by severe and/or repeated heat stress. Under RCP8.5 (similar to a “business-as-usual” scenario), this study predicts that 25 of the 29 World Heritage reefs will experience twice-per-decade severe bleaching by 2040, a frequency that will rapidly kill most corals present and prevent successful reproduction necessary for recovery of corals. All properties will experience annual severe bleaching, and thus will cease to host functioning coral reef ecosystems, by the end of the century unless CO2 emissions are reduced.