Morning Consult Energy: Court Dismisses Challenge to FERC Policy on Gas Projects

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  • Citing a lack of standing by key petitioner Otsego 2000, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a petition for review of a May 2018 order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that limits the agency’s analysis of emissions from natural gas projects. The order, which rejected a request for rehearing over FERC’s 2016 approval of a pipeline expansion effort by Dominion Energy Inc. in New York, will now remain in place. (S&P Global Platts)
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said it now has a definitive merger agreement with Occidental Petroleum Corp. for the latter to acquire The Woodlands, Texas-based company. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. (Axios)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing an increase of the amount of total biofuel to be blended into U.S. fuel to 20.04 billion gallons in 2020 from 19.92 billion gallons this year, but the agency intends to keep conventional biofuel blending requirements steady at 15 billion gallons, according to two sources. The EPA has submitted its proposal for interagency review. (Reuters)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

PwC Digital Utilities of the Future 2 Conference
Water Environment Federation Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Symposium
Society of Petroleum Resources Economists’ 2019 Petroleum Resources Economics Conference
Argus Natural Gas Summit – Monetization Strategies
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Briefing on Digital Instrumentation and Control
DNV GL Energy Executive Forum
Greentech Media Solar Summit 2019
CSIS Global Cooling Prize event 2:00 pm
Defense Strategies Institute Expeditionary Power and Energy Summit
DNV GL Energy Executive Forum
Greentech Media Solar Summit 2019
POLITICO’s Reinventing American Energy: Modernizing U.S. Power Infrastructure for a Clean Energy Future 8:00 am
Defense Strategies Institute Expeditionary Power and Energy Summit
DNV GL Energy Executive Forum
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission open meeting 10:00 am
Bipartisan Policy Center Event: EPA’s Role in Building Critical Infrastructure 10:00 am
Atlantic Council Event on the Future of Energy Storage 12:00 pm
Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee Hearing Examining the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Geological Survey 2:00 pm
U.S. Energy Association Briefing on CCUS Deployment 2:00 pm
Stanford University Environmental Forum with David J. Vogel 3:30 pm
View full calendar

Morning Consult’s Senator Approval Rankings

The definitive ranking of every senator’s approval in America, based on over 470,000 survey interviews.

Morning Consult is also tracking every governor’s approval, as well as the 2020 Democratic primary and Donald Trump’s approval. See more.


Facing Democratic resistance, Interior secretary promotes oil and gas drilling
Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

The Trump administration will calculate the climate effects of its oil, gas and coal leasing decisions, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in an interview Wednesday, but will not make those impacts the key factor in its final decisions.

Bernhardt referred complaint over IG staff for outside probe
Kevin Bogardus and Michael Doyle, E&E News

The tables were turned on the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General last year when a complaint about the watchdog’s actions prompted then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt to refer the matter for outside investigation.

How Rubio and Gaetz persuaded Trump to shell out more hurricane aid
Arek Sarkissian, Politico

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought had told Trump during a Monday meeting not to exceed a 75 percent cost-share limit set by federal regulation. Surpassing the limit, they said, could open the door for more requests.

Toothless law lets White House keep jobs vacant
Jennifer Yachnin, E&E News

Observers suggest that’s because the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) — passed to ensure that the executive branch would put forth nominees in a timely fashion rather than let key positions be filled with unvetted political appointees — is little more than a paper tiger.

Perry, asked about environmental justice, talks about electricity prices
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill

Barragán, who noted her district is 88 percent Latino and African American, said Perry’s response didn’t reflect how some communities “disproportionately have the burden of injustices that are happening from air pollution.”

Oil gains as supply factors offset trade tensions
Ahmad Ghaddar, Reuters

Oil prices rose on Friday even as the start of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods kept tensions high in the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

Oil and Natural Gas

Revived proposal for new oil, gas drilling in California
Brian Melley, The Associated Press

The Bureau of Land Management issued final plans for oil and gas leases on about 800,000 acres (323,755 hectares) in Central California. That comes less than a month after the agency issued a draft plan to allow drilling on more than 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) surrounding the Bakersfield area.

Uncertainty still surrounds Colorado producers following oil, gas overhaul bill
Brandon Evans, S&P Global Platts

Although Colorado passed a sweeping overhaul of the oil and natural gas permitting process for drilling new wells in the state, and Democratic Governor Jared Polis declared an end to the “oil and gas wars,” legislators worry activists might draw up new ballot propositions.

From Paris to Omaha: How Occidental CEO out-maneuvered Chevron in Anadarko bid
Devika Krishna Kumar and Jessica Resnick-Ault, Reuters

In edging out Chevron, Hollub leaned on global relationships and knowledge forged from 35 years in the oil industry, according to about a dozen people familiar with the talks leading up to the company’s latest offer.

Oil and gas companies shift workplace culture, focus on tech to woo younger generations
Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle

Doug Pferdehirt, chief executive of the energy services company TechnipFMC, was speaking at the opening session of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, touting advances and innovations from shale drilling to liquefied natural gas exports, and urging the oil and gas industry to appeal to the next generation. Then, he looked at the crowd.

OPEC in the dark on oil supply as Russia, Iran cut exports
Rania El Gamal and Alex Lawler, Reuters

OPEC is in the dark on the oil supply outlook for the second half of this year, with Iranian and Russian outages looking increasingly significant but Saudi Arabia reluctant to pump more due to fears of a price crash, sources in the organization said.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Environmental officials give draft permit to $1B power plant
The Associated Press

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said Wednesday night the draft permit for the Clear River Energy Center power plant is available online for public review and comment.

A $10 Billion Fund for California Fire Costs May Dry Up by 2030
Mark Chediak, Bloomberg

California has for months been weighing the idea of a fund that utilities could dip into when facing crippling costs tied to wildfires. On Wednesday, state lawmakers got a feel for how big that fund would have to be.

Heavy rain and widespread power outages hit southeast Texas, Louisiana
Rich McKay, Reuters

Hailstones the size of golf balls along with fast, heavy rains pelted the Texas’ Gulf coast from Houston up into Louisiana, bringing as much as 4 inches of rain, flooded highways and downed power lines, officials said.


Florida’s solar turnaround sparks concerns over limits on community projects
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

As recently as 2015, the Sunshine State was headed toward over-reliance on natural gas, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. That year, utilities and solar advocates faced off over a ballot initiative on solar leasing which was defeated in the 2016 election. But then things changed.

Tesla seeks dismissal of suit challenging Musk pay package
Randall Chase, The Associated Press

A shareholder lawsuit filed last June alleges that Musk and Tesla’s board of directors breached their fiduciary duties to the company and its stockholders, granting unjust enrichment to Musk and wasting corporate assets.

Wind Woos With Millions in Perks Amid U.S. Offshore Rush
Chris Martin, Bloomberg

Want to spruce up your downtown, or maybe get $10 million to support workforce training at the local college? How about investments to help rebuild aging ports and establish trust funds for your fisherman?


Wyoming governor: Coal state can lead with climate solutions
The Associated Press

Gov. Mark Gordon told the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that Wyoming can do environmental regulation better than “anywhere else in the world” when it comes to mining coal and burning it to make electricity.


On eve of NNSS visit, Rosen promises to hound DOE’s Perry over promise to remove plutonium, gives maiden Senate speech
Humberto Sanchez, The Nevada Independent

With a visit to the Nevada National Security Site by Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto set for Friday, Sen. Jacky Rosen said she plans to hound Perry to make sure he lives up to the agreement he made to remove the secretly shipped plutonium being stored there.

Here’s how you shut down a 47-year-old nuclear power station
Bob Dumas, Boston 25 News

On May 31, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station will be shut down and the process of decommissioning the 47-year-old plant will begin. In an exact replica of the nuclear power plant’s control room, engineers are practicing how to shut the plant down, reviewing procedures and preparing for contingencies.


El Nino Seen Lingering Through August, Easing Hurricane Threats
Brian K. Sullivan, Bloomberg

The weak El Nino pattern that’s been influencing global weather will probably stick around through August, likely bringing rain to Brazil’s coffee fields while drying India’s monsoon and possibly helping to ease storm threats during the Atlantic hurricane season.

House panel advances spending bill with commitment to Paris climate agreement
Miranda Green, The Hill

The bill, backed by Democrats, removes a funding prohibition on the Green Climate Fund imposed by Republicans last year. The new legislation also prohibits the use of congressional funds to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

Empty North Sea gas fields to be used to bury 10m tonnes of C02
Daniel Boffey, The Guardian

The ports, which account for one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions from the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg region, are to be used to pipe the gas into a porous reservoir of sandstone about two miles (3km) below the seabed.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

The Energy Solution Growing in Our Backyards
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), Morning Consult

From addressing climate change to achieving American energy independence, there are many reasons I believe we need to be focused on supporting a wide variety of innovative energy sources. As we work toward creating more affordable and clean energy, one piece of this strategy just happens to be right in our backyards.

Charting a path to net zero electricity emissions by the middle of the century
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), The Hill

The Clean Energy Standard is federal legislation that offers a pathway toward decarbonizing our power sector and helping our nation accomplish a goal of net-zero emissions by the 2050s.

Research Reports

The Role of Natural Gas in the Transition to a Lower-Carbon Economy
Black & Veatch Management Consulting LLC

The evolving role of natural gas continues to be at the forefront of US energy industry developments. This evolution to a lower carbon economy, including how growing renewable power generation and battery storage will affect gas-fired power generation, and the resulting effect on the utilization of midstream natural gas infrastructure is an important consideration for natural gas midstream operators and the value chain supporting the construction and operation of midstream infrastructure.