Morning Consult Energy: Missiles Strike Iranian Oil Tanker in Red Sea

Top Stories

  • Iran said that missiles hit one of its vessels, which was filled with crude oil in the Red Sea, and initially claimed the strikes came from Saudi Arabia before walking back the attribution. The attack, occurring weeks after strikes on key Saudi oil infrastructure, caused a spill and resulted in oil prices rising above $60 per barrel in London. (Bloomberg)
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the party intends to force a vote in the chamber next week under the Congressional Review Act on the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The law allows federal rules to be overturned by a simple majority, which would require every Democrat and four Republicans to vote to revoke the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule. (Washington Examiner)
  • The International Energy Agency projected global oil demand to reach 1 million barrels per day in 2019 and 1.2 million bpd in 2020 — the agency’s fourth downgraded forecast in the last half year. The group’s monthly oil market report attributed the weakened demand growth forecast to “evidence of a slowdown” in oil-consuming areas, including Europe, the United States and India. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Getting to Zero Forum
FERC Commissioner Richard Glick Keynotes at American Wind Energy Association Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference 2019
Global Ethanol Summit
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NAWEA/WindTech 2019 Conference
Global Ethanol Summit
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Advanced Energy Economy Conference
Demand Response & Distributed Energy Resources World Forum
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Trump feud with California warrants U.S. Congress probe: hundreds of ex-EPA employees
Timothy Gardner, Reuters

Hundreds of former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employees on Thursday urged a congressional probe into whether the agency’s feud with California represented retaliation for the state’s failure to support President Donald Trump’s political agenda.

Government Must Publish Obama Era Energy Conservation Rules
Porter Wells et al., Bloomberg Environment

The Energy Department must publish four energy conservation standards it has kept on the back burner since 2016, the Ninth Circuit ruled. The agency failed to fulfill its mandatory duty to publish rules that survive a regulatory corrections period, the court said.

Top Commerce Department aides orchestrated NOAA’s Hurricane Dorian statement, House Science Committee chair says
Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, The Washington Post

A letter sent Thursday from the chair of the House Science Committee to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reveals that it was the Commerce Department, not the leadership of its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that drafted a controversial NOAA statement on Sept. 6 that backed President Trump’s false statement about the path of Hurricane Dorian. 

Trump Better for Western States Than Reagan, Acting BLM Head Says
Tripp Baltz, Bloomberg Environment

“Frankly he had more to work with,” Pendley said of Trump, during an exclusive interview Oct. 10 at the bureau’s National Operations Center in Lakewood, Colo.

Oil Climbs to $60 as Iran Tanker Attack Reignites Mideast Risk
Sharon Cho and Elizabeth Low, Bloomberg

Brent futures surged about $1 a barrel after the Islamic Republic News Agency reported a National Iranian Tanker Company tanker caught fire after a blast, taking the day’s gains to more than 2%.

Oil and Natural Gas

China to Ask U.S. to End Sanctions on Its Biggest Shipping Company
Sarah Chen et al., Bloomberg

The U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Chinese shipowners including COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co. prompted a bidding war as charterers scrambled to replace vessels owned by targeted companies.

BP to Complete $10 Billion Divestments Ahead of Schedule
Oliver Griffin, The Wall Street Journal

Integrated oil-and-gas giant BP PLC (BP.LN) expects to have finalized its planned two-year divestment program by the end of this year, ahead of schedule, although its third-quarter results will take a hit from related charges.

API urges White House to scrap plan to boost US biofuel blending
Meghan Gordon, S&P Global Platts

The American Petroleum Institute urged the Trump administration Thursday to abandon plans to expand the US biofuel mandate just weeks before final 2020-21 volumes are due, arguing the policy changes are rushed, arbitrary, and causing volatility in the renewable credit market.

Saudi Arabia loses $2bn of output after attack on oil infrastructure
Anjli Raval, Financial Times

Production fell by nearly 1.3m barrels a day in September.

Utilities and Infrastructure

PG&E’s blackouts were ‘not surgical by any stretch.’ Its systems may be to blame
James Rainey and Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times

San Francisco-based PG&E is struggling to catch up with San Diego Gas & Electric Co., which has become California’s recognized leader in forecasting fire danger, tailoring narrow outages for the most endangered neighborhoods and communicating the emergencies with the public, a top state regulator said.

PG&E shut down power. Too many Internet users shut down its website.
Marie C. Baca, The Washington Post

In public communications from PG&E on its social media accounts, website and text messages directly to consumers, the company directed people to its website for information about the potential outages. Instead, many users received error messages.

Americans Are No Longer Gluttons for Electricity—Thank the LED Bulb
Jo Craven McGinty, The Wall Street Journal

Between 1950 and 2010, average residential electricity consumption increased 10-fold. But after that, in a shift that captured the attention of economists, government agencies and others who monitor the energy market, consumption began to decline.


Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
Chris Martin, Bloomberg

During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night.

Dyson cancels electric car project
Peter Campbell and Michael Pooler, Financial Times

Billionaire inventor says that making the vehicles is not commercially viable.

Lithium at Two-Year Low Hobbles U.S. Bid to Loosen China’s Grip on Market
Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg

Companies also face stricter environmental rules and regulatory hurdles in the U.S., which currently accounts for just 1.2% of global lithium production.


Blackjewel coal shipments continued at lower rate as competitors stepped up
Taylor Kuykendall and Ashleigh Cotting, S&P Global Platts

The company abruptly shut down Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte, each among the most productive mines in the country by volume, shortly after Blackjewel stumbled on the financing initially proposed for its July 1 bankruptcy restructuring. The company has told the bankruptcy court that it maintained a reduced crew to protect its operations. 


The future of power for some Utah cities? Nuclear energy
Lexi Peery, St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Rather than large nuclear rods and containers, NuScale will be made of 12 smaller rods – each container is 76 feet by 15 feet. They’ll generate around 720 megawatts of power, which can power around 750,000 homes.

Yucca Mountain foe Nita Lowey retiring from Congress
Gary Martin, Las Vegas Review-Journal

A New York lawmaker instrumental in blocking federal funding to develop Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository announced Thursday that she would retire from Congress after 30 years of service.


Activists Can’t Agree on How to Fight Climate Change. The IMF Says Just Do Something.
Justin Worland, Time

A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released Thursday cuts through that noise: any aggressive policy, it says, is better than nothing at all.

California Blames Feds for Stalled Plans to Curb Pollution
Ryan Beene, Bloomberg

California’s top clean-air official fired back at Trump administration charges that the state hasn’t done enough to fight pollution within its borders, saying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should “do its job.”

Youth Climate Activism Isn’t Going Away
Kristoffer Tigue, InsideClimate News

The Extinction Rebellion demonstrations have a harder edge than the student-led climate strikes that have brought millions to their feet around the world demanding leaders do more to slow climate change. 

Sierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change ‘is 50 to 75 years out’
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill

The Sierra Club had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in April asking the EPA to provide all records Wheeler relied on in making that statement, as well as any research from the EPA that supported his claim.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

California’s Dark Ages
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Californians are learning to live like the Amish after investor-owned utility PG&E this week shut off power to two million or so residents to prevent wildfires amid heavy, dry winds. Blame the state’s largest blackout on a perfect storm of bad policies.

The Guardian view on the Extinction Rebellion protests: of course they’re an inconvenience
Editorial, The Guardian

It is true that XR needs to think carefully about the level, frequency and targets of the chaos it imposes on the public. But a radical social movement pursuing a strategy of civil disobedience is not trying to be some kind of government-in-waiting.

Democrats need to stop playing politics with our nation’s pipeline safety
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Roll Call

After months of discussing a bipartisan reauthorization with our Democratic colleagues, they have decided to move forward on their own path, crafting a partisan plan without Republican input.

US Wind Industry Seeks Same Tax Incentives as Solar
Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

The American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s main trade group, wants to see onshore wind projects be made eligible for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) currently available to solar plants, said AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan, speaking Thursday in New York.

Research Reports

Spoiled Parks: The 12 National Parks Most Threatened by Oil and Gas Development
National Parks Conservation Association

The Trump administration’s drilling policies are accelerating leasing in national park landscapes and eliminating vital environmental protections. Without immediate action to counter these policies, the parks will suffer long-lasting harm to their natural, cultural and economic values.

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