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Morning Consult Energy: Oil Prices Rise After Attack on 2 Saudi Oil Tankers


Top Stories

  • Unknown assailants attacked two Saudi Arabian oil tankers Sunday morning near the Strait of Hormuz, causing “significant damage” to the tankers without resulting in a spill, according to the kingdom’s energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, who characterized the attack as sabotage. The attacks, which come at a time of greater tension between Iran and the United States, contributed to a 1.5 percent increase in the price of Brent crude to $71.71 per barrel this morning, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate prices rose 1.2 percent to $62.39 per barrel. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The Utility Air Regulatory Group, an industry coalition previously represented by now-Environmental Protection Agency air chief Bill Wehrum and his former law firm, announced that it will disband “following a wind down period,” as the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigation into the connections between the parties continues. Wehrum represented the coalition while working at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and the EPA air office has modified multiple regulations where the group has sought changes. (Politico)
  • Data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii found that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has reached a record 415 parts per million, greater than at any time in the last 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Levels of carbon are estimated to have reached no higher than 400 ppm during the Pliocene Epoch about 3 million years ago. (CNN)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

05/14/2019
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
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Hearing on Mineral Security and Related Legislation 10:00 am
CSIS Global Cooling Prize event 2:00 pm
Senate Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee Hearing on lands bills 2:30 pm
The Wilderness Society Too Wild to Drill Reception 5:00 pm
05/15/2019
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
Senate Environment and Public Works Hearing on Oversight of the Council on Environmental Quality 10:00 am
House Ways and Means Hearing on the Economic and Health Consequences of Climate Change 10:00 am
House Natural Resources Hearing on the Interior Budget and Policy Priorities for FY 2020 10:00 am
House Science, Space and Technology Hearing on Advancing the Next Generation of Solar and Wind Energy Technologies 10:00 am
House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Hearing on Protecting Americans at Risk of PFAS Contamination and Exposure 10:30 am
House National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee Hearing Examining the Impacts of Climate Change on Public Lands Recreation 2:00 pm
House Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee Hearing on the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act 2:00 pm
05/16/2019
Defense Strategies Institute Expeditionary Power and Energy Summit
DNV GL Energy Executive Forum
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission open meeting 10:00 am
House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Hearing on Oil and Gas Development: Impacts of Water Pollution Above and Below Ground 10:00 am
Bipartisan Policy Center Event: EPA’s Role in Building Critical Infrastructure 10:00 am
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Hearing to Examine CCUS and to Receive Testimony on Legislation 10:00 am
Senate Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather Subcommittee Hearing on Atmospheric Science Research and Forecasting Innovation 10:00 am
Energy Department and Nuclear Energy Institute Atomic Wings Event on Advanced Manufacturing and Nuclear Energy Applications 11:30 pm
Atlantic Council Event: The Future of Energy Storage 12:00 pm
Atlantic Council Event on the Future of Energy Storage 12:00 pm
House 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
House Science, Space and Technology Hearing on the Future of Forecasting 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 Governor Approval Rankings

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

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

General

House panel yanks Curbelo invite amid furor from top Democrats
Heather Caygle and Anthony Adragna, Politico

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on Friday officially rescinded the invitation to Curbelo — who was invited by Democrats and slated to testify about climate change — after facing widespread pressure throughout the caucus, including from leadership.

Biden camp disputes report on climate plan
Timothy Cama, E&E News

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is pushing back on a report today that he will pursue a “middle ground” on climate change policy, after progressives criticized such a strategy.

Biden’s 2020 Rivals Attack Him From the Left on Climate Change
Lisa Friedman, The New York Times

The criticisms are based on a yet-to-be-released plan outlined in a Reuters report in which one person advising Mr. Biden characterized the Democratic front-runner as seeking a “middle ground” on policies to reduce planet-warming emissions.

Rep. Grijalva: House panel considering subpoenas for Interior information
Anthony Adragna and Ben LeFebvre, Politico

Since taking control of the House, Democrats have complained that the Trump administration has refused to provide information needed for them to conduct oversight.

Crews address environmental threats flooding leaves behind
Donnelle Eller, The Associated Press

The remnants from record Missouri River flooding are heartbreaking, but Smith and Jeff Pritchard, another EPA coordinator, are hunting more dangerous debris — orphaned containers filled with industrial chemicals, pesticides, diesel fuel, oil and other potentially hazardous materials.

States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill

Washington and Colorado passed bills this month designed to backstop the Obama-era standards if DOE proceeds to roll them back, and half a dozen other states are considering similar legislation. Vermont passed such a law as soon as President Trump was elected.

Newest Beto O’Rourke Hire Lobbied for Keystone Xl, Seaworld, and Private Prisons
Clio Chang, The Intercept

Beto O’Rourke’s Thursday hiring of Jeff Berman, a Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton veteran, is the latest step his presidential campaign has taken away from the insurgent energy of his Senate run and toward a more centrist and corporate strategic direction.

Oil and Natural Gas

Cleanup continuing in Houston Ship Channel after vessels collide and spill gas product
Carma Hassan, CNN

Ship and barge traffic is resuming in the Houston Ship Channel as cleanup efforts continue in the aftermath of a spill that sent thousands of barrels of gasoline blending product into the channel, officials said Sunday.

US LNG sector uncertainties continue as higher tariffs settle in
Maya Weber and Harry Weber, S&P Global Platts

The US LNG sector faces new market uncertainties after Washington followed through on threats to raise tariffs to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing promised retaliation.

Occidental shareholders flex muscles after Anadarko deal controversy
Ed Crooks, Financial Times

Shareholders in Occidental Petroleum voted to lower the threshold for calling a special meeting, making it easier for discontented investors to organise opposition to the board in the wake of anger over the company’s $55bn deal to buy Anadarko.

Bar rises for shale takeovers as Chevron bows out of Anadarko fight
Jennifer Hiller, Reuters

Chevron Chief Executive Michael Wirth’s decision to opt out of a bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum Corp has raised the bar for deals, and dampened expectations that oil majors will drive a new wave of consolidation in U.S. shale.

Chevron to drill a wildcat in Mexico’s Cuenca Salina Basin in 2021
Daniel Rodriguez, S&P Global Platts

Chevron aims to drill its first deepwater well in Mexico in 2021, based on an exploration plan approved by the country’s National Hydrocarbon Commission. The US company has nine exploration targets in its Cuenca Salina Basin 023 block, awarded in Mexico’s auction Round 2.4 in 2018, the commission, known as CNH, said Thursday in a webcast session.

North Dakota to sue Washington state over oil train standard
Blake Nicholson, The Associated Press

North Dakota is preparing to sue Washington state over a new Washington law requiring oil shipped by rail through that state to have more of its volatile gases removed, which supporters say would reduce the risk of explosive and potentially deadly derailments.

Enbridge to take bids for long-term contracted space on mainline system
Gene Laverty, S&P Global Platts

Enbridge is planning to take bids for contracted space on its Canadian mainline system, the largest pipeline network for crude shipments to the US, by mid-July as it seeks to shift to long-term commitments from a common carrier structure, the company said Friday.

Utilities and Infrastructure

NERC to analyze first potential cyberattack on US grid
HJ Mai, Utility Dive

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) told Utility Dive it will conduct a root cause analysis to determine what caused a utility to temporarily lose visibility to certain parts of its supervisory control and data acquisition system.

California May Go Dark This Summer, and Most Aren’t Ready
Mark Chediak and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg

Some residents are turning to other power sources, a boon for home battery systems marketed by Sunrun Inc., Tesla Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc. But the numbers of those systems in use are relatively small when compared with PG&E’s 5.4 million customers.

Renewables

Proposed offshore wind farm wins key Massachusetts permit
The Associated Press

The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board this week approved requests filed by Vineyard Wind for the construction and operation of the 84-turbine, 800-megawatt wind farm about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts Coast.

Illinois might start charging $1,000 per year to own an electric vehicle: ‘It’s outrageous’
Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune

A proposed hike in Illinois’ annual registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000, is being called unfair by current EV owners, and a sales disincentive by manufacturers — just as the new technology is beginning to gain broader traction.

Coal

How the West Virginia coal industry changed federal endangered species policy
Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

President Trump’s pro-coal stance is not surprising, but the documents offer a rare glimpse into how state and industry officials have tapped the president’s political appointees to advance their economic interests over the objections of the agency charged with protecting endangered wildlife — in this case, two crayfish species that help keep the state’s creeks and rivers healthy.

Nuclear

Cortez Masto to meet with DOE staff to establish briefing schedule on plutonium removal
Humberto Sanchez, The Nevada Independent

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will meet with Department of Energy officials next week to establish a regular time for getting briefings on how the agency is complying with a promise to remove the secretly shipped plutonium being stored in the state.

Climate

Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happy
Benjamin J. Hulac, Roll Call

It has the support of industry heavy-hitters, environmental advocates and a bipartisan cushion of votes in the Senate. But the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty to limit hydrofluorocarbons — highly potent greenhouse gases found in air conditioners, refrigerators, insulation and foam — is stuck.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

The Guardian view on a Green New Deal: we need it now
The Editorial Board, The Guardian

The Green New Deal is probably the most fashionable policy in the English-speaking world. In Britain it is advocated by both Tory MPs and Jeremy Corbyn; while a non-partisan Canadian coalition of nearly 70 groups are backing such a scheme.

It’s time to invest in our nation’s infrastructure
Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Newark Advocate

Turn on the evening news, and you’re likely to see a story about Washington gridlock. I, too, was wary of this problem before being sworn into Congress last year.

Averting disasters with innovation: Utilities’ pressing need for predictive technology
Brien J. Sheahan et al., Utility Dive

We live in the age of big data. Utilities used to read customer meters 12 times per year in person.

What America’s swing voters think about climate change and energy
Amy Harder, Axios

Swing voters in three of America’s top battleground states want President Trump to do more on climate change, think the weather is getting weirder and don’t know much about the Green New Deal.

Research Reports

Actions to Limit Utility Cost and Rate Increases
California Public Utilities Commission

The 2019 report presents an opportunity to investigate, identify and examine underlying trends in utility costs and rates during a period of extensive energy industry transformation, and to illuminate the many policy choices and tradeoffs facing decision-makers that promote long-term affordability.