Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
April 26, 2021
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Top Stories

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has announced plans to ban new permits for fracking starting in 2024, which would be instituted by the state’s Department of Conservation, in an apparent reversal of the governor’s previous statements that he does not have the executive authority to ban the controversial practice. Newsom also called on the California Air Resources Board to evaluate how to phase out all oil extraction by 2045. (Los Angeles Times)
  • A global assessment has found that reducing methane emissions will be critical in the short term to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, according to a soon-to-be-released United Nations report seen by a media outlet. It pinpoints the fossil fuel industry as having the most potential to cut methane emissions at low cost, and says that expanding the use of natural gas without advances in carbon-capture technology is unlikely to be compatible with achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. (The New York Times)
  • According to special climate envoy John Kerry, President Joe Biden is considering the use of a border adjustment tax to encourage other countries to cut their carbon emissions. The mechanism would essentially impose a levy on imports from countries with less strict climate rules and disincentivize companies from moving their operations to those countries. (Bloomberg)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

EPA, U.S. Virgin Islands officials launch probe after second St. Croix refinery accident

Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Virgin Islands officials are investigating a second accident at a controversial refinery in St. Croix after it emitted noxious fumes that prompted some schools on the island to close Friday.

 

Centrist Senators Signal Progress on Infrastructure Talks

Alex Leary, The Wall Street Journal

Two centrist senators key to negotiations over infrastructure spending signaled progress in talks but made clear they don’t support President Biden’s expansive $2.3 trillion proposal.

 

Problem Solvers Caucus says gas tax increase possible infrastructure funding option

Zack Budryk, The Hill

The House Problem Solvers Caucus on Friday said that a gas tax increase was a possible option to pay for infrastructure measures as an alternative to a corporate tax hike.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

John Kerry After Climate Summit: ‘This Is Where the Market Is Moving’

David Westin and Will Wade, Bloomberg

An interview with President Biden’s top climate diplomat after a two-day gathering of world leaders.

 

Yellen, Lagarde Call On Private Sector to Mobilize on Climate

Christopher Condon and Carolynn Look, Bloomberg

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde wrapped up a week of international events focused on fighting climate change by renewing their call to financial institutions and investors to mobilize private capital in the effort.

 

The U.S. is back on climate. Now what?

Zack Colman et al., Politico

The United States brought the world’s most important leaders together in an attempt to restore its position as dealmaker and momentum-builder for one of the most vexing global problems.

 

Biden’s Bet on a Climate Transition Carries Big Risks

Coral Davenport, The New York Times

The president’s plans to cut emissions in half by 2030 relies heavily on a government effort to steer the development of new industries, but business leaders are fretting over the rapid timeline.

 

Global Emissions Goals Come With Big Cost and Political Hurdles

Juan Forero et al., The Wall Street Journal

Large global polluters such as China, India and the U.S. have pledged to switch to cleaner energies, but such overhauls would require hefty funding and deft political maneuvering.

 

Saudi Arabia to join new forum on climate change – state news agency

Reuters

Saudi Arabia will join the United States, Canada, Norway, and Qatar in forming a new platform for oil and gas producers to discuss how they can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

 

New US climate strategy opens up old faultlines with Europe

Mehreen Khan et al., Financial Times

Biden’s environmental comeback only masks divergent approaches between the two economic powerhouses.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

Granholm announces goal to make hydrogen power, EV batteries more affordable

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Friday announced new goals to lower the cost of clean energy and other climate change technologies, including reducing the cost of hydrogen and batteries for electric vehicles.

 

Battery-Metal Rush Pits Miners Against Marine Biologists

Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg

Controversial plans to mine the ocean floor face a key test this year when a United Nations body unveils rules that could spur the exploitation of hundreds of billions of dollars of battery metals.

 

Samsung unit considers developing $673 mln solar plants in Texas -documents

Reuters

A unit of Samsung C&T Corp is considering developing solar power plants worth $673 million in the U.S. state of Texas, aiming to sell the electricity generated starting December 2023, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

 

Low-income countries play carbon leapfrog in green energy shift

Patrick Mulholland, Financial Times

The expansion of Vietnam’s wind and solar farms is proving crucial to powering its economic growth.

 

US offshore wind projects test strength of Joe Biden’s green jobs promise

Gregory Meyer, Financial Times

Developments will be affected by state labour rules, lack of local parts and old shipping law.

 

The White House warns that the U.S. lags behind China on developing clean technologies.

Katie Rogers, The New York Times

A report published by the Biden administration on Friday made the case that a failure to adopt clean energy technologies and reduce carbon emissions will contribute to rising economic costs, and warns that the United States has fallen behind in its efforts to develop strategies to combat the effects of climate change.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

Exxon faces ‘existential’ risk over fossil fuel focus, activist investor warns

Derek Brower and Justin Jacobs, Financial Times

The hedge fund Engine No 1 steps up drive to overhaul board, pointing to oil group’s ‘value destruction.’

 

Gas prospects lose steam as renewables gather pace

Justin Jacobs, Financial Times

The drop in green energy costs and tougher emissions targets take the shine from ‘cleaner than coal’ pitch.

 

Schlumberger optimistic over recovering oil demand

Derek Brower and Justin Jacobs, Financial Times

The oilfield services companies bore the brunt of last year’s crash but prices have rallied and other signs are encouraging.

 

Standing Rock disputes new figures by Dakota Access owners

The Associated Press

Attorneys for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and South Dakota say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unlawfully authorized the Dakota Access pipeline without fully assessing the risks and are asking a judge to shut down the flow of oil while the Corps conducts a second environmental review.

 

Oil-Field Services—Lots to Like Beneath the Surface

Jinjoo Lee, The Wall Street Journal

How is the oil patch’s recovery coming along? Slow and steady, judging by the three major oil field services firms that unveiled results in the past week. That should be music to investors’ ears.

 

There are massive chemical dumps in the Gulf we know almost nothing about

Chris D’Angelo, Grist

In the 1970s, the EPA allowed chemical companies to dump toxic waste into the deep sea. Now, oil giants are drilling right on top of it.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

Energy grids target upgrades for zero carbon transition

Gregory Meyer, Financial Times

The growth in greener energy transmission requires overhauls of old networks.

 

Renewables could displace fossil fuels to power the world by 2050, report claims

Chloe Taylor, CNBC

Published Friday, the report from think tank Carbon Tracker also predicted that if wind and solar power continued on their current growth trajectory, they would push fossil fuels out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s.

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

Brazil cuts environment spending one day after U.S. climate summit pledge

Jake Spring, Reuters

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro approved a 24% cut to the environment budget for 2021 from last year’s level, according to official numbers published on Friday, just one day after he vowed to increase spending to fight deforestation.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

Uranium Miners Seeking a Foothold Take Unorthodox Approach: Buying Uranium

Joe Wallace and Rhiannon Hoyle, The Wall Street Journal

Companies that are planning to mine uranium, known as junior miners, are purchasing the nuclear fuel to help clinch sales for new mines.

 

DOE Earmarks $109.5 Million to Support Coal Workers

Darrell Proctor, Power

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it will provide $109.5 million in funding for projects that directly support job creation in communities impacted by the energy transition, particularly for workers and areas struggling due to closures of coal-fired power plants and coal mines.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

How Electric, Self-Driving Cars and Ride-Hailing Will Transform the Car Industry

Daniel Yergin, The Wall Street Journal

The era launched by Henry Ford more than a century ago is coming to an end, and the big question is whether the U.S. can keep up with China in the new race. Welcome to the world of AutoTech.

 

Women of Bears Ears Are Asking You to Help Save It

Elouise Wilson et al., The New York Times

Will sacred lands protected by President Obama be protected once again?

 

Elon Musk’s Star Power Shows How to Save the Earth

John Authers, Bloomberg

Innovators such as the Tesla CEO create more excitement for investors than government exhortations to do the right thing.

 

Targets alone will not solve the climate crisis

The Editorial Board, Financial Times

The Biden administration has kicked the agenda into a new gear but more is needed.

 






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