Morning Consult Energy: Trump Floats Possibility of Imposing Tariffs on Oil Imports


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  • In the aftermath of a highly anticipated meeting with U.S. oil executives, President Donald Trump said in a briefing that he is considering imposing tariffs on oil imports “to protect tens of thousands of energy workers in our great companies that produce these jobs.” The U.S. oil industry is suffering from low prices caused by a global oil price war, but the biggest producers do not support tariffs or other forms of direct intervention in the oil markets. (Axios
  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold a virtual meeting Thursday with other oil-producing nations, such as Canada and Russia, with the goal of negotiating a truce in the Saudi-Russian battle for market share that has driven oil prices to historic lows. In an apparent ceasefire, Saudi Arabia delayed pricing its crude for May delivery while awaiting the result of the meeting. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The biggest companies in the global oil market have been tapping the bond market since mid-March to raise debt worth more than $32 billion to manage the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic while preserving shareholder payouts. These oil giants include ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, Equinor ASA and Total SA. (Financial Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

04/06/2020
Atlantic Council Webinar: COVID-19: Clean energy and climate impacts 4:00 pm
04/09/2020
WRI Webinar: Build Back Better: Shaping the U.S. Stimulus Package for Infrastructure 11:00 am
View full calendar

Morning Consult Debuts Daily Consumer Confidence Tracking Data

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Recently, we debuted our newest product, Morning Consult Economic Intelligence: Global Consumer Confidence, the most robust data set on consumer confidence available today.

Click here to learn more or speak to one of our specialists.

General

Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus
Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Democratic senators are asking the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pause some or all of their rulemaking in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Texas Gets Double Punch From Coronavirus and Oil Shock. ‘There’s No Avoiding This One.’
Collin Eaton and Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal

Lone Star State’s economy, which outpaced most of the U.S. after the 2008 financial crisis, looks set to suffer an outsize contraction this time

Oil Pares Loss as Investors Weigh Chance of Price-War Truce
Elizabeth Low and Alex Longley, Bloomberg

Oil pared losses amid signs that Saudi Arabia and Russia are making progress toward an agreement to curb crude output as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the global economy.

Oil and Natural Gas

Saudi Arabia, Russia Push Negotiations for Global Oil Pact
Javier Blas and Henry Meyer, Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other large oil producers are racing to negotiate a deal to stem the historic price crash as diplomats said some progress was made on Sunday.

Oil output cuts inevitable but tanker storage reservoir will remain
Paul Hickin, S&P Global Platts

Oil tanker storage is about the only thing in demand in the crude market right now.

US and Canada discuss putting tariffs on Saudi and Russian oil
David Sheppard and Derek Brower, Financial Times

A global deal to reduce production hangs in balance ahead of Opec+ meeting.

U.S. Energy Chief Tells Industry He Sees Oil Deal Within Days
Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter, Bloomberg

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told oil industry representatives Friday that he expected a Saudi-Russia deal on crude production cuts within days.

Brent crude could still drop to $10 a barrel and stay there in Q2: IHS Markit
Abigail Ng, CNBC

Oil prices rallied Thursday on the possibility of a deal to cut production, but Victor Shum of IHS Markit said there’s “little chance” that any OPEC+ deal could save the market.

US offshore drillers weigh risks of virus hitting Gulf of Mexico platforms
Meghan Gordon and Starr Spencer, S&P Global Platts

US offshore oil and gas operators have been in talks with federal regulators about the risks of potential coronavirus outbreaks on Gulf of Mexico platforms, but no decisions have been made to shut any operations, sources said Friday.

Royal Dutch Shell reskills workers in artificial intelligence as part of huge energy transition
Susan Caminiti, CNBC

Royal Dutch Shell is collaborating with Udacity to digitally train its workers in artificial intelligence.

Industry seeks to lease 100,000-plus acres near Canyonlands, Arches for drilling
Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune

The Bureau of Land Management is considering industry-driven requests to lease tens of thousands acres for oil and gas development near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

Court revives anti-fracking effort; could get on ballot
The Associated Press

A proposal to ban fracking in Michigan could land on the ballot in November. The state appeals court last week ruled in favor of fracking opponents and revived their effort to present the issue to voters.

Utilities and Infrastructure

PG&E Plan Has Broad Support From Fire Victims, Lawyers Say
Scott Deveau, Bloomberg

Lawyers for more than half the wildfire victims who negotiated a $13.5 billion settlement with PG&E Corp. say their clients plan to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the bankrupt utility’s reorganization plan.

COVID-19 disrupts storage bidding processes for New York utilities, but state report shows progress
Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

New York state is nearly halfway done hitting its interim target of 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025, with 706 MW in storage projects already deployed or having received power contracts, the New York Department of Public Service (DPS) announced in its first annual “State of Storage” report released April 1.

Con Edison reaches 170 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths, as risks rise for utility workers
Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Consolidated Edison has 170 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 — 11 have recovered and returned to work as of Friday morning, and three have died, spokesperson Allan Drury told Utility Dive.

California Uses Climate Cash to Cut Power Bills During Pandemic
David R. Baker, Bloomberg

California regulators want to use money from the state’s climate change cap-and-trade program to offset rising utility bills, as the coronavirus forces many residents to stay home. Some of the proceeds from the system — which makes power plants, factories and many businesses pay for the greenhouse gases they emit — go to California residents twice each year as a credit on their utility bills.

Renewables

Agave Could Be the Next Big Biofuel
Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics

Scientists in Australia think hardy agave plants could be the next big biofuel source. In addition, the bioethanol produced from the plants could help fill unprecedented global demand for hand sanitizer.

Coal

U.S. Coal Should Be Spared as Demand Dims in 2020, Analyst Says
Will Wade, Bloomberg Environment

U.S. coal producers’ revenue will be largely spared this year as the coronavirus drags down consumption, thanks to long-term supply contracts with utilities. But prospects for 2021 look far more dire. As much as 90% of 2020 power-plant coal from publicly traded miners is already committed, according to Mark Levin, an analyst with Benchmark Co.

Nuclear

Advocates raise questions about proposal to allow some nuclear waste to be disposed in landfills
Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Scientists and advocates are raising concerns about a proposed relaxation on regulations for disposing of nuclear waste, saying that the government should halt the proposal as the scientific community focuses on the coronavirus.

Climate

Already Braced for Covid-19, Towns Watch the Rising Mississippi With Fear
Leslie Kaufman, Bloomberg

With the coronavirus already stretching supplies and budgets, local leaders worry that a flood could overwhelm them.

How Environmental Movement Plans to Leverage the Coronavirus Pandemic
Sarah McFarlane, The Wall Street Journal

One hopeful development arising from the coronavirus pandemic: Global air quality is improving dramatically as the outbreak sends many countries into lockdown, climate scientists say.

Climate Disasters Make Vulnerable Countries More Susceptible to War
Dharna Noor, Earther

As our planet heats up, one of the most important we can understand is the relationship between climate change and war. Scientists, advocates and policymakers have argued that in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya, drought exacerbated existing regional conflicts.

Any coronavirus bailout for airlines ‘should come with strict climate conditions’
Fiona Harvey, Grist

Financial help from taxpayers to airlines hit by the coronavirus crisis must come with strict conditions on their future climate impact, the former E.U. climate commissioner and a group of green campaigners have said.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Amid Public Health Response, Pipeline Safety Cannot Be Overlooked
Benjamin Dierker, Morning Consult

As governments respond to the ongoing public health emergency, pipeline operators are taking the necessary steps to maintain normal operations and the safe delivery of energy to consumers. However, last September, the nation’s chief pipeline safety regulator’s authorization expired.

Why the oil price shock is nothing to celebrate
Financial Times

Lower revenues exacerbate the damage for poorer producer nations.

Lowered auto emissions standards threaten Americans’ health — and the planet’s
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Even as America battles a virus that attacks the lungs, the Trump administration is pressing ahead with an environmental sabotage campaign that would ultimately make it harder for all Americans to breathe. The administration on Tuesday finalized its plan to weaken Obama-era automobile emissions standards — rolling them back to a point that even some automobile makers say is too far — in a move that promises to worsen air pollution and global warming in years to come.

Research Reports

The critical role of humidity in modeling summer electricity demand across the United States
Debora Maia-Silva, Nature Communications

Cooling demand is projected to increase under climate change. However, most of the existing projections are based on rising air temperatures alone, ignoring that rising temperatures are associated with increased humidity; a lethal combination that could significantly increase morbidity and mortality rates during extreme heat events.

U.S. Voters’ Views on Rescuing the U.S. Oil Industry
Brunswick Group

Having the federal government buy oil from U.S. producers is much more popular than banning foreign imports. Fewer than two in ten Americans surveyed think the U.S. government should ban imports of foreign oil to prop up prices in the U.S. Americans are much more receptive to having the federal government buy oil from U.S. producers (38%) – as the Trump administration has proposed – or do nothing at all for the industry (36%), than banning foreign oil imports (19%). Roughly a quarter favor reducing royalties that oil & gas producers have to pay the federal government to drill on federal land.

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