Morning Consult Energy: Trump Says Biofuels Deal Will Raise Ethanol Levels to Nearly 16 Billion Gallons

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  • President Donald Trump said the administration’s biofuels deal would increase the quantity of ethanol mixed into gasoline in 2020 to about 16 billion gallons, up from the current annual requirement of 15 billion gallons. The agreement is perceived as an effort for Trump to repair strained relations with ethanol advocates. (Reuters)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday sent the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a final rule that would rescind the agency’s past cost-benefit analysis of the Obama-era Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule. The EPA expects to issue a final rule in November after an interagency review process lasting between roughly 60 and 90 days. (S&P Global Platts)
  • The federal government has been investigating Blackjewel LLC for fraud before the coal company filed for bankruptcy July 1 and has asked a West Virginia federal bankruptcy court to extend the period for complaints until Dec. 4, according to a recent court document. The request to the court would push back the time when Blackjewel’s debts are discharged. (Casper Star Tribune)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo
CSIS Event on How Climate Change is Upending our View of Maritime Sustainability, Sovereignty, and Security 8:45 am
CSIS Event on Oil and Gas Industry Engagement on Climate Change 1:00 pm
Getting to Zero Forum
Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America President Donald Santa Speaks at R Street Institute Event on Pipelines and Property Rights: Are They in Conflict? 11:30 am
FERC Commissioner Richard Glick Keynotes at American Wind Energy Association Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference 2019
Getting to Zero Forum
Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo
ReedSmith 5th Annual Energy and Commodities Conference 7:30 am
E2 Event on Foreseeing Our Climate Future: What Will It Take to Limit the Damage 11:30 am
E2 Hosts an Evening with Congressman Scott Peters: The Climate Playbook & Opposition to Expanded Offshore Drilling 6:00 pm
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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Rick Perry’s Focus on Gas Company Entangles Him in Ukraine Case
Kenneth P. Vogel et al., The New York Times

Mr. Perry’s efforts, while broadly consistent with American national security and energy objectives, intersected with those of the figures involved in the pressure campaign.

Nissan names China unit head Makoto Uchida as chief executive
David Keohane et al., Financial Times

Carmaker in bid to end ‘toxic’ boardroom battle after 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

What the BLM Shake-Up Could Mean for Public Lands and Their Climate Impact
Judy Fahys, InsideClimate News

But along with the appointment of a self-described Sagebrush Rebel as acting director, the shuffling of staff could help position conservatives to accomplish substantial political goals: expanding fossil fuel development, easing national environmental protections, and shifting more power to state governments for managing federal forests and energy development.

Firefighting foam leaves toxic legacy in Californians’ drinking water
David S. Cloud et al., Los Angeles Times

Defense Department officials know that the chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have seeped into the groundwater underneath nearly two dozen military bases throughout the state. But the department has conducted only limited testing off base and cannot say how many civilian water sources they’ve polluted or who will pay for it.

Oil falls as worries on U.S.-China trade negotiations build
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Reuters

Oil prices fell on Tuesday as Washington’s blacklisting of more Chinese companies dampened hopes for a trade deal between the two countries, though unrest in Iraq and Ecuador lent some support to crude prices.

Oil and Natural Gas

Qatar Seeks Exxon, Shell, Other ‘Big Players’ for Gas Expansion
Bruce Stanley and Annmarie Hordern, Bloomberg

Qatar has invited Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, ConocoPhillips and other “big players” to submit bids to help expand its part of the world’s largest natural gas field, Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said.

TC Energy pauses Keystone XL pipeline prep work while judge weighs challenge
Meghan Gordon, S&P Global Platts

The pipeline builder said it would not start the work as planned on October 1 until Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana holds a hearing on the issue, which is set for Wednesday.

Why Saudi Aramco’s IPO Is No Ordinary Share Sale
Matthew Martin, Bloomberg

It makes more profit than any other company in the world, but is it the most valuable? The answer could come as soon as November, when Saudi Aramco is finally set to go ahead with a mammoth initial public offering.

Eni chief says oil majors cannot ease emissions crisis alone
Anjli Raval, Financial Times

Claudio Descalzi highlights listed groups’ low production and reserves.

Big Oil Is Selling Dirty Assets, But They Aren’t Going Away
Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg

Hilcorp Energy Co., the buyer of the Alaska assets, plans to pour more money to boost production there than BP would have, according to Dudley. That could end up making the carbon problem worse than it was.

Utilities and Infrastructure

PG&E Warns It May Cut Power for 600,000 Customers Due to Wildfire Risk
Staff, The Wall Street Journal

PG&E Corp. PCG 5.80% said it may shut off power for more than 600,000 customers across parts of 30 California counties in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires in those communities. In a news release, the bankrupt utility owner said if it does decide to implement a shut-off, it would begin turning off power early Wednesday morning.

Battle for PG&E Hinges on Rival Plans and Uncertain Costs
Lauren Hepler and Peter Eavis, The New York Times

Wildfire victims are joining forces with bondholders to contest its bankruptcy plan. Hedge funds are arrayed on both sides.


Big Oil’s Renewable Shift Seen Flooding Shareholders With Cash
Dan Murtaugh and Sharon Cho, Bloomberg

Shareholders of global oil giants will be “drowned” in cash from dividends and buybacks for the next 20 years as the firms shift their capital structure to finance renewable projects, according to Rystad Energy.

Electric car start-ups face uphill battle
Peter Campbell, Financial Times

China’s Nio provides cautionary tale for those seeking to enter increasingly tough market.

GM’s Electric Future Means Prosperity for One Michigan Town, Disaster for Another
Bryan Gruley and David Welch, Bloomberg Businessweek

Every decade or so, GM undergoes a transformation to ensure the company’s long-term survival. Invariably, these makeovers turn some communities into winners and others into losers.


Blackhawk Delays Bankruptcy Exit Amid Drop in Coal Prices
Jonathan Randles, The Wall Street Journal Pro

Blackhawk Mining LLC is getting an additional $35 million in bankruptcy financing after falling coal prices caused a revenue shortfall that has delayed the company’s exit from chapter 11.


WIPP: New Mexico nuclear waste site’s five-year plan deemed ‘insufficient’ by state leaders
Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) sent a letter outlining its concerns to Kirk Lachman, acting manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office which oversees WIPP’s management and planning.

Nuclear Called Irrelevant in Climate Fight Without Lower Costs
Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg

Atomic power is still seen by some environmental and business luminaries including Bill Gates and Stewart Brand as an essential ingredient in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). But rising costs, lengthening construction times and continued safety concerns have merged to raise barriers against new nuclear projects.


Pepsi to Take Green Mainstream With Sustainable Bond Sale
Molly Smith and David Caleb Mutua, Bloomberg

The company is offering $1 billion of senior unsecured green securities, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The 30-year bonds will yield 92 basis points above Treasuries, after initially discussing 110 basis points, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details are private.

Court Order Opens New Front in SCOTUS Climate Showdown
Ellen M. Gilmer, Bloomberg Environment

Federal judges won’t pause a high-stakes climate liability case that Rhode Island is pursuing against the oil industry—a decision likely to send industry lawyers to the Supreme Court. 

Mayor releases plan to accelerate carbon emissions goal
The Associated Press

Boston’s mayor has a plan to accelerate the city’s goal of reducing carbon emissions. Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh says the updated Climate Action Plan he’s releasing Tuesday will significantly cut carbon emissions from buildings, which account for most emissions in the city.

Climate concerns drive interest in pairing hydrogen, carbon capture technologies
Esther Whieldon, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Unlike renewable generation, which is location-dependent and only works when the sun is shining or wind is blowing, hydrogen, particularly when paired with ammonia, can be shipped, transported and stored until it is needed relatively easily. But a number of cost-related, regulatory and logistical hurdles must be addressed before the technology can become economically viable.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

‘How dare you!’ Why the House hasn’t voted on climate change
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Washington Examiner

I wish climate change wasn’t real. I wish I could do what many other politicians are doing: sitting back, relaxing, and talking about how great the Green New Deal is — how anything short of such a $93 trillion boondoggle is somehow betraying the world’s children.

Five Radical Climate Policies That Most Americans Actually Like
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

At least five aggressive and leftwing climate policies are supported by most registered voters in the United States. Americans seem particularly fond of large spending packages, as Sanders has advanced, and climate policies with a populist bent, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed climate import fee and her “economic patriotism” plan.

What Went Wrong at Faraday Grid?
Jason Deign, Greentech Media

Andrew Scobie, Faraday Grid’s ex-CEO, has acquired his former company’s intellectual property assets after registering a new company, Third Equation, on September 4, according to a source familiar with the acquisition.

Research Reports

Low-Carbon Heat Solutions for Heavy Industry: Sources, Options, and Costs Today
Julio Friedmann et al., Columbia University 

To explore the topic of industrial heat decarbonization, the authors undertook an initial review of all options to supply high temperature, high flux, and high volume heat for a subset of major industrial applications: cement manufacturing, primary iron and steel production, methanol and ammonia synthesis, and glassmaking.

Emergent constraints on Earth’s transient and equilibrium response to doubled CO2 from post-1970s global warming
Diego Jiménez-de-la-Cuesta and Thorsten Mauritsen, Nature Geoscience

Here we present an emergent constraint on post-1970s warming, taking advantage of the weakly varying aerosol cooling during this period. We derive a relationship between the transient response and the post-1970s warming in Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models. 

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