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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 11/21/22

Mark Hefflinger, Bold Alliance (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/Des Moines Register

By Mark Hefflinger

November 21, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • The Gazette: Iowa won’t require environmental study for Navigator’s proposed pipeline

  • KMA: NE Groups Take on a New Kind of Pipeline Fight

  • KCRG: Summit Carbon Solutions files lawsuit against counties over pipeline rules

  • Associated Press: Environmental groups oppose pipeline expansion in Pacific Northwest

  • NorthJersey.com: Protest planned in West Milford as natural gas pipeline upgrades commence

  • WVTF: Federal report calls for improvements in pipeline inspections and investigations

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Politico: Congress is divided. Here’s where it may not be.

  • E&E News: How beating up Big Oil helped Dems hold the Senate

  • E&E News: Dems revive bill to ban drilling around Chaco Canyon

  • E&E News: EPA floats sharply increased social cost of carbon

STATE UPDATES

  • Bloomberg: West Texas Was Just Rocked By the Biggest Earthquake It Has Ever Seen

  • Press release: Regional clean hydrogen hub develops in the Desert Southwest

  • Wyofile: Groups petition to keep taxpayers from cleaning oil and gas messes

EXTRACTION

  • E&E News: Summit yields ‘historic win’ for climate payments

  • Canadian Press: Canada won’t back call at COP27 to ‘phase down’ oil and gas production

  • DeSmog: Exxon Could Have Helped Stop Climate Change 30 Years Ago, ‘Proprietary’ Docs Show

  • New York Times: Inside the Saudi Strategy to Keep the World Hooked on Oil

  • Reuters: Buyout firm KKR looks to sell Canadian gas producer Westbrick -sources

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

The Gazette: Iowa won’t require environmental study for Navigator’s proposed pipeline
Erin Jordan, 11/18/22

“The Iowa Utilities Board will not require Navigator Heartland Greenway to do an environmental impact study as part of its application for a state permit to build a carbon dioxide pipeline through Iowa,” The Gazette reports. “There is no explicit legal requirement, in statute or in rule, for an independent environmental impact report as a part of this proceeding,” the board wrote in an order issued Friday. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska in June asked the state board to require Navigator and Summit Carbon Solutions — another company that wants to build a CO2 pipeline through Iowa — to do environmental impact studies of these pipelines, slated to cross on or near Winnebago land. The Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club joined this request, saying only the board would have the authority to address the environmental impact across the whole state. But Navigator, which wants to build a 1,300-mile CO2 pipeline across five states, including Iowa, said doing an environmental impact study now will duplicate an environmental impact statement they will have to complete later for the federal government… “Rather than requiring a state environmental impact study, the Iowa Utilities Board said it will “consider the specific environmental issues raised in this docket and whether Navigator has addressed the environmental concerns sufficiently as part of the Board’s consideration of whether to grant a permit to Navigator,” the order states.

KMA: NE Groups Take on a New Kind of Pipeline Fight
Deborah Van Fleet, 11/19/22

“A Nebraska group that led the fight against the Keystone X-L Pipeline has turned its attention to a different environmental cause,” KMA reports. “Bold Alliance, a project of Bold Nebraska, is part of a coalition fighting plans for four carbon-capture pipelines in the Midwest. Last week, they protested at a conference held in Iowa for carbon pipeline developers. Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance Director told KMA her group considers carbon pipelines even more risky than oil or gas pipelines. She sees local residents as “guinea pigs” for an as-yet unproven technology. “These new pipelines would actually be doing something that’s never been done in the United States, where they are pumping into the ground this toxic waste at high pressure, and hoping that it stays there forever and doesn’t do any harm,” Kleeb told KMA. Supporters say storing carbon should be one of many tools used to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere – a leading contributor to climate change. Pipeline opponents say there’s little evidence that storing carbon underground will substantially affect climate change. They point to the safety risks of highly pressurized pipelines if a rupture occurs. But energy companies get large tax credits for removing carbon from industrial emissions and natural sources and storing it underground. Kleeb told KMA the coalition fears the tax credits are contributing to a “gold rush” of projects for this controversial process. “And I think because the pipeline companies are selling it that it’s going to ‘help climate change,’ people have just kind of shrugged and said, ‘Well, it’s better that carbon is in the ground than in the air,'” Kleeb told KMA… “Kleeb told KMA Bold Nebraska plans a petition drive for the 2024 election to let Nebraska voters decide if the companies get to use eminent domain to take people’s land.”

KCRG: Summit Carbon Solutions files lawsuit against counties over pipeline rules
11/18/22

“A company hoping to build a billion dollar carbon capture pipeline across Iowa has filed lawsuits against Story and Shelby counties,” KCRG reports. “It’s over new rules that would require more space between the pipeline project and homes, churches, and schools. Summit Carbon Solutions asked the court to throw out these rules… “County officials said the new ordinances are not meant to stop the projects, but rather give people a buffer if there is a pipeline rupture.”

Associated Press: Environmental groups oppose pipeline expansion in Pacific Northwest
ANDREW SELSKY, 11/20/22

“The U.S. government took a step Friday toward approving the expansion of a natural gas pipeline in the Pacific Northwest — a move opposed by environmentalists and the attorneys general of Oregon, California and Washington state,” the Associated Press reports. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, said it has completed an environmental impact statement that concluded the project “would result in limited adverse impacts on the environment.” “…A grassroots coalition of environmental groups said the analysis conflicts with climate goals of Pacific Northwest states and fails “to address upstream methane emissions from the harmful practice of fracking.” The Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline belongs to TC Energy of Calgary, Canada – the same company behind the now-abandoned Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. Gas Transmission Northwest proposes to modify three existing compressor stations along the pipeline — in Kootenai County, Idaho; Walla Walla County, Washington; and Sherman County, Oregon — to boost capacity by about 150 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. The company says the project is necessary to meet consumer demand… “In August, the attorneys general of Oregon, Washington state and California asked the FERC to deny the proposal, saying the expansion is expected to result in more than 3.24 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, including methane and carbon dioxide… “The grassroots coalition said the federal study didn’t adequately address harmful impacts on the climate caused by the project, including by fracking to obtain the natural gas… “FERC is expected to make its final decision on the proposal on Feb. 16, the environmental coalition told AP.”

NorthJersey.com: Protest planned in West Milford as natural gas pipeline upgrades commence
David M. Zimmer, 11/18/22

“Protestors are expected in northeastern West Milford on Saturday to rail against Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s plans to install a new natural gas compressor station site,” NorthJersey.com reports. “Representatives of environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch distributed emails this week seeking support for a planned protest near the pipeline company’s active construction site on Burnt Meadow Road. The company recently began site work in preparation for the installation of a 19,000-horsepower electric-driven compressor turbine that will connect to the company’s existing natural gas pipeline… “Supported by some union groups and industry advocates, the $246 million East 300 Upgrade Project has been contested for years by area environmental groups, such as Food & Water Watch, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition and the Sierra Club. Protestors from those groups and others are expected to gather at 11 a.m. Saturday near the construction site in an attempt to convince state officials, namely Gov. Phil Murphy, to block the project based on safety, health and environmental concerns. Protestors in April 2021 made a similar protest at the same proposed site, the intersection of Greenwood Lake Turnpike and East Shore Road. Opponents said there is still time to thwart the project. A key state emissions permit for the expansion of the compressor station in Wantage remains outstanding. There are also pending legal challenges to previously granted state and federal approvals.”

WVTF: Federal report calls for improvements in pipeline inspections and investigations
Michael Pope, 11/21/22

“A new report from the Government Accountability Office says the federal agency responsible for regulating pipelines needs to do a better job with availability of data and consistency of enforcement,” WVTF reports. “Well, no duh” is the response from people opposed to new pipelines in Virginia. They say a lack of transparency and inconsistency of enforcement go way beyond the problems outlined in the GAO report. William Limpert tells WVTF he spent years trying to get more information about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline. “I always thought the federal government was very competent and helpful, and my experience has just shattered that. It’s really frustrating to keep asking these questions and not being given the answers,” Limpert tells WVTF. David Sligh at Wild Virginia tells WVTF availability of data and information has been a problem for years. “It shouldn’t be that people have to work hard to search for this stuff. It should be really laid out there, and frankly when there are significant concerns it shouldn’t just be in some database somewhere. They should go out of their way to widely let people know those problems exist.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico: Congress is divided. Here’s where it may not be.
ARIANNA SKIBELL, 11/17/22

“With Democrats holding onto the Senate and Republicans officially set to control the House, congressional discord and stagnation may seem inevitable over the next two years — to say nothing of intraparty squabbles,” Politico reports. “… But POLITICO’s E&E News reporter Jeremy Dillion says when it comes to energy and climate policy, there may be some (narrow) room for agreement… “Those potential areas include boosting small nuclear reactors, carbon capture, hydrogen and climate-friendly farming practices… “Technologies to trap carbon emissions from power plants and suck carbon directly out of the atmosphere are also increasingly supported by both parties. A major carbon removal bill is unlikely to pass during the busy lame-duck session, but some lawmakers are convinced there will be a bipartisan appetite to boost carbon removal startups in the next few years. Some must-pass measures like the farm bill reauthorization could also offer fertile ground (pun intended) for bipartisan action, such as boosting clean energy in rural areas and climate-friendly forestry practices like carbon sequestration… “Whether Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California as House speaker can advance his party’s fossil fuel priorities, such as reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and speeding up the pace of oil and gas leases on federal lands, is another matter.”

E&E News: How beating up Big Oil helped Dems hold the Senate
Adam Aton, 11/18/22

“Republicans expected the high price of gas to hand them a midterm sweep. Instead, it might have helped Democrats win the race that delivered them the Senate,” E&E News reports. “Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto spent months blasting GOP nominee Adam Laxalt over his ties to Big Oil. On the campaign trail and in million-dollar ads, Democrats accused oil companies of profiteering from high fuel prices — and funneling those profits to the campaign of Laxalt, who as attorney general opposed investigations into the oil sector’s climate disinformation campaigns… “But Cortez Masto stands out from other Democrats in how aggressively she campaigned against Big Oil. Her victory has emboldened climate advocates to push that message harder in future elections. “She clearly … saw it as an important and winning message, and, frankly, hammered on it,” Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, the country’s largest environmental super political action committee, told E&E… “Seventeen percent of Democratic TV ads in Nevada’s Senate race tied Laxalt to the oil industry, adding up to about $6.5 million, according to an E&E News analysis of AdImpact spending data. That’s less than what Democrats spent on ads in Nevada about abortion ($10.5 million) or Republicans spent on ads about inflation ($13.5 million). But it’s more than the parties spent on some other core issues in the state, like crime for Republicans ($3.1 million) or lowering prescription drug prices for Democrats ($2.3 million)… “We’re not going to do this just because we have a nifty idea,” Maysmith of LCV Victory Fund told E&E, explaining that they had data showing this was an effective strategy. Attacks against Big Oil are especially effective when candidates can talk about climate investments they’ve already helped pass, he told E&E. “We’re going to start to hear that frame more and more, as the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act really start to flow over the course of the next couple of years,” he told E&E.

E&E News: Dems revive bill to ban drilling around Chaco Canyon
Heather Richards, 11/18/22

“New Mexico Democrats have reintroduced legislation to permanently ban new oil leasing on public land within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park,” E&E News reports. “Introduced Thursday in the House and the Senate, the “Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act” would make permanent an on-again-off-again freeze on new leasing for oil and natural gas drilling around the park, which protects the largest remaining structures from the pre-Columbian cultural and political complex in northern New Mexico. The legislation responds to sustained advocacy in favor of protecting lands outside of the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by state and indigenous leaders who say hundreds of smaller archeological sites dating to the Chacoan period are currently unprotected and many unidentified. “Chaco Canyon is one of the most culturally significant landscapes on Earth and holds deep meaning for tribes, pueblos and communities in northern New Mexico,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich. “I am grateful for all of the New Mexicans who have worked to preserve the integrity of the Chaco Canyon landscape.”

E&E News: EPA floats sharply increased social cost of carbon
Niina H. Farah, Lesley Clark, 11/21/22

“EPA has proposed a new estimate for the social cost of carbon emissions, nearly quadrupling an interim figure that has already drawn legal challenges from a host of Republican-led states,” E&E News reports. “The metric puts a price tag on the damages created by each metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. Agencies can then use it as part of their analyses of the costs and benefits of more stringent climate regulation on sources ranging from power plants and automobiles to the oil and gas sector. The Biden administration has been using the Interagency Working Group’s interim value of $51 per metric ton of CO2. But earlier this month, EPA quietly proposed increasing that number to $190… “The administration’s use of the IWG’s interim social cost of greenhouse gases has been challenged in parallel lawsuits led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both Republicans… “Agencies are currently using a social cost of carbon value first developed by the Obama administration, adjusted for inflation. Environmental groups and others eager for more stringent climate action have pressed the administration to increase that value, as the Interagency Working Group considers a final metric. But the federal government has already faced strong opposition from red states on its adoption of the interim value of $51 per metric ton. That figure is far more than the Trump administration, which used a value of just $1 per metric ton, significantly undercutting the estimated benefits of regulating carbon emissions… “ClearView Energy Partners said in a client note that it views the new estimate — along with EPA’s new proposal to crack down on emissions of oil and gas methane — as the “start of a post-election green pivot by the Biden administration.” “…ClearView noted that the new numbers align with a September estimate from Resources for the Future, which pegged the cost at $185 per metric ton of CO2 at a 2 percent discount rate. The new estimate, it said, does “not merely set the stage for tighter oil and gas methane regulation” but could also apply to other emissions sources “subject to rulemaking under the Clean Air Act (CAA), including vehicle tailpipe emissions standards and stationary sources such as electric power and refineries.”

STATE UPDATES

Bloomberg: West Texas Was Just Rocked By the Biggest Earthquake It Has Ever Seen
Mitchell Ferman, 11/17/22

“West Texas was hit by its largest earthquake on record on Wednesday, rattling parts of the Permian Basin in a reminder of the seismic impact of fracking,” Bloomberg reports. “The 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit at 3:34 p.m. local time near Mentone, Texas, according to the US Geological Survey. The event topped a magnitude 5 quake that struck just north on March 26, 2020 and was considered the region’s largest. The Permian sees more fracking than anywhere in the world. The practice uses water pumped into oil wells at high pressure to release hydrocarbons from the shale rock. Much of the vast quantity of wastewater that results from fracking is then injected underground. That disposal method is the cheapest, but it puts stress on geological faults and has been blamed for an increase in temblors in the Permian. The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, said Thursday that it sent inspectors to examine activity at injection wells near the earthquake,, and staff are reviewing permitting requirements and operators’ seismic response plans. The agency has authority to modify, suspend or terminate permits if wells are determined to be contributing to seismic activity. Wednesday’s earthquake caused shaking that was noticed by those in the oil-and-gas industry. Several drillers in the Permian Basin, including ConocoPhillips, felt the earthquake’s impact, Truist Securities analysts wrote in a note to clients. West Texas public radio reporter Travis Bubenik even tweeted that his computer monitor started swaying… “Texas state lawmaker Eddie Morales, who represents part of the West Texas region at the state capitol in Austin, said Wednesday that he spoke with authorities and there were no reported injuries or damage at that time.”

Press release: Regional clean hydrogen hub develops in the Desert Southwest
11/17/22

“Energy leaders focused on developing low-carbon economies in Arizona, the Navajo Nation and Nevada have joined forces to develop a regional clean hydrogen hub in the Southwest. The Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy (AzCaNE), housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and first introduced in May, is collaborating with partners in the aforementioned areas to launch the Southwest Clean Hydrogen Innovation Network, or “SHINe.” On Nov. 7, as its first step in developing the hub, SHINe submitted a concept paper to seek federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for key clean hydrogen-focused initiatives, including production, processing, storage, delivery systems, community benefits and other enabling infrastructure… “In September, the DOE announced that up to $7 billion is available to fund the development of six to 10 U.S.-based regional clean hydrogen hubs… “When coupled with other public and private investments in new clean hydrogen production, the hubs are expected to accelerate a nationwide clean hydrogen network and economy… “SHINe includes more than 40 member organizations with expertise and operations throughout the region, including cities, clean energy companies, gas-producing companies, nonprofits, transit companies, universities, utilities and others…”

Wyofile: Groups petition to keep taxpayers from cleaning oil and gas messes
Dustin Bleizeffer, 11/17/22

“Conservation and taxpayer advocacy groups filed a petition Wednesday asking the Interior Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to make good on promises to reform reclamation bonding requirements that help ensure the cleanup of oil and natural gas production facilities,” Wyofile reports. “Current minimum federal bond requirements are not nearly enough to cover the actual cost of cleanup to protect human health and the environment, leaving local residents to suffer the consequences and taxpayers to foot the bill, according to the groups. The Inflation Reduction Act includes $4.7 billion to clean up abandoned oil and gas facilities — a gift to the oil and gas industry that should not continue with future development, they tell Wyofile. “Taxpayers should simply not be on the hook for dealing with these messes,” Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Policy Advocate Josh Axelrod said in a prepared statement. The petition filed by NRDC, Western Organization of Resource Councils and Taxpayers for Common Sense asks the federal agencies to “promulgate rules to ensure oil and gas companies — not the public and taxpayers — are the responsible parties to plug and reclaim all federal oil and gas wells,” the groups stated in the petition… “The groups’ petition asks the Interior and BLM to: Eliminate blanket bonds for new drilling. Require oil and gas companies to put down a “full-cost bond” that matches the real amount needed to reclaim and clean up wells for any new drilling on federal lands. Include the costs of surface reclamation in bonds. Phase in “full-cost bonds” for existing drilling sites on federal lands. Ensure the reforms apply to leases on tribal lands. Update reclamation standards so cleanup is comprehensive and restorative. Review required bond amounts periodically for inflation and other factors.”

EXTRACTION

E&E News: Summit yields ‘historic win’ for climate payments
Zack Colman, Karl Mathiesen, 11/20/22

“Countries meeting in Egypt clinched a deal early Sunday that could send billions of dollars from wealthy countries to help developing nations treat the symptoms of climate change,” E&E News reports. “But the agreement’s final text also offered its tacit blessing to natural gas, a fossil fuel that’s worsening the underlying disease. That surprise last-minute addition dulled the sense of triumph for activists who had hailed the major achievement of this two-week U.N. climate summit — the first-ever global agreement calling for creation of a new global fund to pay for climate damage afflicting less-wealthy countries. The U.S. and European Union will face pressure to contribute to the fund but also want China to pay… “Only later did people read the complete final text, which had been prepared by the summit’s Egyptian hosts. That text included a message that “low-emission” energy should be part of the world’s response to rising seas and searing heat waves. The term was vague enough to cover multiple interpretations — it certainly includes nuclear power, or some forms of hydrogen. But defenders of natural gas consistently note that it produces less carbon dioxide pollution than either coal or oil — though it still contributes to baking the planet… “New Zealand’s climate change minister, James Shaw, called it “a mystery” how the language slipped into the final text, and he downplayed the idea that it would give countries license to use gas. Still, he told E&E the language could be read as including natural gas. “…More broadly, the agreement includes few provisions that would hasten countries’ efforts to cut greenhouse gas pollution or shift away from fossil fuels. That’s another disappointment for climate advocates, who say the deal may consign even more communities to rising seas and worsening droughts and storms — which will then require more rounds of aid.” Attempts during the talks to push for steeper carbon reductions fell flat in the face of resistance from large polluters and producers of fossil fuels, including Saudi Arabia and China. Oil- and gas-rich nations also squashed a push to widen a promised phase down of coal burning to include all fossil fuels.”

Canadian Press: Canada won’t back call at COP27 to ‘phase down’ oil and gas production
Mia Rabson, 11/17/22

“Canada won’t agree to add language calling for the phaseout of all fossil fuels — including oil and gas — to the final agreement at this year’s United Nations climate talks in Egypt, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday,” the Canadian Press reports. “The agreement from the UN conference in Scotland last year called for countries to move faster to get rid of coal-fired electricity plants that are not abated with technology to capture emissions. It was the first time a COP pact included any reference to reducing any kind of fossil fuel use. India spent the last two weeks of COP27 negotiations pushing to add oil and gas to that paragraph in this year’s final pact. The European Union said it was supportive of the idea as long as it does not weaken the language on coal. United States climate envoy John Kerry said the U.S. was on board as long as it applies only to “unabated” oil and gas… “Canada backed the coal language last year, but Guilbeault told CP it’s not open to adding oil and gas to the pact this year. During a one-on-one conversation in Egypt Thursday with Climate Action Network Canada’s national policy Caroline Brouillette, Guilbeault said Canada’s focus is on regulations and policies that curb greenhouse gas emissions, like regulations on how much methane oil and gas producers can emit. It’s also focusing on reducing demand for fossil fuels with policies that promote energy conservation alternatives, such as electric vehicles, clean power and more efficient buildings. He said if Canada backed the addition of oil and gas phaseout language it would prompt pushback from the provinces, including in court. “Everything we do is challenged in the court,” he said. (Carbon) pricing was challenged, our plastic pollution regulations were challenged, our environmental impact assessment is being challenged — either by provinces or companies, or both. And if we’re not on very solid legal ground, we will lose in front of the tribunals and that doesn’t help anyone.”

DeSmog: Exxon Could Have Helped Stop Climate Change 30 Years Ago, ‘Proprietary’ Docs Show
Geoff Dembicki, 11/21/22

“Exxon figured out a solution that could have helped achieve “stabilization” of the climate emergency back in the early 1990s, and then came up with a communication strategy to make sure that solution wouldn’t happen,” DeSmog reports. “That’s according to a newly reviewed 1993 document labeled “proprietary” that was written by the company’s Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil, one of the top producers in a heavily polluting oil deposit known as the Alberta tar sands. The document directed leaders at the company to stress the “many uncertainties” of implementing a national tax on greenhouse gas emissions when talking with journalists and politicians, even though Imperial Oil had privately studied the policy and learned that it could cause national emissions to plateau and then shrink without doing significant damage to the economy. If Exxon had back then used its vast political and financial power to aggressively push for a national carbon tax to be adopted in major economies around the world, global emissions might have already peaked by now. “We’d be headed down the backside,” environmental writer and 350.org founder Bill McKibben argues in my new book entitled The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy To Cover Up Climate Change. Enrique Rosero, a scientist who spent 10 years working for Exxon before being pushed out for questioning its opposition to climate solutions, agrees his former employer could have made a huge early impact in the climate fight by pushing for a carbon tax. “That would have significantly changed incentives for everything,” he says in The Petroleum Papers. “It would have been so much easier to address the crisis if we’d started then.” “…This could potentially “result in a 12% reduction in downstream revenue” for Imperial Oil, the document warned, equivalent to losses of 940 million Canadian dollars. For that reason the company came up with a list of talking points targeted to “government, thought leaders and media” that would make carbon taxes look economically reckless. 

New York Times: Inside the Saudi Strategy to Keep the World Hooked on Oil
Hiroko Tabuchi, 11/21/22

“Shimmering in the desert is a futuristic research center with an urgent mission: Make Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy greener, and quickly. The goal is to rapidly build more solar panels and expand electric-car use so the kingdom eventually burns far less oil,” the New York Times reports. “But Saudi Arabia has a far different vision for the rest of the world. A major reason it wants to burn less oil at home is to free up even more to sell abroad. It’s just one aspect of the kingdom’s aggressive long-term strategy to keep the world hooked on oil for decades to come and remain the biggest supplier as rivals slip away. In recent days, Saudi representatives pushed at the United Nations global climate summit in Egypt to block a call for the world to burn less oil, according to two people present at the meeting, saying that the summit’s final statement “should not mention fossil fuels.” The effort prevailed: After objections from Saudi Arabia and a few other oil producers, the statement failed to include a call for nations to phase out fossil fuels. The kingdom’s plan for keeping oil at the center of the global economy is playing out around the world in Saudi financial and diplomatic activities, as well as in the realms of research, technology and even education. It is a strategy at odds with the scientific consensus that the world must swiftly move away from fossil fuels, including oil and gas, to avoid the worst consequences of global warming… “Saudi Aramco has become a prolific funder of research into critical energy issues, financing almost 500 studies over the past five years, including research aimed at keeping gasoline cars competitive or casting doubt on electric vehicles, according to the Crossref database, which tracks academic publications. Aramco has collaborated with the United States Department of Energy on high-profile research projects including a six-year effort to develop more efficient gasoline and engines, as well as studies on enhanced oil recovery and other methods to bolster oil production. Aramco also runs a global network of research centers including a lab near Detroit where it is developing a mobile “carbon capture” device — equipment designed to be attached to a gasoline-burning car, trapping greenhouse gases before they escape the tailpipe. More widely, Saudi Arabia has poured $2.5 billion into American universities over the past decade, making the kingdom one of the nation’s top contributors to higher education. Saudi interests have spent close to $140 million since 2016 on lobbyists and others to influence American policy and public opinion, making it one of the top countries spending on U.S. lobbying, according to disclosures to the Department of Justice tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics.”

Reuters: Buyout firm KKR looks to sell Canadian gas producer Westbrick -sources
Shariq Khan and Rod Nickel, 11/17/22

“Private equity firm KKR & Co (KKR.N) is seeking buyers for Canadian oil and gas producer Westbrick Energy Ltd to cash in on high energy prices, in a potential deal valued at around C$1.5 billion to C$2.0 billion ($1.13 billion to $1.5 billion), two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “ Majority owner KKR aims to strike a deal by the end of the year, one of the sources told Reuters, adding that KKR could still retain the company if it does not receive suitable offers… “Strong oil and gas prices, compared with lows of 2014-15, have given private equity firms a window to sell out of energy investments, after many were left stranded in companies longer than their usual investment horizons of three to five years. A sale of Westbrick would mark an exit from the Canadian oil and gas production business for KKR. Other big private equity firms, as well as some international energy companies, have left in recent years over concerns about the environmental impact of such investments and relatively poor returns.”

OPINION

The Record: Canadians talk a big game on the climate crisis, but are unwilling to take action
Luisa D’Amato, 11/21/22

“Canadians have a massive blind spot when it comes to the climate crisis,”Luisa D’Amato writes for The Record. “We’re more concerned about climate change than people in most other countries, but less likely to want to do anything about it, Sean Simpson, senior vice-president at Ipsos Public Affairs in Canada, told The Record… “What we find is, there is a disconnect between Canadians’ attitudes and Canadians’ behaviours.” “…Most Canadians feel they’re doing their part if they do things like recycling and composting at home, even though those activities are a drop in the bucket when it comes to protecting the environment… “Canadians are also much less likely than residents of other countries to support government measures that would encourage a vegan diet, such as taxing meat and dairy or requiring restaurants to provide vegan options on their menus. Yet reduced consumption of animal products is a significant step that people can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Only 44 per cent of Canadians say they’re likely to eat less meat in order to help battle climate change. And only 15 per cent say living car-free is among the most impactful ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The truth is that such a change would be very impactful. We are also less likely to support measures like government spending that would make environmentally friendly products and technologies, like solar panels and electric vehicles, cheaper. Only 55 per cent of Canadians support this, versus 68 per cent of all respondents in the global survey, including 22,500 people across 34 countries including Saudi Arabia, India and the United States. Only 34 per cent of Canadians support giving more road space to pedestrians and cyclists rather than vehicles, compared with the global average of 49 per cent. And Canadians are also less likely than the global average to agree with increased taxes on more environmentally damaging forms of travel, such as airplane flights or diesel vehicles. It’s a depressing story, and one that shows we have a long way to go.”

Globe and Mail: How will Canada build major energy projects again? The key is Indigenous ownership
Robert Merasty is the executive director of the Indigenous Resource Network and former chief of Flying Dust First Nation, 11/20/22

“With the continuing global energy crisis, Canada is looking at ways to fast-track resource development infrastructure. For example, the federal government’s recent fiscal update provided $1.28-billion to improve its response time in assessing major projects. While this could help Ottawa in its regulatory approval process, there’s still a piece missing: The industry needs more support from Indigenous communities if it wants to move projects along quicker,” Robert Merasty writes for the Globe and Mail. “The federal government has said multiple times that its duty to consult with Indigenous communities affected by mega-projects does not equal to their having a veto. But time and again, Indigenous opposition has been a major force in stopping or delaying energy infrastructure, to the extent that Canada has been seen as a place where it simply cannot be built. But it doesn’t need to be that way. What Indigenous people seek is not a freeze on all resource development, but rather a seat at the table – a rightful share of the bounty from our lands and a say over the decisions that affect us. We seek ownership stakes in the projects in our communities… “…But at the same time, in pursuing stakes in energy infrastructure, Indigenous communities have long been set back by a lack of access to capital. This issue was faced by some communities in British Columbia when they tried to pursue an equity stake in the Coastal Gaslink pipeline. They did not raise the capital in time. If there was a government program that guaranteed loan financing for Indigenous communities in this exact situation, this challenge could be avoided… “Most Indigenous peoples and nations are not opposed to resource development. In fact, almost every community is already involved at some level in forestry, commercial fishing, agriculture, oil and gas, or mining. What we are opposed to is being left behind. For over a century, resources were extracted from our territories without our say and without our benefit. That was never acceptable; now it’s no longer legal. Industry has a real opportunity to secure the viability of projects and lower their risk by bringing in Indigenous partners.”

Center for American Progress: How States Can Lead on Reducing Harms From Methane
Elisia Hoffman, Kirsten Jurich, Hannah Argento-McCurdy, 11/18/22

“The Biden administration launched its Global Methane Pledge one year ago, at the 2021 U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26). The pledge, part of an effort to restore U.S. leadership on climate, has seen more than 110 countries commit to reducing global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. Although the administration subsequently released a “U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan” in November 2021, meeting that goal and upholding the international commitment will depend in large part on state leadership,” Elisia Hoffman, Kirsten Jurich and Hannah Argento-McCurdy write for the Center for American Progress. “…Through effective implementation, the Inflation Reduction Act alone can reduce national methane emissions by 6 percent to 19 percent. However, state leadership will determine the true extent of these reductions. Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia offer unique state profiles that represent how political momentum, methane messaging, and leadership have the potential to positively shape mitigation outcomes. The oil and gas industry has long benefited from a flawed regulatory system in which bonding requirements for drilling are incommensurate with cleanup costs… “Although the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides significant investment for plugging and capping abandoned wells, reforms to bonding requirements are the only way to address this problem at its source and over the long term… “The bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act can be powerful tools to reduce methane if they are successfully implemented at the state level. Importantly, this legislation also unlocks new opportunities for states to meet their climate goals, create economic opportunities, and protect the health of their citizens. Now more than ever, states must leverage these federal investments and demonstrate their leadership on climate. Mitigating domestic methane emissions and upholding global commitments depends on the cumulative impact of collective state action.”

Institute for Energy Research: Biden Releases More Stringent Requirements to EPA’s Proposed Methane Rule at COP27
11/17/22

“At the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt, President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the text of a supplemental proposed rule regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industries that is more stringent than the original proposed rule in 2021. The 2021 rule targets emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, rather than focusing only on new wells as previous EPA regulations have done,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. “… These more stringent requirements result in a near doubling of the economic costs, which are estimated to produce a 13 percentage point increase in reduced emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Increasing costs will increase bills for consumers at a time when natural gas prices are already expected to climb. Oil and gas companies have asked the EPA to exempt the nation’s small wells that produce less than 6 barrels per day from the upcoming methane rules, arguing that including them would be costly and inefficient… “It is not sufficient for the Biden administration to just tax methane emissions as the Inflation Reduction Act requires and to place regulations on methane emissions from new and existing wells, but Biden and the EPA have decided they must also go after small wells where the costs of monitoring equipment may make the oil produced unaffordable. It is again a way for Biden to increase the price of oil and natural gas to the consumer without a direct tax that would be more noticeable to the public. EPA’s supplemental rule results in about a doubling of the cost to the economy with the estimated climate benefits being $7 billion less. On the surface that doesn’t make much sense, which is why the EPA estimates a higher reduction in emissions of 13 percentage points for the supplemental proposal. Biden keeps telling oil companies that he wants more production and that he wants oil companies to invest more in producing more oil, but at every turn, he takes away profits through regulation and taxes, whether the benefits are worth it or not.”

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