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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 2/7/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

February 7, 2023



  • Earthjustice: Enbridge ignoring Line 5 explosion risk, warn two engineers

  • Michigan Advance: Whitmer taps engineering executive and Snyder adviser-turned-attorney for Line 5 panel

  • Roanoke Times: Public comment session on pipeline’s path through the Jefferson National Forest extended

  • KELO: Emotional eminent domain testimony on carbon pipelines

  • KELO: SD pipeline bills get mixed action in legislative hearing

  • KELO: SCS pipeline pushes again for springtime SD hearing

  • San Angelo Live: Coming Soon: A Large Natural Gas Pipeline Across Tom Green County


  • Politico: What To Expect During Biden’s State Of The Union Address

  • InsideClimate News: What Is Permitting Reform? Here’s A Primer On The Drive To Fast Track Energy Projects—Both Clean And Fossil Fuel

  • Associated Press: Court: US needs to consider effects of drilling near Chaco

  • Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Bennet, Hickenlooper To BLM: End Routine Gas Flaring, Venting

  • E&E News: Fetterman tries to straddle Democratic energy divide


  • The Hill: Newsom calls for federal probe into soaring natural gas prices

  • Albuquerque Journal: ​​Activists say US should adopt New Mexico’s natural gas rules

  • Denver Post: Colorado’s natural gas industry pushes back on gas stove study that sparked national debate

  • University of Wyoming: UW Receives DOE Funding for Carbon Project in Pacific Northwest


  • Greenpeace International: Shell threatens Greenpeace protestors with jail and fines: But legal tactics fail as Greenpeace sends second boat and more climbers

  • The Economist: Where on Earth is big oil spending its $200bn profit bonanza?

  • Argus Media: Canada’s oil sands hit their stride

  • E&E News: Atmospheric CO2 captured in concrete for first time


  • Bloomberg: Biden’s IRA Has $46 Billion Manager in London Reviewing Options

  • Bloomberg: Wall Street’s CO2 Agenda Drives Green Bank to Quit Alliance

  • Bloomberg: PE in Crosshairs in $11 Trillion Investor Group’s CO2 Plan

  • Washington Post: This group is sharpening the GOP attack on ‘woke’ Wall Street

  • Axios: The right’s anti-ESG crusader


  • Heated: Fearmongering over footballs



Earthjustice: Enbridge ignoring Line 5 explosion risk, warn two engineers

“Two engineers warned the Michigan Public Service Commission that Enbridge’s plans to dig a pipeline tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac could lead to an explosion and the release of oil that could devastate the freshwater, wildlife, and shorelines of Great Lakes,” according to Earthjustice. “The testimony, submitted on behalf of the Bay Mills Indian Community, comes almost two years after Enbridge defied state orders to shut down the existing Line 5 dual pipelines due to the company’s “persistent and incurable” violations. Enbridge wants the Commission’s approval to replace that section with a never-been-done before hazardous liquids pipeline running underground in a tunnel beneath the lakebed of the Straits. In documents submitted Friday, geologist and engineer Brian O’Mara and pipeline safety expert Richard Kuprewicz pointed to two sources of flammable gas that could set off an explosion under the Straits: the crude oil and natural gas liquids transported through Line 5, and methane that could leak into the tunnel through groundwater. “I am very concerned about a methane explosion occurring in the proposed tunnel,” wrote geologist and engineer Brian O’Mara in his testimony. “A methane explosion in a confined space like the tunnel project would be like a shotgun blast […] This kind of high-pressure event can cause loss of human life, damage to the tunnel lining and equipment, and cause a rupture of the pipeline itself — which in turn could then lead to an explosion and fire described.” It was Richard Kuprewicz who first flagged the serious risk of an explosion in the tunnel during a hearing before the Commission last year. In response, the Commission ordered Enbridge to provide more details about the tunnel’s safety features. Instead, Enbridge has submitted a probability analysis that attempts to dismiss the concerns as unlikely to occur… “A hearing in this matter before an administrative law judge is scheduled for April 11-14, 2023.”

Michigan Advance: Whitmer taps engineering executive and Snyder adviser-turned-attorney for Line 5 panel

“With a three-member state panel down to just one member in the new year after the others’ terms expired, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has appointed two new members to the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority that oversees the proposed Line 5 replacement project,” Michigan Advance reports. “Environmentalists critical of the panel’s existence writ large signaled that they are dissatisfied with the appointments, but urged transparency and accountability among the new members. The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) is a small state panel with full, independent authority to oversee Canadian pipeline company Enbridge’s tunnel project in the environmentally delicate Straits of Mackinac… “The new appointees to the panel include Andrew Doctoroff, who will represent independents, and Kimberly Webb, representing Democrats… “We urge Ms. Webb and Mr. Doctoroff to bring overdue transparency and accountability to this project on behalf of Michigan residents and fulfill the MSCA’s stated mission, which is to provide independent oversight,” Sean McBrearty, campaign coordinator for the anti-Line 5 Oil & Water Don’t Mix coalition, told the Advance… “Doctoroff is an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School, a Detroit lawyer with his own consultancy — Andrew S. Doctoroff Consulting — and a former journalist. He was previously a senior adviser to GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder, an equity partner with the law firm Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn and a member of the Detroit-Wayne Port Authority. Webb is a civil engineering executive who is currently the associate vice president and municipal transportation practice leader at HNTB Corporation, an infrastructure planning company. She previously had a 33-year career with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), most recently as the director of the Southeast region… “Environmental groups like Oil & Water Don’t Mix have been critical of the MSCA’s management of the project, and have accused members of ignoring expert testimony on possible risks during construction. “The MSCA to date has failed terribly in its job of oversight and critical assessment of the proposed oil tunnel, allowing the myth to persist that this would protect our most precious resources, when the project is simply a diversion from the most critical step, shutting down the decrepit, dented and deteriorating pipelines,” McBrearty told the Advance.

Roanoke Times: Public comment session on pipeline’s path through the Jefferson National Forest extended
Laurence Hammack, 2/6/23

“The deadline for public comments on the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s proposed route through the Jefferson National Forest has been extended,” the Roanoke Times reports. “A 45-day public input session would have expired Monday, but the U.S. Forest Service granted an extension to Feb. 21. The move came after individuals and organizations — many of them opposed to the natural gas pipeline crossing a 3.5-mile segment of the forest in Giles and Montgomery Counties and a small portion in Monroe County, West Virginia — requested more time… “After taking public comments, the government is expected to act on Mountain Valley’s application sometime over the summer. Twice before, the Forest Service approved a permit for Mountain Valley — only to have it overturned by a federal appeals court, which expressed concerns about erosion and sedimentation caused by construction of the buried pipe. A third attempt with the Forest Service is but one of several hurdles the joint venture must clear before it can complete work on the 303-mile pipeline through the two Virginias.”

KELO: Emotional eminent domain testimony on carbon pipelines
Don Jorgensen, 2/6/23

“There was emotional testimony today in Pierre from landowners who are fighting against proposed CO2 pipelines,” KELO reports. “They are a big topic in several states right now, including South Dakota. The House State Affairs Committee passed two bills that give landowners more rights when it comes to eminent domain. In the committee hearing, landowners complained that Summit Carbon Systems and Navigator CO2 are using the state’s current eminent domain laws to leverage one-sided right-of-way agreements to place carbon pipelines on their land. “Now our family is faced with another pipeline, how many pipelines will we have to endure on the ground that we worked so hard to make a living,” landowner Joy Hohn said. “I’ve been through floods, droughts, fires and we’ve persevered through all of those, but now we are under attack, I feel like we are being invaded,” landowner Ed Fishbach said. The main bill would not allow the use of eminent domain in the case of a “non-commodity”, something that has no value and is placed in the ground. It will also deny the use of eminent domain if the pipeline receives federal tax credits.”

KELO: SD pipeline bills get mixed action in legislative hearing
Rae Yost, 2/6/23

“The South Dakota House of Representatives will take up a bill that deals with final offers presented by pipeline companies,” KELO reports. “House Bill 1230 includes language that requires a final offer to be filed in court before a condemnation trial starts. It was approved by the House State Affairs Committee on Monday. Lawyer Brett Koenecke, who spoke on behalf of Summit Carbon Solutions and several utility companies, said the final offer timeline requirement would hamper the negotiations process. Often negotiations happen right up until the court trial date, he said… “If a jury determines the value of the property is 20% more than the final offer, the landowner can be reimbursed for attorney fees and other court costs. HB1230 moves to the House… “HB1224 would have required a pipeline to obtain written voluntary agreements for 90% of the landowners on the route before it filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission. Lawyer Brian Jorde, a supporter of HB1224, told KELO it would “streamline the process” for negotiations. Summit has said it has reached about 60% in voluntary easements, so they should be able get to 90% on a voluntary level, Jorde told KELO… “The committee approved sending HB1224 to the 41st day which in effect, kills the bill. A bill to give landowners more say in keeping surveyors off their property was also killed. House Bill 1188 would effectively require a company to have an approved permit before doing a survey… “In a separate action, the committee approved sending a common carrier-eminent domain related bill (HB1133) to the House.”

KELO: SCS pipeline pushes again for springtime SD hearing
Bob Mercer, 2/6/23

“An attorney representing the CO2 pipeline that Summit Carbon Solutions proposes through South Dakota still wants a permit hearing on the project this spring,” KELO reports. “Last month, the state Public Utilities Commission set the hearing to start September 11. But Brett Koenecke of Pierre continues to press for April 24 so the project can be permitted by June 15. The commission will hear his argument Thursday. The landowners’ attorneys counter that he’s already had his chance.“While Staff has put a considerable amount of time into this docket and into conducting discovery, it would be reckless for us to subpoena witnesses and call them to the stand to testify to an application they have not had adequate time to vet,” staff attorney Kristen Edwards wrote in a staff response… “She further noted that if the commission decides to reopen the scheduling argument, the commission should reconsider the landowners’ motion to dismiss the application, too. She declined to say which side the staff would take on the dismissal request.”

San Angelo Live: Coming Soon: A Large Natural Gas Pipeline Across Tom Green County
JOE HYDE, 2/6/23

“Four energy companies have banded together to construct a large, 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline from Waha near Pecos to Katy and the proposed route will see it traverse across southern Tom Green County,” San Angelo Live reports. “The 490-mile long pipeline will aid in delivering natural gas from the Permian Basin oil fields and is called the Matterhorn Express. WhiteWater, EnLink Midstream, LLC; Devon Energy, and MPLX LP are partnered to build the pipeline that will transport 2.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)… “The pipeline route is being negotiated right now with land owners in Tom Green County’s Precinct 2 and 4, the southern two of the county’s four precincts… “ As is expected when a large pipeline is proposed, eminent domain will become an issue, as will negotiating specific right-of-way with each property owner impacted. A handful of law firms have lined up to offer representation for the landowners. Most landowners say the negotiations are in the beginning stages… “An informational meeting is scheduled in late March to be held at the San Angelo Convention Center where the pipeline owners will address questions from the public.”


Politico: What To Expect During Biden’s State Of The Union Address

“While Biden has pushed Congress repeatedly in recent months to pass permitting reform legislation proposed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), it’s unclear if he’ll bring it up in his address,” Politico reports. “Manchin said last week that he and House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) are working on a new path forward for the proposals, but they still face significant Democratic opposition. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told E&E he’s hopeful Biden will bring up what he sees as the need to improve permitting for renewable energy without significantly changing existing environmental laws, but he’s not certain it’ll happen. ‘Speeches are hard because there’s a lot of things that everybody wants,’ he told E&E News. ‘I know that they’ve heard my argument at the White House … they know that I feel strongly about speeding up wind, solar, geothermal and renewables.’”

InsideClimate News: What Is Permitting Reform? Here’s A Primer On The Drive To Fast Track Energy Projects—Both Clean And Fossil Fuel
Dan Gearino, Kristoffer Tigue, 2/4/23

“The construction of a new interstate power line near Phoenix has become the latest symbol in the debate over federal permitting reform,” InsideClimate News reports. “…Developers of Ten West Link filed their initial application with the federal government in 2015 for a project that won’t be fully online until 2025, and much of that time has been taken up by waiting for regulatory approvals… “Crenshaw and other newly empowered Congressional Republicans tell ICN regulatory approval for new energy projects—especially fossil fuel projects—takes too long and is too easily stalled by opponents. Many Democrats agree, saying lengthy environmental reviews are also slowing the buildout of clean energy projects needed to address climate change… “And yet, clean energy business leaders argue that the benefits of streamlining the federal permit process would exceed the harm to the climate… “But the idea of reducing the public’s ability to raise objections to permits is anathema to a large segment of the environmental movement, including environmental justice advocates. Basav Sen, the climate justice project director at the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies, told ICN it’s “a bit of a straw man” to say that projects are being held up because of meetings being held at the community level. The larger problem is that understaffing at the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and Army Corps of Engineers are leading to longer processing times for the permit application, he told ICN, and that hiring more people could help reduce delays… “Despite those opposing views, it has long been the precedent in Congress for lawmakers to give concessions to the fossil fuel industry as a bargaining chip to advance clean energy… “More broadly, advocates see some familiar and troubling themes in the push for permitting reform, even for clean energy projects. “Permitting reform for me, just feels like, ‘Oh, we are going to just screw the same people again, but now we’re going to do it by building transmission lines to their property instead of fossil fuel pipelines,’” John Farrell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group, told ICN. He told ICN the larger issue is that communities have little power when large companies want to build projects, and that the solution is not to reduce that power.”

Associated Press: Court: US needs to consider effects of drilling near Chaco

“A federal appeals court has sided with environmentalists, ruling that the U.S. government failed to consider the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the approval of nearly 200 drilling permits in an area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park,” the Associated Press reports. “Home to numerous sites significant to Native American tribes, the region has been a focal point of conflict over energy development that has spanned multiple presidential administrations. Now, environmentalists and some tribal leaders have accused the Biden administration of “rubber-stamping” more drilling. In a ruling issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal land managers violated the law by not accounting for the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of air pollution from oil and gas drilling. The court also put on hold the approval of additional drilling permits pending a decision from a lower court. Kyle Tisdel, a senior attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, accused the Bureau of Land Management of prioritizing oil and gas extraction at the expense of those who live in northwestern New Mexico, including many Navajo communities. “Frontline Diné communities and their allies were vindicated today in a step toward environmental justice. We will continue to demand justice, and that their water, health and the climate stop being sacrificed to big oil profits,” Tisdel told AP. Environmentalists have long complained about pollution from increased drilling, but the fight took on new urgency when Native American tribes began raising concerns that a spider web of drill pads, roads, processing stations and other infrastructure was compromising culturally significant sites beyond Chaco park’s boundaries… “It will be up to a lower court to decide how the agency can fix deficiencies in the environmental assessments that sparked the legal challenge.”

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Bennet, Hickenlooper To BLM: End Routine Gas Flaring, Venting
Dennis Webb, 2/6/23

“Colorado’s U.S. senators and their New Mexico counterparts are calling on the Bureau of Land Management to follow the lead of the two states by eliminating routine venting and flaring from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands,” the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports. “ U.S. Sens Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, both D-Colorado, and Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, both D-N.M., submitted the comments in a letter to the agency about its proposed rule aimed at reducing the waste of methane through venting, flaring and leaks. ‘Although we support the expressed intent of BLM’s proposed rule to collect royalties from vented and flared gas, the proposal does not go far enough to eliminate waste,’ said the senators in the letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning.”

E&E News: Fetterman tries to straddle Democratic energy divide
Timothy Cama, 2/7/23

“The environmental and labor communities both have high hopes for John Fetterman,” E&E News reports. “The two constituencies both typically align with the Democratic Party but often disagree over matters like whether to quickly phase out fossil fuels. In Fetterman, they see the new Democratic Pennsylvania senator’s messages of unity as a positive sign that he can build bridges and advocate for policies that both can get behind. Fetterman last month was named to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the panel charged with overseeing EPA and other environmental matters, as well as infrastructure. It gives him a perch to influence how the massive Inflation Reduction Act is carried out, as well as the 2021 infrastructure law and other matters. “Over the course of his career, the senator has been a vocal supporter of balancing good-paying union jobs with a cleaner and healthier environment, and has recognized that it’s a false choice when politicians try to pit one against the other,” Jason Walsh, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, told E&E News. The group is a coalition of labor and environmental groups and endorsed Fetterman in the race… “In the 2022 campaign, he affirmed his support for fracking, though he has in the past indicated he would back restrictions on the practice… “James Slevin, president of the Utility Workers Union of America, told E&E, “While it’s still very early days in this Congress, we are optimistic Sen. Fetterman will be a voice for working families in Pennsylvania, especially for our members who are there and work in the energy sector.”


The Hill: Newsom calls for federal probe into soaring natural gas prices

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called for an investigation into his state’s soaring natural gas prices in a letter sent on Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),” The Hill reports. “Wholesale natural gas prices throughout the West have risen to alarming levels that greatly exceed prices in the rest of the country,” Newsom wrote in the letter. The governor requested that the agency “immediately focus its investigatory resources on assessing whether market manipulation, anticompetitive behavior, or other anomalous activities are driving these ongoing elevated prices in the western gas markets.” While natural gas prices have been falling around the world, spot prices in Southern California early last month averaged about $19.40 per million British thermal units, The Wall Street Journal reported. This was about five times greater than the U.S. benchmark, which had been trading at about $3.75 at the time, according to the Journal… “To provide Californians with some relief, Newsom said that millions of residents will receive credits of $90 to $120 in their utility bills next month.”

Albuquerque Journal: ​​Activists say US should adopt New Mexico’s natural gas rules

“Activists are pushing for federal rules on curbing wasted natural gas to look more like New Mexico’s recently passed rules, as they wait for data to reflect that they work,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “The Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy group, and Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog organization, released a study last week showing that oil and gas companies that operate on U.S. public and tribal lands wasted over $500 million worth of gas in 2019, which was the most recent year with data available… “Pipeline leaks are the most common cause of wasted natural gas, but some is also lost through flaring and venting, which are both methods for getting rid of natural gas that comes as a byproduct of oil drilling… “New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, or EMNRD, is pushing oil and gas operators to capture 98% of their natural gas waste by the end of 2026. The rules went into effect in 2021 and require operators to report natural gas loss extensively, while prohibiting routine venting and flaring. It also allows the Oil Conservation Division to deny drilling permits if capture targets aren’t met. A spokesperson for EMNRD told the Journal that it is on track to meet its target by the end of 2026 and is already seeing a difference in its reporting. In the first 11 months of the new rules, there was a 36% reduction in gas lost.”

Denver Post: Colorado’s natural gas industry pushes back on gas stove study that sparked national debate

“Colorado’s oil and gas industry is pushing back against a recent study linking natural gas stoves to childhood asthma, which sparked a national debate in recent weeks about the safety of the appliances,” the Denver Post reports. “The study is flawed, industry officials say, and so too are efforts to regulate the use of natural gas appliances like stoves and air and water heaters. But researchers who authored the study for the Colorado-based organization, RMI, stand behind their findings and one member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cited recent research on gas stoves when he indicated a ban on the appliances could be on the horizon… “The study in question, published last month by Colorado-based RMI (formerly called the Rocky Mountain Institute), found that 12.7% of childhood asthma cases can be attributed to gas stoves. Nicole Schomburg, a senior director at FTI Consulting, which advocates for the oil and gas industry told the Post the study used a questionable methodology and cherry-picked its data. But Brady Seals, manager of RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings program and one of the study’s authors, told the Post that’s untrue. “The paper was peer-reviewed,” Seals told the Post.

University of Wyoming: UW Receives DOE Funding for Carbon Project in Pacific Northwest

“The University of Wyoming will receive $10.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a research and development project advancing the wide-scale deployment of carbon management technologies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. Researchers in the UW School of Energy Resources (SER) Center for Economic Geology Research (CEGR) will lead the HERO Basalt CarbonSAFE (Hermiston Oregon Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise) project in partnership with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (Oxy), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Calpine to accelerate the scale-up and deployment of commercial CO2 storage in basaltic rocks at a storage complex near Hermiston, Ore. The project is one of 11 that DOE is funding under Phase II-Storage Complex Feasibility of the CarbonSAFE Initiative, which focuses on developing geologic storage sites with the potential to cumulatively store 50 million or more metric tons of CO2, and is one of 33 projects benefiting from DOE’s recently announced $131 million investment into carbon management solutions… “The two-year feasibility study will include drilling a test well for the collection of data from these formations; obtaining and analyzing geologic samples; using the results of the analyses to create geologic computer models in which to test storage scenarios; and assessing societal and environmental impacts of the carbon storage at the site. The project also will assess capturing CO2 from Calpine’s Hermiston Power Project, one of the region’s cleanest and most efficient natural-gas power stations.”


Greenpeace International: Shell threatens Greenpeace protestors with jail and fines: But legal tactics fail as Greenpeace sends second boat and more climbers

“Shell has attempted to silence Greenpeace International’s peaceful occupation of its oil and gas platform at sea, by hitting the campaign group with an injunction late on Friday, February 3, threatening up to two years’ jail time and fines. But today, Shell’s heavy-handed legal tactics failed, as Greenpeace International successfully went ahead with plans to escalate its protest by adding two more climbers to occupy the company’s oil and gas platform – using other boats unaffected by the court order.  Protestors are demanding that the company stops expanding oil and gas production around the world, takes responsibility for fuelling the climate crisis, and pays up for the climate destruction it is causing everywhere… “Two Greenpeace International climbers, Pascal Havez from France, and Silja Zimmermann from Germany, used ropes to board the Shell-contracted ship from one of the small boats, owned by Greenpeace International. They joined four other activists – Carlos Marcelo Bariggi Amara, from Argentina; Yakup Çetinkaya from Turkey; Imogen Michel from the United Kingdom; and Usnea Granger from the United States – who have been occupying the oil and gas platform since Tuesday, January 31… “Late Friday evening, Shell delivered a court order granted “ex parte”, meaning Greenpeace was not given advanced notice, nor a chance to offer a defence. This undermines the fairness of the legal process. The injunction stipulates: The four activists on board the oil and gas platform must seek to agree a plan with the White Marlin’s captain to safely disembark… “The platform which six activists are now occupying is a key piece of oil and gas production equipment that will enable Shell to unlock eight new wells in the Penguins field in the North Sea.”

The Economist: Where on Earth is big oil spending its $200bn profit bonanza?

“Towards the end of the second world war Franklin D. Roosevelt attended a fateful gathering of world leaders that helped determine the course of geopolitics for decades,” The Economist reports. “…In return for protection of the Sauds’ sovereignty in the Holy Land, the monarch agreed to grant American oil firms access to his country’s petroleum. Building on the long-standing exploitation of Persian reserves by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now bp), the Saudi-American alliance formed the axis of oil that led Western majors to look longingly first to the Persian Gulf, then to other distant longitudes. For decades the world’s five biggest private-sector oil companies—America’s ExxonMobil and Chevron, Britain’s bp and Shell, and France’s TotalEnergies—have drilled from South America to Siberia. Now a swirl of geopolitical, economic and environmental factors is leading these “supermajors” to increasingly look not east and west but north and south.”

Argus Media: Canada’s oil sands hit their stride
Brett Holmes, 2/6/23

“Canadian oil sands operators are expected to close out one of their best years on record when fourth-quarter earnings are released, but producers will soon be focused on a pipeline prize anticipated by the end of this year,” Argus Media reports. “Canada’s five largest oil sands companies — Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial Oil and MEG Energy — combined for record production of 3.2mn b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) of crude in the first nine months of 2022, while enjoying record-high prices for domestic light and heavy crude benchmarks… “Cash has been used for debt repayments and share buy-back programmes, but each company is bumping up its capital budget along with production in 2023. Combined, they intend to pump out 3.5mn boe/d for an increase of 2.4pc year on year, while capital budgets will get a 13pc boost to C$17.2bn (see table)… “The US’ largest importer of Canadian crude, Phillips 66, has said internally that it expects TMX’s start-up will slip to 2024, but also that the market does not need the line. But an expected return to oil demand growth by China as it ends its zero-Covid policy is already boosting Asia-Pacific crude demand and is likely to reinforce Canadian producers’ desire for access to Pacific coast exports… “Imperial and its peers continue to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) plans to connect up to 20 oil sands facilities, but given the scope, scale and funding, they remain at their infancy stage. Imperial last week noted that fiscal support for CCS in Canada “is lagging”, as the US’ Inflation Reduction Act has moved the needle for what Canadian companies need to stay competitive. Domestic producers must wait until the federal budget, typically released in the spring, to see if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will sweeten the pot for CCS.”

E&E News: Atmospheric CO2 captured in concrete for first time
Carlos Anchondo, 2/6/23

“Two carbon removal startups and a major building company say they have successfully pulled carbon dioxide from the air and “permanently stored” it in concrete for the first time,” E&E News reports. “Heirloom Carbon, a direct air capture (DAC) company, conducted the demonstration project with CarbonCure Technologies and Central Concrete, a subsidiary of Vulcan Materials Co. The three companies announced Friday that they had sequestered around 80 pounds of CO2 as calcium carbonate in concrete — a first for the DAC industry… “Heirloom captured the CO2 from the atmosphere, through a process using limestone. CarbonCure then injected the captured CO2 into recycled water that was collected from washing out concrete trucks. The CO2 reacted with the cement in the water and mineralized, and the resulting CO2-treated slurry was used in new concrete mixes at a Central Concrete plant in San Jose, Calif., according to a joint press release from the companies. They say the CO2 will remain trapped in the concrete for centuries.”


Bloomberg: Biden’s IRA Has $46 Billion Manager in London Reviewing Options
Gautam Naik, 1/29/23

“Impax Asset Management Group Plc, one of the world’s largest ESG fund managers, is exploring stocks and sectors it once avoided as the US Inflation Reduction Act redraws the green investing map,” Bloomberg reports. “The IRA, which promises to inject at least $369 billion into clean energy, is a game changer for the future of ESG investing, David Winborne, a senior portfolio manager at Impax in London, told Bloomberg. Until now, the returns on renewable assets had tended to look unappealing because of the fragmented nature of the industry,  but “we have a sense that’s starting to turn because it’s now a more consolidated industry with potentially more pricing discipline emerging,” he told Bloomberg. Half a year after it was signed into law by President Joe Biden, markets are still analyzing the IRA’s impact on green assets and the supply chains that feed them… “The European Union is discussing how to counter the US green subsidy package and tackle the challenge of ending its dependence on Russian energy and rebuilding Ukraine. Options range from simply reshuffling existing funds and bolstering the European Investment Bank to additional joint borrowing to create new tools and topping up its common budget.”

Bloomberg: Wall Street’s CO2 Agenda Drives Green Bank to Quit Alliance
Alastair Marsh, 2/6/23

“One of Germany’s greenest banks has quit the world’s biggest climate-finance alliance in protest, citing concerns that Wall Street is preventing the group from achieving its stated goal,” Bloomberg reports. “GLS Bank, a founding member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, said it no longer wants to be part of the group as much bigger signatories in the US still support oil, gas and coal projects in emerging markets.”

Bloomberg: PE in Crosshairs in $11 Trillion Investor Group’s CO2 Plan
Frances Schwartzkopff and Alastair Marsh, 1/31/23

“An $11 trillion investor alliance will start requiring members to expand their climate reporting to include assets that aren’t publicly traded,” Bloomberg reports. “The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, whose signatories include Allianz SE and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, will expand the list of assets subject to emissions targets to include sovereign debt holdings and private equity, it said on Tuesday. What’s more, members won’t be allowed to use carbon credits to meet near-term climate pledges, it said.”

Washington Post: This group is sharpening the GOP attack on ‘woke’ Wall Street
Steven Mufson, 1/30/23

“Bankrolled by mysterious donors, a little-known group named Consumers’ Research has emerged as a key player in the conservative crusade to prevent Wall Street from factoring climate change into its investment decisions,” the Washington Post reports. “On Dec. 1, the group joined 13 state attorneys general in calling for a federal regulatory agency to investigate Vanguard, one of the world’s three biggest financial asset managers. Consumers’ Research accused Vanguard of “meddling with [the] energy industry to achieve progressive political goals at the expense of market efficiency.” Within days, Vanguard announced it was quitting a coalition called the Net Zero Asset Managers Alliance and shelved its own modest pledges to cut the amount of greenhouse gas emissions linked to companies in which it invests. Leaders of Consumers’ Research were surprised — and elated. “I knew we had found something important,” Will Hild, who became executive director of the organization in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit, told the Post. “But I didn’t know Vanguard would just capitulate.” Vanguard didn’t put it that way. In a statement, it affirmed its commitment to “helping our investors navigate the risks that climate change can pose to their long-term returns,” despite leaving the business coalition. Even so, Hild’s group and other opponents of “woke capitalism” are feeling emboldened now that Republicans control the House of Representatives. They see themselves as part of a political alliance that can scrutinize and possibly derail the environmental, social and governance — or ESG — goals of corporations and the Biden administration. Some big Wall Street firms — most notably BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity Investments — have publicly embraced sustainable investing, partly because of investor demands and pressure on businesses to speed up climate measures. But Republicans have promised to reverse what Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr (R) called a “cancer on our capital markets.”

Axios: The right’s anti-ESG crusader
Jael Holzman, 2/3/23

“The right’s most prominent crusader against climate-conscious investing is vying for states to spurn Big Finance — and deal with his own business instead,” Axios reports. “Driving the news: Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy says he hopes his firm, Strive Asset Management, becomes the go-to alternative for GOP states seeking to ditch the BlackRocks of the world… “Critics like Ramaswamy argue that focusing on such things goes against companies’ “fiduciary duty” and unduly allows the biggest firms — without input from investors — to bring about economy-wide cultural changes… “Between the lines: Conservatives are embracing Ramaswamy. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had Ramaswamy speak at House Republicans’ annual retreat last year… “GOP state officials have followed suit on Ramaswamy’s criticisms, from divesting pension funds to challenging ESG practices on antitrust grounds. Zoom in: As Ramaswamy’s megaphone grows louder, his firm is approaching state officials to discuss its funds and proxy advisory consulting services. Emails obtained by watchdog group Documented and reviewed by Axios show Strive approached at least six states in the last year — Alaska, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.”


Heated: Fearmongering over footballs
Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson, 2/2/23

“Last week, The Daily Show highlighted an oil and gas commercial that implied footballs could not exist without fossil fuels,” Heated reports. “The ad from pipeline giant Energy Transfer shows a player teeing up a football for a kick, only for the ball to vanish into thin air. A few seconds later, a football jersey vanishes from its display case… “Though the commercial doesn’t directly mention climate change or climate policy, it’s clear that’s what it was meant to address. Last year, the world’s largest consortium of climate scientists said the deadly, irreversible effects of climate change can only be prevented through a “substantial reduction in fossil fuel use.” Because that solution threatens fossil fuel profits, oil companies are increasingly making this argument that modern life’s pleasures couldn’t exist without fossil fuels. It’s designed to convince Americans that solving climate change would be far more painful than allowing climate change to worsen. Like so many other fossil fuel industry claims, it is a lie, designed to prevent us from imagining a more sustainable world.”


Albuquerque Journal: The time is now to diversify NM from fossil fuels
Kelly O’Donnell, N.M.-based economist, owner of O’Donnell Economics, and Ryan McNeely, Director, PFM Group Consulting, 2/5/23

“The Legislature has shifted into high gear, and it is at this moment – as work and priorities unfold – that lawmakers and the public must remain focused on addressing New Mexico’s budgetary over-dependence on fossil fuels. The moment is now for decisive change to ensure that the bottom doesn’t fall out on vital services like public education, public health and public safety if the current surge in oil and gas production is indeed the last great boom,” Kelly O’Donnell and Ryan McNeely write for the Albuquerque Journal. “…To recap, the report urges New Mexico lawmakers to utilize $3.6 billion in new revenue – coupled with a recent massive federal investment – to invest now in things that drive strong economies, including upskilling and expanding our workforce; making our tax structure more functional and fair; diversifying the economy to seize upon the many ground-floor opportunities created by the energy transition; equalizing access to opportunity for all New Mexicans; and attracting investment by making New Mexico a better place to live and do business to strengthen our tax base. The report details in great depth what New Mexicans already know: We have one of the nation’s highest rates of reliance on oil and gas, depending on it for more than 30% of the state’s general revenue. What is less apparent on the surface is that recent windfall revenues from oil and gas have contributed to a growing imbalance between the state’s reliable, recurring sources of general revenue – primarily personal income and gross receipts taxes – and recurring state spending. This structural deficit increases the likelihood of having to dramatically cut state spending and/or increase other tax rates when the current oil and gas windfall inevitably ends.”

CleanTechnica: Democrats Sell Their Souls To The Methane Mob
Steve Hanley, 2/5/23

“Methane, the primary component of so-called natural gas, is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but most people are not as conscious of it as they are of CO2,” Steve Hanley writes for CleanTechnica. “…The message the industry wants to get across is that methane burns cleaner than coal. That’s true, but that’s damning with faint praise. It’s like saying potato chips have less cholesterol than a baked potato slathered with real butter and sour cream. That’s also true, but it doesn’t mean pounding down a bag of chips while sitting on the couch watching TV is good for you. Methane is still a fossil fuel, one that helps to drive up the average temperature of the atmosphere when burned. A group of methane suppliers have banded together to form a new organization known as Natural Allies For A Clean Energy Future. According to the Washington Post, the group’s primary purpose is to convince Democratic voters that gas is a “clean” energy source. And how best to do that? Hire Democrats to tout the wonders of burning methane to fellow Democrats. The Post says Mary Landrieu, a former Democratic senator for Louisiana, told Bloomberg News recently, “Yes, this country needs to move forward on wind and solar, but we need to back it up with a fuel that we can count on, a power source, and that’s natural gas. It’s abundant, it’s cheap, and it can be cleaner.” Landrieu said she was speaking on behalf of Natural Allies, but neglected to mention the group is a front for the methane industry… “And who are these Natural Allies? TC Energy, the Canadian pipeline giant behind the controversial Keystone XL project, and Southern Company, one of the biggest US utilities… “Tim Ryan is another former Democratic senator who is now carrying water for Natural Allies… “Do Mary Landrieu and Tim Ryan really believe in the benefits of methane or are they just focused on the number of zeros in their bank accounts? They are both being paid handsomely to pitch the benefits of a fossil fuel that is helping make the Earth uninhabitable for humans. There’s a name for people who sell their souls for money, and you probably know what it is.”

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