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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 5/13/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 13, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Canadian Press: White House, senators have ‘sympathy’ for Canada’s position on Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline: Wilkinson

  • Public News Service: WI Tribal Advocates: Pipeline Threatens Agricultural Traditions

  • GlobalNews.ca: First Nations leaders renew call to stop B.C. pipeline projects as UN raps Canada

  • Press release: SUMMIT CARBON SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF $1+ BILLION EQUITY RAISE FOLLOWING $300 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM TPG RISE CLIMATE

  • KELO: Time as a tool in CO2 pipeline process

  • South Dakota News Watch: CO2 pipelines could affect the land, lives and livelihoods of S.D. property owners

  • Dakota News Now: Pipeline moratorium considered by Minnehaha County Commission

  • Press release: SUMMIT CARBON SOLUTIONS LAUNCHES NEW FIVE-STATE RADIO AD HIGHLIGHTING INVESTMENTS IN ETHANOL AND AGRICULTURE

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Offshore move highlights Biden’s mixed message on oil

  • Politico: SENATE ENERGY LOOKS NORTH

  • Politico: COOKING WITH GAS

STATE UPDATES

  • FOX LA: ‘Oil refiners exploited the crisis’: Report shows oil refiners are gouging California drivers

  • Anchorage Daily News: ConocoPhillips points to operational error as cause of gas leak at its Alaska field

  • Searchlight NM: Diminishing returns: In the San Juan Basin, small oil and gas firms like Hilcorp reap profits from high-polluting wells. The impacts are major.

EXTRACTION

  • Guardian: US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster

  • Guardian: Largest oil and gas producers made close to $100bn in first quarter of 2022

  • Rigzone: FERC Extends Construction Deadlines For Two LNG Projects

  • S&P Global: US natural gas, LNG future brightens on demand shifts, quest for supply security

  • CBC: Environmental groups sue feds to overturn Bay du Nord approval

  • Canadian Press: N.L. oil regulator releases call for offshore exploration bids after federal delay

  • Reuters: Canada, industry in talks to cement future carbon price hikes

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Reuters: Canada Banks Face ‘Greenwashing’ Claims as Oil & Gas Firms Obtain Sustainable Financing

  • Gizmodo: Oil Majors Have Found a Sneaky Way to Look Greener on Paper

  • Canadian Press: Scotiabank no longer a member of oil and gas lobby group CAPP

  • Energy News Network: DTE shareholders reject proposal to track downstream natural gas emissions

  • Bloomberg: Aramco Topping Apple Shows Oil Is King in Energy-Short 2022

PIPELINE NEWS

Canadian Press: White House, senators have ‘sympathy’ for Canada’s position on Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline: Wilkinson
5/12/22

“Canada’s Natural Resources Minister says he is hearing “significant sympathy” from U.S. officials for the plight of the Line 5 pipeline,” the Canadian Press reports. “Jonathan Wilkinson is in Washington for meetings with lawmakers, Biden administration officials and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Mr. Wilkinson told CP that while Canada is focused on keeping the cross-border pipeline operating, the government is also exploring contingency plans in the event a court orders it shut down. The state of Michigan wants Line 5 permanently shuttered for fear of an environmental disaster in the Straits of Mackinac, where the pipeline crosses the Great Lakes. Mr. Wilkinson also told CP Canada won’t be intervening in a separate court case in Wisconsin, where an Indigenous group is also trying to shut down the line, which is run by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. He told CP he hopes the issues in both Wisconsin and Michigan can be dealt with in treaty talks that are currently taking place between Canada and the U.S. in an effort to prevent a shutdown.”

Public News Service: WI Tribal Advocates: Pipeline Threatens Agricultural Traditions
Jonah Chester, 5/13/22

“Enbridge is seeking to reroute a portion of its Line 5 around the Bad River Band’s territory in northern Wisconsin. The rerouting falls within the tribe’s watershed, and tribal advocates argued it poses risks to tribal farming traditions,” Public News Service reports. “Aurora Conley, chair of the Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance and a member of the Bad River Ojibwe, told PNS the potential environmental fallout could be disastrous for the region’s wild rice fields. She explained wild rice, or manoomin, is more than an agricultural commodity to the tribe. “This is why we migrated to this area,” Conley pointed out. “We were told to keep going until we found the food that grows on waters, that being the wild rice. It’s our job to take care of the rice. We were told if we could take care of the rice that we would survive, and we have.” “…Last month, more than 200 organizations submitted a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to halt new construction on Line 5, including updates outside of Wisconsin, and conduct a top-down Environmental Impact Statement. Osprey Orielle Lake, executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network International, signed the letter, noting the Biden-Harris administration made campaign promises to begin divesting the nation from fossil fuel. “This struggle to stop Line 5 we think is really vital to protect Indigenous rights,” Lake asserted. “Protect Indigenous cultural lifeways, and also to protect the water for all of us and the climate for all of us.”

GlobalNews.ca: First Nations leaders renew call to stop B.C. pipeline projects as UN raps Canada
Elizabeth McSheffrey, 5/11/22

“A group of First Nations leaders in B.C. are urging governments to stop two pipeline projects on unceded land, as a United Nations committee raps Ottawa again for failing to obtain their consent,” GlobalNews.ca reports. “The Coastal GasLink pipeline and Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are under construction in Wet’suwet’en, and Secwepemc and Tsleil-Waututh territories, respectively. Both pipelines have government permits and approvals from many elected band councils, but neither has obtained free, prior and informed consent from all Indigenous peoples whose land they cross, the leaders say… “Representatives from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, Tiny House Warriors, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade held a news briefing renewing their call for government intervention in both Coastal GasLink and TMX. Last month, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination sent its third letter to Canada’s representative to the UN in Geneva, expressing grave concern about government approval and police enforcement related to Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink. The April 29 letter alleges escalated use of force, surveillance, and “criminalization of land defenders” have been used to “intimidate, remove and forcible evict” Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc peoples from their land. In December 2019, the committee urged Canada to cease those evictions and withdraw RCMP and associated security presence from their traditional lands… “The UN committee has previously called on Ottawa to halt construction on both projects until free, prior and informed consent — as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — is obtained… “The UN committee has said Canada has repeatedly failed to respond to its requests for information on how the country is fulfilling UNDRIP requirements as they pertains to the B.C. pipelines, as well as how it’s fulfilling its calls to cease construction and violence against Indigenous peoples who oppose the project.” 

Press release: SUMMIT CARBON SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF $1+ BILLION EQUITY RAISE FOLLOWING $300 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM TPG RISE CLIMATE
5/11/22

“Today, Summit Carbon Solutions (“Summit”), developer of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project, which will capture and permanently store up to 20 million tons per year of carbon dioxide from dozens of ethanol and other industrial facilities across the Midwestern United States, is pleased to announce the successful completion of its equity fundraising efforts, which have resulted in over $1 billion in total equity commitments. Along with the $600+ million already raised from prior investors, including Continental Resources, Inc. and Tiger Infrastructure Partners, Summit has secured commitments of an additional $400+ million, including $300 million from TPG Rise Climate, the dedicated climate investing strategy of TPG’s global impact investing platform TPG Rise. These commitments and the conclusion of Summit’s fundraise come on the heels of its recent announcement of its joint venture with Minnkota Power Cooperative that will provide Summit access to the largest fully permitted permanent carbon dioxide storage site in the United States… “The global fight against climate change requires an all-of-the-above approach to decarbonization and low carbon biofuels can play an increasing role,” said Hank Paulson, Executive Chairman of TPG Rise Climate and former U.S. Treasury Secretary.

KELO: Time as a tool in CO2 pipeline process
Rae Yost, 5/11/22

“If South Dakota Public Utilities grants a request for a later date for hearings on a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline it will allow for more conversation, said Chris Hill of Summit Carbon Solutions,” KELO reports. “The conservation would include affected landowners that would provide voluntary easements for use of their land, Hill told KELO. “A key piece a little bit more time in the process is so we can work through those voluntary easements,” Hill told KELO. “It’s very important for us to seek those voluntary easements and work through those fair accommodations with those landowners. This gives us more time to do that and to accommodate the requests they are asking for.” “…So far, in Iowa, the company has obtained more than 25% (of needed) signed voluntary easements, and project wide (a five-state area) the company has signed more than 1,100 total agreements, Courtney Ryan of Summit told KELO. But several CO2 pipeline opponents see the Summit Carbon Solutions request for an extension a bit differently. “I think it reflects they are having trouble (getting) permission on easements, at least in my area,” Ed Fischbach, a landowner in Spink County, told KELO. “I think this is another power play,” landowner Orrin Geide of rural Hartford told KELO. Geide believes an extension is a way for the company to try and outlast the opposition. “This tells us they don’t know where they want to put their pipeline,” Bruce Mack, a landowner in McPherson County, told KELO… “Opponents are worried about the safety of the pipeline and the possible use of eminent domain to secure the route… “While there is opposition and concerns, Hill told KELO, there are landowners and ethanol plants excited about the proposed project. They are just quieter than the opposition, he said. Based on the nearly 400 interveners who are now part of the legal process for the PUC process and the project comments on the PUC website, opposition and concerns are strong… “Fischbach told KELO many landowners in his area and, from what he’s heard from other parts of the state, are not convinced of the value or safety of the project. “I think Summit should just quit and be over with it.”

South Dakota News Watch: CO2 pipelines could affect the land, lives and livelihoods of S.D. property owners
Bart Pfankuch, 5/11/22

“Peggy Hoogestraat is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer and rancher who also happens to be one of the most knowledgable, organized and relentless opponents of underground pipelines being built across South Dakota,” South Dakota News Watch reports. “Hoogestraat’s path from gray-haired granny to grizzled anti-pipeline activist was laid in 2014 when she began a battle to protect her ranch land in Minnehaha County from becoming part of the route for the Dakota Access Pipeline. After being sued twice, putting thousands of miles on her pickup to attend numerous meetings and hearings, spending significant sums on legal fees and holding out for as long as she could, Hoogestraat eventually succumbed to an eminent-domain ruling that forced her to allow the multi-state DAPL oil line to be buried on her land. And then, a letter she received in the mail in 2021 — sent by Summit Carbon Solutions of Iowa — reignited her passion to prevent a pipeline from crossing that 287-acre parcel west of Hartford. This time, it was a proposed carbon-capture and sequestration pipeline that would carry CO2 across the same parcel where her son raises crops and runs cattle and where the DAPL now lies beneath the surface. To Hoogestraat and a few hundred other eastern South Dakota landowners, the pipeline plan by Summit, and another CO2 line being proposed by Navigator Carbon Ventures, are an offense to their land and their lives. Not only do they see the pipeline as an interference on their property rights, but they also worry over the loss of usable farmland and ranch land and are concerned over the risk that a leak could someday poison people or animals. They also resent the time, money and emotions they expend in trying to fight off the pipeline firms or to ensure impacts from the intrusion are as limited as possible… “Among the many opponents, some interviewed by News Watch, the unwanted use of their land cuts deeply into their beliefs that private land is sacred, that it is part of a family’s soul spanning generations, and that it should not be interfered upon without their permission or for great cause.”

Dakota News Now: Pipeline moratorium considered by Minnehaha County Commission
Beth Warden, 5/12/22

“In addition to recently serving in the State Legislature, Scyller Borglum’s long-time career has been as an engineer, first in the oil and gas industry, and now in underground storage,” Dakota News Now reports. “…This summer, Borglum will be the first speaker to kick off the Carbon Capture conference in the Twin Cities, sponsored by Summit Carbon Solutions, the lone CO2 pipeline applicant in South Dakota. “Yes, I would have a CO2 pipeline in my backyard. They are among the safest pipelines in the country,” Borglum told DNN. While Borglum is enthusiastic about the future of the CO2 pipeline and storage industry, some of the Minnehaha County Commissioners want more time to review the details. Commissioner Jeff Barth said he was initially neutral on the idea until he talked to landowners. “Basically, this is going to damage the land and endanger the people,” said Barth… “On Tuesday, May 17th, the Commission will talk about planning and zoning, which is in their authority with pipeline regulation. “That’s what we’re looking at, doing a moratorium,” said Barth. “I think more study needs to happen, and certainly, they’ve changed the routes on them a couple of times…The hazards from this type of pipeline are not clear, but the video I’ve seen of a drastic failure was shocking.” “…The South Dakota terrain and weather is one of the concerns of Commissioner Gerald Beninga. He believes the proposed pipe depth may not withstand our extreme weather, the setbacks should be further away from the pipeline, and that first responders need to receive training in case there’s a CO2 leak, which is an asphyxiant.”

Press release: SUMMIT CARBON SOLUTIONS LAUNCHES NEW FIVE-STATE RADIO AD HIGHLIGHTING INVESTMENTS IN ETHANOL AND AGRICULTURE
5/12/22

“Summit Carbon Solutions announced today the start of a new five-state radio ad campaign highlighting how the company’s proposed carbon capture and storage project will open new economic opportunities for ethanol producers and strengthen the marketplace for farmers across the Midwest. “Summit Carbon Solutions launched its carbon capture and storage project to drive the future of agriculture and support corn growers who sell nearly half of their crops to ethanol plants every year,” said Jake Ketzner, Summit Carbon Solutions Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. “The ad we are launching today highlights how this critical investment will maintain strong land values and a strong marketplace for corn in the years to come.” The full ad can be found here and will run statewide in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. In addition to opening new opportunities for ethanol producers and farmers, Summit Carbon Solutions project will also spur economic growth across the Midwest. Ernst & Young, a global leader in accounting and professional services, recently completed a study showing the economic impact of the project. The study found the proposed carbon capture and storage project will create more than 11,000 jobs during construction, more than 1,100 permanent jobs during operations, and will generate tens of millions of dollars of new property taxes that will help local communities invest in schools, roads, hospitals, public safety officials, and more.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Offshore move highlights Biden’s mixed message on oil
By Heather Richards, Robin Bravender, 5/12/22

“The Biden administration has scrapped planned offshore drilling auctions soon after calling for increased domestic oil production and tapping emergency reserves in a bid to ease gas prices,” E&E News reports. “The apparent mixed signals underscore the fine line the climate-focused President Joe Biden has tried to walk on his management of the federal oil program — the one arena where a president holds influence over the oil industry — amid a global oil crisis, as Republicans slam the White House for rising inflation and voters sour over prices at the pump… “Biden has “two masters he’s trying to please here,” Frank Maisano, a founder in the Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell who represents energy industry clients, told E&E. On one side is the “energy reality,” Maisano said, and on the other are climate activists “who don’t want him to drill another well.” Asked today whether Interior’s approach is consistent, department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz stressed that the decision to cancel lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf were “due to lack of industry interest in leasing in the area.” The White House referred a request for comment to the Interior Department. Environmentalists hailed the administration’s lease cancellations. Athan Manuel, lands protection director of the Sierra Club, said today, “We applaud the Biden administration for protecting communities from the dangers of offshore drilling despite immense political pressure from the industry and the politicians they finance.” The leasing decision is likely to further inflame an ongoing partisan conflict over Biden’s oil decisions — and who is to blame for high gasoline prices.”

Politico: SENATE ENERGY LOOKS NORTH
Matthew Choi, 5/12/22

“The Senate Energy Committee will gather next week on U.S.-Canadian energy, minerals and climate partnerships,” Politico reports. “The Biden administration has been looking to Canada as it seeks alternatives to Russian oil, but pipelines between the two have been a political third rail since Biden axed the Keystone XL pipeline early in his presidency. The pipeline is still a favorite Republican talking point, coming to embody everything they dislike about the administration’s energy policy.”

Politico: COOKING WITH GAS
Matthew Choi, 5/12/22

“The price of gas is going up, and not just the stuff you put in your car,” Politico reports. “Natural gas prices have more than doubled since the start of the year, largely fueled by explosive demand as the Biden administration tries to wean allies off of Russian energy and abnormally extreme weather this spring drives up heating and AC use. And while consumers may not be paying as close attention to the price of natural gas as to gasoline, it still filters across the economy and contributes to the high inflation vexing Congress and the White House… “Still, while it could be a political headache for the Biden administration, an uptick in prices could also help incentivize a faster transition to clean energy. U.S. natural gas has enjoyed competitive prices over the past 10 years, becoming a key driver in the nation’s emissions reductions as utilities pivoted from dirtier coal generation. Unlike oil, the administration has few options to alleviate the immediate price concerns. The U.S. is the world’s top natural gas producer and doesn’t have an OPEC-equivalent to redirect blame. And while the administration was able to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring more oil to market, there aren’t any immediate equivalents for gas.”

STATE UPDATES

FOX LA: ‘Oil refiners exploited the crisis’: Report shows oil refiners are gouging California drivers
Alexi Chidbachian, 5/11/22

“A recent investor profits report shows that California oil refiners are gouging Californians as they earn more than double the number of other refiners,” FOX LA reports. “According to Consumer Watchdog, in the first quarter of 2022, some California refiners earned more than twice as those reported by the same refiners in other regions and as much as five times more than in the first quarter of 2021. “These profit reports show the Golden State Gouge is real. Oil refiners exploited the crisis in Ukraine to make a mint from California drivers,” Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, told FOX LA.  He says for the first quarter of 2022, PBF’s profits from its LA refinery grew to $32.84 per barrel. That is double from what it was in the first quarter of 2021, $15.75 per barrel.”

Anchorage Daily News: ConocoPhillips points to operational error as cause of gas leak at its Alaska field
Alex DeMarban, 5/12/22

“ConocoPhillips on Tuesday for the first time described what went wrong to cause an unusual natural gas leak that began in March and continued for weeks at a drilling pad in the Alpine field on Alaska’s North Slope,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “The company said the leak, detected on March 4 at the CD1 drilling pad, happened during a drilling operation that put too much pressure on the well. That caused a component of the well to fail about half a mile below the earth’s surface, according to a nine-page technical report. “Pressure limits were exceeded” during the operation, the company said. The pressure increased during operations to pump diesel fluid into the well to provide freeze protection in an area where permafrost, or frozen ground, can damage pipes. The company also failed to detect and respond to the rising pressure for three days before the leak was detected, missing an opportunity that would have reduced the gas leak, the report said. “The pressure increases … were not recognized and/or addressed and, accordingly, did not lead to investigation or remedial action during that period,” it said. The gas leak caused the temporary removal of 300 personnel, alarmed residents in the nearby village of Nuiqsut, and halted oil production from the drill site. It also led to an ongoing investigation by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and an inquiry by Democrats with the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.”

Searchlight NM: Diminishing returns: In the San Juan Basin, small oil and gas firms like Hilcorp reap profits from high-polluting wells. The impacts are major.
Lindsay Fendt, 5/11/22

“ On Oct. 21, 1921, residents in Farmington heard a hissing roar as a natural gas well 10 miles upriver blew skyward — the debut of the first commercial well in the coal-bed formation known as the San Juan Basin. This stream of natural gas would transform northwestern New Mexico from a sleepy agricultural region to a community that triumphantly built itself on fossil fuels,” Searchlight NM reports. “But in October 2021, exactly one week and 100 years after this first lucky strike, a conference held to commemorate the first century of oil and gas development in the basin was decidedly less triumphant… :They had reason to be glum. Since about 2009, fluctuations in gas prices and aging oil and gas well infrastructure have pushed the San Juan Basin into a steep decline. In the past five years, all the major oil and gas companies — ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil — sold off their assets to focus on the prolific fossil resources in the Permian Basin, at the opposite corner of the state. Their property was snapped up almost entirely by private-equity-backed companies that promised to trim the fat from the major oil companies’ bloated operations and turn a profit from the region’s declining wells… “Since 2017, every major oil company has left the San Juan and been replaced by a private company with financing from shadowy private equity firms… “Between 2017 and 2021, 25 to 30 percent of oil and gas deals worldwide shifted their assets from public companies to private ones, according to research released May 10 by the Environmental Defense Fund. This change of hands has not only raised concerns about transparency; it could also have major implications for the climate. The study found that in many cases these sales shifted oil and gas assets from companies with climate and environmental goals to those without them or with less strict targets. Older, less productive basins like the San Juan are often the areas ensnared in these deals. Because these aging basins often have outdated equipment, they can have higher greenhouse gas emissions.”

EXTRACTION

Guardian: US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster
Nina Lakhani in Colorado and Oliver Milman in New York, 5/11/22

“The fate of the vast quantities of oil and gas lodged under the shale, mud and sandstone of American drilling fields will in large part determine whether the world retains a liveable climate. And the US, the world’s largest extractor of oil, is poised to unleash these fossil fuels in spectacular volumes,” the Guardian reports. “Planned drilling projects across US land and waters will release 140bn metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully realised, an analysis shared with the Guardian has found. The study, to be published in the Energy Policy journal this month, found emissions from these oil and gas “carbon bomb” projects were four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases expelled globally each year, placing the world on track for disastrous climate change. The plans include conventional drilling and fracking spanning the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the foothills of the Front Range in Colorado and the mountainous Appalachian region. But the heart is the Permian basin, a geological formation 250 miles wide that sits under the mostly flat terrain of west Texas and New Mexico. One lobe of this formation, known as the Delaware basin, is predicted to emit 27.8bn metric tons of carbon during the lifetime of planned drilling, while another, known as the Midland basin, will potentially unleash 16.6bn tons of emissions. It means the US, the centre of the world’s addiction to oil and gas, will play an outsized role in the heatwaves, droughts and floods that will impact people around the planet.”

Guardian: Largest oil and gas producers made close to $100bn in first quarter of 2022
Oliver Milman, 5/13/22

“The tumult of war and climate breakdown has proved lucrative for the world’s leading oil and gas companies, with financial records showing 28 of the largest producers made close to $100bn in combined profits in just the first three months of 2022,” the Guardian reports. “Buoyed by oil commodity prices that soared following the turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, major fossil fuel businesses enjoyed a bonanza in the first quarter of the year, making $93.3bn in total profits. Shell made $9.1bn in profit from January to March, almost three times what it made in the same period last year, while Exxon raked in $8.8bn, also a near threefold increase on 2021. Chevron upped its profits to $6.5bn and BP reveled in its highest first-quarter profits in a decade, making $6.2bn. Coterra Energy, a Texas-based firm, had the largest relative windfall of the 28 companies, with a 449% increase in profits on last year, to $818m. The rocketing profits, at a time when inflation has surged in many countries, has prompted several of the companies to return billions of dollars to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends… “Climate campaigners, however, have called the profits “obscene” and argued that the provision of fossil fuels would not be so lavishly rewarding if governments had acted properly to confront the escalating climate crisis. “The greed of these companies is staggering,” Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power, an advocacy group, told the Guardian. “We’ve heard their executives bragging about how much the agony of inflation and the tragedy of the war in Ukraine has allowed them to raise prices. These profits are going right into their pockets.” “…The wealth of the oil and gas industry also highlights how there is still far more money flowing from the destruction of a livable climate than there is from efforts to maintain it. The 28 large oil and gas companies made a combined $183.9bn in profits in 2021, a sum that dwarfs several major, but floundering, climate measures. Wealthy countries have promised, but so far failed to deliver, $100bn a year to developing nations to help them cope with climate impacts, while the largest piece of legislation in US history to combat the climate crisis, which would have cost about $55bn a year over the next decade, was scuttled due to opposition from Republicans and the pro-coal Democratic senator Joe Manchin.”

Rigzone: FERC Extends Construction Deadlines For Two LNG Projects
Paul Anderson, 5/12/22

“Despite stern opposition from environmental groups, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has decided to extend construction deadlines for two LNG export projects being developed in Texas and Louisiana,” Rigzone reports. “The projects in question, Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG project in Texas and the Lake Charles LNG project in Louisiana being developed by Energy Transfer, came under fire from environmental organizations. Sierra Club and Public Citizen in their comments allege that the companies’ delay is market-driven rather than a response to the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. They assert that the companies chose to not proceed with construction to wait for natural gas prices to rise. They argue that market-related setbacks are not the type of unforeseeable barriers worthy of an extension. However, despite protests, FERC has decided to give Cheniere more time to finalize the construction. In its notice regarding Corpus Christi Stage 3 LNG project, FERC has granted a 31-month extension of time, until June 30, 2027, from the original date of November 22, 2024… “In February, Sierra Club, Healthy Gulf, and Louisiana Bucket Brigade motioned to intervene in Lake Charles LNG’s request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend their time to 2028 to build their export facility. The groups claimed that the initial construction permit was issued in 2015, however, the project failed to make any progress for over a decade… “In their response to the protest and their reasoning to grant the extension, FERC said that Trunkline, Lake Charles Export LNG, and Lake Charles LNG have demonstrated good cause for the delay and that it will grant the request for a three-year extension to complete construction of the project.” 

S&P Global: US natural gas, LNG future brightens on demand shifts, quest for supply security
Corey Paul, 5/12/22

“Expectations are building among US oil and gas executives that the European gas crisis will accelerate the next supercycle of US LNG export projects, supporting their companies’ growth ambitions,” S&P Global reports. “LNG companies during the most recent earnings reporting season highlighted a flood of commercial deals for US LNG in recent months as supporting the buildout of new production capacity, especially as demand in Europe surges following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Natural gas pipeline developers described new infrastructure growth opportunities, while upstream gas producers touted their exposure to the international LNG market. Meanwhile, some of the giant integrated oil and gas companies showed interest in gaining US LNG supplies. Participants throughout the supply chain expressed optimism that a shift in sentiment toward the natural gas sector could ease permitting for new projects… “Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan, which transports about half the gas delivered to US LNG export terminals, expected growing demand for new US LNG capacity to drive investment in other midstream expansions, Executive Chairman Richard Kinder said during an earnings call April 20… “Williams cited the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s recent decision to suspend an overhaul of its decades-old permitting policy for natural gas projects as a positive signal on the regulatory front, as it pursues an expansion project to service growing LNG export demand on the Gulf Coast… “TC Energy executives described “a better balance between energy security and energy transition” bringing forward new growth opportunities… “Antero Resources expected LNG export growth to help support a higher price outlook for US gas, which will mainly be driven by producers’ restraint in the face of investor pressure, limited abilities for building new oil and gas infrastructure, and supply chain constraints, Paul Rady, president and CEO of the company, said during an earnings call… “ExxonMobil is looking to expand its LNG business, according to President and CEO Darren Woods.”

CBC: Environmental groups sue feds to overturn Bay du Nord approval
5/11/22

“Enivronmental law group Ecojustice has launched a lawsuit against the federal government that aims to overturn the massive Bay du Nord oil project off Newfoundland’s east coast,” the CBC reports. “Ecojustice, which filed the lawsuit in federal court, is working with Équiterre, a non-profit environmental organization based in Quebec, and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, which has spoken out against the offshore oil megaproject. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced approval of Bay du Nord — a project led by Norwegian oil giant Equinor, which hopes to start producing oil as early as 2028 — in April. The suit names Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) and Equinor.  While announcing approval, Guilbeault said the project would not have significant adverse environmental effects because of mitigation measures that will be in place. Guilbeault, who based his decision on the work of the IAAC, put the project under 137 conditions. But Ecojustice lawyer Ian Miron told CBC Guilbeault failed to account for key factors during the decision-making process. “The minister had a legal obligation to evaluate the downstream greenhouse gas emissions that the project will generate when he conducted the environmental assessment. And that he failed to do that,” Miron told CBC News Wednesday. Miron said Ecojustice also plans to argue other factors should have been considered in the decision, including the impact that added shipping traffic could have on biodiversity in the region.”

Canadian Press: N.L. oil regulator releases call for offshore exploration bids after federal delay
5/11/22

“The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is inviting oil companies to bid on licences for 38 parcels of land totalling almost 100,000 square kilometres off Newfoundland’s east coast,” the Canadian Press reports. “Ottawa delayed the call for bids in late March by about a month and a half because it wanted more time to review the process. The delay caused anxiety within the oil sector because it came three weeks after federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault delayed approval for another proposal, the controversial Bay du Nord deepwater oil project off the coast of St. John’s. The minister gave the go-ahead for that project in early April. The call for bids coincides with an announcement from environmental law group Ecojustice that it has filed an application to have Guilbeault’s approval of Bay du Nord examined in Federal Court.”

Reuters: Canada, industry in talks to cement future carbon price hikes
By Nia Williams, 5/12/22

“The Canadian government is in talks with heavy industrial emitters about ways to ensure Ottawa’s planned carbon price increases will remain in place even if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is voted out of power,” Reuters reports. “…Some heavy emitters such as oil sands producers say lack of pricing certainty has held them back from making significant investments in emission reduction projects like carbon capture and storage. They are also concerned that costly projects could be a waste of money if carbon pricing is scrapped in future… “Guaranteeing the value of reducing emissions would be a “game-changer” for investors in capital-intensive projects, RBC Capital Markets said in a note. Canada’s carbon price is set to rise to C$170 a tonne by 2030 from C$50 a tonne currently, and is key to Ottawa’s commitment to cut emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050… “Under Canada’s carbon pricing rules, large industrial polluters pay per tonne of carbon emitted above a certain sector-specific threshold. Polluters can also generate credits by cutting emissions and then sell the credits, which has raised concerns that cheap credits will flood carbon markets in coming years as more large emissions-reduction projects start operating. A contract with the government guaranteeing a minimum price would mitigate that risk, Mark Cameron, an adviser to the Oil Sands Pathways Alliance to Net Zero, which represents Canada’s biggest oil sands producers, told Reuters. “It would be like an insurance mechanism so if there’s not sufficient credit value or a carbon price in 2030 or later, companies that had reduced emissions would be guaranteed to see a return,” Cameron told Reuters.

CLIMATE FINANCE

Reuters: Canada Banks Face ‘Greenwashing’ Claims as Oil & Gas Firms Obtain Sustainable Financing
Nichola Saminather, 5/12/22

“For banks in Canada, one of the world’s largest oil producers, it’s not easy being green,” Reuters reports. “In the past two years, Canadian banks have increased the amount of sustainability-linked financing (SLF) they extend to oil and gas clients. SLF refers to financing whose cost changes when certain environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements are met at the company level but does not require the funds themselves to be used for climate-friendly purposes. This has led to accusations of “greenwashing,” with some environmental groups and investors claiming banks are using SLF merely to pretend to lower their carbon footprint rather than take meaningful steps in that direction. If the use of financing instruments that do not require a reduction in overall carbon emissions keeps growing, it could delay banks’ readiness for Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy, leading to higher risk and increased capital requirements to offset these. The central bank and financial regulator have already warned that a lack of preparedness by the banks could expose them and investors to “sudden and large losses.” “This is a dangerous path to go down,” Angus Wong, campaign strategist at nonprofit environmental group SumOfUs, which represents thousands of Canadian bank investors, told Reuters. “These are just loans and bonds and adding one word like ‘sustainability’ and adding it to sustainable financing numbers … really smacks of greenwashing.” The issue is especially pertinent in Canada, where SLF accounts for a bigger proportion of all sustainable financing than globally, as it offers a green option for the country’s extractive industries that typically cannot use more specific tools like so-called green bonds. Sustainable financing is mostly made up of two kinds of products: SLF, and use-of-proceeds tools like green bonds, which must be utilized for environmentally friendly activities. But the flexibility of the former means the financing terms can even allow for increases to emissions, which many critics say enables heavy emitters to lay a false veneer of sustainability over business as usual.”

Gizmodo: Oil Majors Have Found a Sneaky Way to Look Greener on Paper
Molly Taft, 5/11/22

“Big oil and gas companies under pressure to clean up their act on climate have a new “solution”: Ditching responsibility for polluting assets by selling them off to no-name companies,” Gizmodo reports. “An analysis from the Environmental Defense Fund released Tuesday highlights how oil giants like Shell, Exxon, and Chevron are offloading oil and gas assets to smaller entities, such as state-owned oil companies and private-equity backed firms, that have no oversight or reporting requirements to shareholders. These smaller companies are then able to jack up production or lag behind on cutting methane emissions. “Once these assets are sold, years of [climate] progress are reset instantly,” Andrew Baxter, a director at EDF and one of the analysis’s coauthors, said on a press call Tuesday. “Once you multiply this across potentially hundreds of assets a year, year over year, this is a really scary phenomenon with negative environmental impacts.”

Canadian Press: Scotiabank no longer a member of oil and gas lobby group CAPP
Amanda Stephenson, 5/11/22

“Scotiabank has chosen not to renew its long-running membership in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a move that comes at a time when financial institutions are facing growing scrutiny for their role in contributing to climate change,” the Canadian Press reports. “The Toronto-based bank — which in an email confirmed its exit from CAPP but declined to provide a reason for the change — not only held an associate membership in the oil and gas lobby group, but for many years was also the title sponsor of the annual Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium… “Scotiabank — which was the only one of Canada’s Big Five banks to hold a membership with CAPP — is a member of many industry and business associations in Canada and globally… “Its departure from CAPP comes as financial institutions are under increasing global pressure to account for their own role in contributing to climate change as funders of fossil fuel companies. Scotiabank itself came under fire just last month at its annual general meeting, as shareholders and environmental groups criticized the institution for not moving fast enough on the climate front. While the company has made numerous climate change commitments, including setting initial targets for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, one shareholder at the meeting pointed out that Scotiabank’s financing of fossil fuels increased by 87 per cent to $30 billion in 2021. According to a report from The Rainforest Action Network — a San Francisco-based environmental group — Scotiabank is the ninth largest lender globally to the fossil fuels sector (Royal Bank of Canada, the only other Canadian bank to make the list, ranks fifth), and has provided more than $195 billion to oil and gas companies since the signing of the U.N. Paris Climate Accord in 2015.”

Energy News Network: DTE shareholders reject proposal to track downstream natural gas emissions
Nina Ignaczak, 5/11/22

“DTE investors voted down an activist shareholder proposal to more fully report on greenhouse gas emissions at an annual meeting of common stock shareholders last week,” Energy News Network reports. “The proposal, filed by lead filer As You Sow and cofilers Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters and  Mercy Investment Services, asked DTE to include carbon emissions from stoves, furnaces and other user-end natural gas consumption into its climate targets. The proposal was rejected by a wide margin, with 72% voting no. It was the first outright rejection in a series of similar proposals approved by Consumers Energy and other utilities in recent months. The initiative targeted so-called “Scope 3” emissions, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines as “the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts in its value chain.”  DTE Energy has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 in its gas business via reductions in supplier production, storage, and transmission. However, it does not propose a net-zero goal for downstream Scope 3 emissions such as end-user consumption of fossil gas, purchased electricity, and upstream production emissions from gas used in power generation.  Those emissions likely account for 43% of the company’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, according to As You Sow, noting that investor benchmark coalition Climate Action 100+ calls for companies to report on their “most relevant” Scope 3 emissions, while the Science Based Targets initiative advises reporting on any category comprising more than 40% of a company’s emissions. “By failing to acknowledge nearly half of the GHG emissions associated with its business, DTE cannot be considered on a path to achieving net-zero emissions,” the proposal states. “Failure to account for substantial Scope 3 emissions creates the potential for reputational risk associated with greenwashing. This flawed methodology also prevents investors from accurately comparing DTE’s company risk and climate contributions against other utilities.”

Bloomberg: Aramco Topping Apple Shows Oil Is King in Energy-Short 2022
Kevin Crowley, 5/11/22

“Saudi Aramco taking the crown of the world’s most valuable company from Apple Inc. underscores investors’ appetite for oil and gas as the countries around the globe battle rampant inflation and fear of energy shortages,” Bloomberg reports. “…For much of the past decade, low oil and gas prices and muffled inflation allowed central banks to reduce rates to spur their economies in the long exit from the financial crisis in 2008. Investors took the opportunity to buy into the new economy built on technology as the consumers transitioned toward a low-carbon future. But the global economy still runs on oil and gas, and surging demand after the pandemic combined with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing a shortfall in supplies that plays right into the hands of traditional energy producers. Aramco now trades near the highest on record and nine of the top ten stocks in the S&P 500 Index this year are oil and gas companies. Energy has nearly doubled its share of the index this year, with domestic shale producers and refiners leading the charge. Even so, the reversal from tech to oil and gas still has some way to go. Despite losing a third of its value this year, Tesla Inc.’s market capitalization is more than double that of Exxon Mobil Corp.”

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