Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

February 24, 2016

Top Stories

Oil Outlook.  The International Energy Agency forecasts that U.S. oil production will reach a record high by 2021 as domestic producers continue to realize efficiency gains in the low price environment.  U.S. oil output is expected to decline slightly in 2016 and 2017 before recovering to 5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2010 — an increase of 770,000 bpd from 2015 output.  Reuters

Energy Policy.  President Xi Jinping of China has announced plans to encourage private investment in the country’s electric vehicle infrastructure (i.e., charging facilities) and will subsidize electric vehicle sales as part of its goal to have 5 million electric vehicles in use by 2020.  The renewed push behind electric vehicles is part of a larger effort to “upgrade” the country’s auto industry, while also reducing pollution and curbing dependence on foreign oil.  Bloomberg

Oil.  Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi announced that the country has ruled out the proposed coordinated production freeze among OPEC producers and noted that they are prepared to let prices fall to $20 a barrel.  The minister asserted that market forces have yet to rebalance supply and demand, arguing that “inefficient, uneconomic producers will have to get out” of the market — even at the expense of some of OPEC’s own members such as Venezuela, Nigeria, and Angola.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  Florida state legislators have taken up a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing amid rising concern about the effects of well stimulation across the state.  The State Legislature’s proposals have been met with strong local opposition however, particularly as local officials and environmentalists warn that such state-wide measures would overrule stronger county and city ordinances that are currently in effect.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

February 18, 2016

Top Stories

Oil.   Iran has not yet committed to limit its oil production after fellow OPEC members proposed to coordinate production limits to raise fallen crude prices.  Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to the production cap only if producers such as Iran agreed to join, however the Iranian oil minister noted after today’s meeting that OPEC members “understood Iran’s special situation” given that Western sanctions have just been lifted and that he supported their efforts to “calm” oil markets.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  In light of mounting evidence that links earthquakes to wastewater disposal wells, a body of regulators in Oklahoma has asked dozens of oil and gas companies to reduce their underwater wastewater injections by more than 500,000 barrels a day.  The request marks a larger, more regional, and forward-looking response compared with prior efforts to contain the state’s earthquake issue.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  Canada, Mexico, and the United States are launching a new framework designed to improve energy information sharing and outlooks for North America.  The public-facing website — which will be viewable in English, French, and Spanish — will focus on energy import and export information, geospatial information related to energy infrastructure and views and projections of cross-border energy flows, in addition to harmonizing terminology, concepts, and definitions of energy products across the continent. EIA

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

February 16, 2016

Top Stories

Oil.  Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Venezuela agreed today to halt oil production increases as part of a larger coordinated attempt to boost prices.  The caveat to the agreement is that it depends on Iran, Iraq, and other big producers to also freeze production levels — a request that may prove too much to ask, and demonstrates OPEC’s limits.  WSJ

Oil.  Art Berman argues that the oil production freeze announced today by four OPEC members and Russia is a meaningless gesture that will result in nothing more than a temporary “head-fake” price increase.  Berman states that, while Russia’s involvement is significant, so is the lack of involvement from Iraq and Iran, given the two countries’ rapid oil production and export growth.  Forbes

Energy Policy.  In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Eduardo Porter asserts that the next Supreme Court Justice appointed will be crucial to shaping U.S. climate change policy.  The Court’s decision last week to delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan underscores just how politically vulnerable the United States’ emissions reductions pledges are; however, a shuffle in the court might help the administration’s market-based approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions survive.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

February 12, 2016

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  Canada, the United States, and Mexico unveiled a framework today to cooperate on clean energy development and initiatives to fight climate change.  As part of the deal, the three countries have agreed to form a centralized, web-based database for energy information sharing, in hopes that it will help lead to new progress in areas like emissions reduction and carbon capture.  WSJ

Energy Outlook. Michael Lynch argues that the global oil market remains severely glutted and that the inventory overhang will persist for months (possibly a year), even with a reduction in OPEC production.  As such, oil prices have not completely bottomed out and $20 a barrel remains a possibility between now and April — although prices are unlikely to stay there for long.  Forbes

Energy Education.  According to a new nationwide survey, although most science teachers in the U.S. spend some time on climate change in their courses, they have an insufficient grasp of the science, as well as political factors, that may be hindering effective teaching.  Teachers were found, on average, to spend just one to two hours on the subject over an academic year, often providing misinformation about climate change to students.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

February 9, 2016

Top Stories

Oil Outlook.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that crude oil prices are likely to continue falling due to surging production from OPEC.  New oil from the cartel nearly offset all declines in production from elsewhere in the world last month, signaling that the world’s oversupply is likely to continue worsening unless the group agrees to change course.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  In the administration’s final budget proposal, the President recommended more than $300 billion of new taxes on the oil industry, doubled federal funding for clean-energy, and called for increases in funding for climate change efforts across all federal agencies.  The final budget proposal reflects the president’s intensified focus on climate change during the final year of his term, but is unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Congress.  WSJ

Nuclear.   The Energy Department has proposed to abandon a half-built nuclear facility in South Carolina upon significant delays and a revised cost estimate of $9.4 billion to $21 billion.  The plant under construction is part of a U.S. agreement with Russia in which both countries vowed to eliminate 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium from the nations’ nuclear arsenals; if further construction on the plant is abandoned, the administration will have to transition toward a process that dilutes plutonium into nuclear waste.  NY Times

Energy Policy.  The International Civil Aviation Organization (the United Nations’ aviation agency) has agreed to introduce the first-ever binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new airplanes.  Airlines currently account for about 2 percent of emissions globally and represent the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions; the proposed standard marks the first time that the aviation sector will be subject to emissions standards, and will require a 4% reduction in fuel consumption of new aircraft starting in 2028 compared with models delivered in 2015.  NY Times

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