Energy Update: Week of January 28

Energy Update - January 29, 2019


The Government is re-opened!!!  Many of our friends at EPA, Interior, the FBI, NOAA and other agencies – including Congress and the White House -- are relieved as the President signed a temporary Congressional funding bill that opened the 25% of the government that was shuttered for 35 days. One hopes Congress and the President can get together in the next 18 days to prevent this from happening again on February 15th.

The shutdown ending gave us the chance to focus on some great sporting events over the weekend.  In Australia, Naomi Osaka won her second straight (remember her) Grand Slam tennis event while Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal to win his third straight grand slam and record seventh title.  And the NHL All-Stars shone brightly in San Jose with the 3-on-3 tourney where Washington Caps players won the $1 million team prize and Caps’ D-man John Carlson took the hardest shot competition. The NFL’s Pro Bowl also had the AFC win the all-star game 26-7 over the NFC but it wasn’t nearly as fun as the hockey game. 

And the sports news doesn’t end this week with the Super Bowl hype starting today as teams arrive in Atlanta leading to Sunday’s game.  And don’t forget this week’s PGA’s 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open will be held this week at the TPC in Scottsdale, which houses the loudest, most exciting hole in golf.  While I love golf and often mention PGA event, this is important because on Thursday, WM hosts its 9th annual Sustainability Forum - 2019 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

We are watching the situation in Venezuela closely because of its impacts on the energy industry and US consumers.  While there is a lot of uncertainty, a good resource on this issues is US Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert, herself a former DOE Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy & International affairs.  She will likely focus on the effects of supply interruptions on gasoline prices here at home and how permitting new pipeline infrastructure would make Venezuelan crude irrelevant to Americans.  You can get there through Matt Letourneau.

Who knows what the schedule will look like this week but it seems the State of the Union (originally set for tomorrow) will still be delayed and reset for maybe as soon as next week.  Also, the Thursday House Energy hearing on the shutdown – replacing the original climate hearing – is now off given the re-opening.

Other events include today’s Global CCS-Atlantic Council Forum on technology leadership at 3:00 p.m., DOE, ClearPath sponsoring the next Atomic Wings nuclear power policy lunch on microreactors and a Wednesday Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago climate policy event featuring former Rep. Curbelo in Chicago.

One interesting Item out today is a new report from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) finds significant reductions in energy consumption (at least 79% reduction) and greenhouse gas emissions (at least 67% reduction) associated with incorporating recycled plastic resin into the manufacturing of new products.  The report, according to APR President Steve Alexander, shows “the importance and effectiveness of the full recycling chain for plastic goods - a chain that starts with companies manufacturing recyclable products, and ends with consumers buying products made from recycled materials.”

Finally, as many of you know, I referee the Congressional Hockey Challenge each year and this year, the event will be held at Capital One Arena on February 6th.  The event is an annual ice hockey game for charity that pits federal lawmakers, congressional staff and administration officials from across the political spectrum against lobbyists representing a broad array of interests.  This year, we need to get a big crowd so I hope you will consider attending.  Here is information about the event and how you can get tickets.

Please feel free to call with questions.  


Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932



A special note to reporters from our friend Bill Loveless.  Feb 3rd is the deadline to apply for the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative, a program to gives reporters still relatively new to the energy beat an opportunity to deepen their understanding of markets, policy, science, geopolitics and other disciplines key to covering the topic effectively. This year's EJI seminar will take place June 11-14 in New York City, with presentations from experts in academia, government, business and other fields.  More information and applications are available at


“I think reducing carbon emissions is important, and it's a priority for us. It's one of many priorities for us.’’

Bill Wehrum, the EPA's assistant administrator for air, told The Guardian's Emily Holden at a Society of Environmental Journalists event.


CapCrude Focused on Jet Fuel – Global gasoline demand is stagnating and stronger fuel economy standards and the rise of electric vehicles could soon push demand down. But jet fuel demand is rising relatively dramatically and could soon be the key driver of world oil consumption, according to Jacques Rousseau, a managing director with ClearView Energy Partners. On today’s Platts Capitol Crude, Rousseau, a former sell-side equity research analyst, discusses why jet fuel demand is on the rise, what is likely to push it higher and what, if anything, could derail it.

Podcast Looks at Utility Asset Management – Zpryme's On the Grid chats about efforts at utilities about predictive modeling and analytics to help protect their assets and avoid disaster, but to utilize these tools you need the right data. That's where monitoring comes in.  Hosts Erin Hardick and Dylan Lockwood talked with Duke Energy’s Bernie Cook to discuss the importance of asset monitoring now to avoid catastrophe down the line, and acquire data to improve asset health. We also talk about changes in utility culture in the digital era.


USEA Bhambhani: World Bank Moving in New Direction – US Energy Association official Dee Bhambhani recently wrote in Forbes that with the White House about to name a new head of the World Bank, some international energy development experts are suggesting the shift at the helm of the World Bank may actually help the organization accomplish outgoing President Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s twin goals—to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity among the poorest 40% around the world. U.S. Energy Association Executive Director Barry Worthington said Dr. Kim’s energy policy was not rational and defied his own mandate.  “The World Bank exists to bring people out of poverty. It’s not intended to deal with climate change,” said Worthington, who is also a chairman on the UNECE Committee on Sustainability.


Wehrum Headlines SEJ Outlook Forum – On Friday, EPA Air Chief Bill Wehrum spoke during the Society of Environmental Journalists annual energy/environmental outlook briefing.  Wehrum was questioned by Guardian DC reporter Emily Holden, and focused on EPA priorities like climate change, the mercury and Affordable Clean Energy rule among other issues.  You can see the archived webcast here.

Plastic Recyclers Report: Use of Recycled Plastic Reduces Energy Consumption, Lowers GHGs – A new report published today by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, finds significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with incorporating recycled plastic resin into the manufacturing of new products.  The report - a Life Cycle Inventory Analysis conducted by leading industry research consultants Franklin Associates, a division of ERG – analyzed the energy requirements and environmental impacts of postconsumer recycled plastic resin as compared to virgin plastic resin. The report examined recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastic material recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and polypropylene (PP). According to the report, using recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by

79% for PET; 88% for HDPE and 88% for PP.  At the same time, using recycled plastic limited emissions by 67% for PET; 71% for HDPE and 71% for PP.  See more info and Graphs here.

EIA Releases Outlook – The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that carbon emissions are forecast to remain essentially flat through 2050 without major policy changes and that the U.S. is on track to become a net energy exporter by 2020 in its Annual Energy Outlook.   AEO 19 provides modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050, and it includes cases with different assumptions about macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, and technological progress. Key takeaways from the Reference case include:

  • The United States becomes a net energy exporter in 2020 and remains so throughout the projection period as a result of large increases in crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production coupled with slow growth in U.S. energy consumption.
  • Of the fossil fuels, natural gas and NGPLs have the highest production growth, and NGPLs account for almost one-third of cumulative U.S. liquids production during the projection period.
  • Natural gas prices remain comparatively low based on historical prices during the projection period, leading to increased use of this fuel across end-use sectors and increased liquefied natural gas exports.
  • The power sector experiences a notable shift in fuels used to generate electricity, driven in part by historically low natural gas prices. Increased natural gas-fired electricity generation; larger shares of intermittent renewables; and additional retirements of existing coal and nuclear plants, which are more expensive to operate, occur during the projection period.
  • Increasing energy efficiency across end-use sectors keeps U.S. energy consumption relatively flat, even as the U.S. economy continues to expand.

Quartz Coalition to Fight Potential Trade Sanctions – U.S. fabricators, distributors, installers and importers of quartz countertops joined together last week to launch the American Quartz Worker Coalition.  The group has organized in opposition to an attempt by one company, Cambria LLC, to convince the U.S. government to impose trade restrictions on imported quartz, a move designed to inflate Cambria’s profits.  The Coalition is dedicated to fighting an anti-dumping and countervailing duty petition filed by Cambria LLC with the U.S. government that, if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) approves, could result in duties on imports of quartz surface products from China as high as 341%.  The Coalition is representing the interests of more than 200 fabricators employing more than 5,000 Americans across the country and others who have expressed their opposition to Cambria’s petition in filings submitted to the ITC. The Coalition is urging the ITC to consider the significant impact of such duties on American workers and the U.S. quartz market. Specifically, the Coalition warns that duties would create huge cost increases for imported quartz and remove approximately 50% of available quartz supply from the market.  Not only would these tariffs reduce available supply and limit consumer choice, but they would also threaten tens of thousands of quartz-related U.S. fabricating jobs.

Orsted launches 2-month survey of N.J. offshore wind zone – Ørsted has kicked off a two-month survey of an offshore wind array off the coast of New Jersey.  New Jersey environmental officials notified mariners last week that survey work is beginning for Ocean Wind, Ørsted’s planned offshore wind energy array.  The 170’x40’x11’ Fugro Enterprise, a U.S.-flag survey vessel operated by Netherlands-based Fugro N.V., has been commissioned by 4C Offshore to conduct geotechnical studies for Ørsted.  The survey will be ongoing for two months, weather permitting. The Fugro Enterprise, homeported at Port Fourchon, La., has been employed in offshore wind work before, notably for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, which is now part of Ørsted’s portfolio.

DOE, ClearPath Officials Tapped as Nuclear Leaders – Former senior George W. Bush DOE officials and ClearPath’s Managing Director for Policy Jeremy Harrell have ascended to leadership positions at top nuclear power industry efforts.  Former Under Secretary of Energy Bud Albright is the new chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council, while Jeremy has been elected vice chair by US NIC’s board. Albright, also a former House Energy and Commerce Committee staff director and counsel to the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Affairs, is currently CEO of the government relations firm Albright Strategies.  Jeremy joined ClearPath in April 2017 to direct our policy team and was an aide to Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio).  Meanwhile, former Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell has been named CEO of advanced nuclear reactor developer X-energy. Sell was also special assistant to Bush and was a senior aide on the Senate Appropriations Committee and for Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). X-energy is working on a design for a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor that could be built faster, use factory-produced parts and be walk-away safe without operator intervention.

BP Invests In New Artificial Intelligence Technology – BP Ventures has invested $5 million in Belmont Technology’s Series A financing to further bolster BP’s artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities in its Upstream business. The investment supports BP’s ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its global oil and gas business.  The Houston technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI.  The platform has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’. BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets.  Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.  Aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modelling, the technology is targeting a 90% time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation.


Global CCS to Launches Report – The Global CCS Institute and the Atlantic Council will hold a special US launch of the Global CCS Institute’s signature publication, The Global Status of CCS, today at 3.00 p.m. in the Atlantic Council Headquarters.  The report was first presented at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.   DOE’s Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy Steven Winberg offers Keynote remarks.  Other speakers include Equinor’s Geir Westgaard and National Energy Technology Laboratory manager Lynn Brickett.

WM Phoenix Open – The Greenest Show on Grass, the PGA’s 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open will be held this week at the TPC in Scottsdale, which houses the loudest and most exciting hole in golf.  While I love golf and often mention PGA event, this is important because on Thursday, WM hosts its 9th annual Sustainability Forum - 2019 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. National Geographic will take center stage at the Forum, exploring solutions for “Plastic Waste in the Environment.” The Forum will also examine “Cities of the Future” through panel discussions and presentations. The WM Sustainability Forum is free to attend, but pre-registration is required.  Waste Management created the Sustainability Forum in 2011 as a collaborative space for corporate leaders, government leaders, experts, innovators and influencers to share insights and exchange ideas.

Iowa Ethanol Summit Set – The 2019 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be held in Altoona, Iowa tomorrow. Experts will offer their perspective on how biofuels will fit into future petroleum markets, the role for biofuels in meeting global clean air policies and overcoming trade and policy hurdles to market growth.  Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will be among the speakers.

Forum to Look at Alberta Oil Production – The Johns Hopkins SAIS will host an event at Noon tomorrow on Alberta’s short-term oil production curtailment which it estimates will costing the Canadian economy more than C$80 million per day. The reduction of 325,000 barrels per day of raw crude or bitumen began January 1, 2019 and will remain in place until oil storage levels decline.  Liam Stone, from the Government of Alberta's Washington Office will present and explain the government’s policy, followed by an expert panel discussion featuring Andrew Stanley and Jesse Barnett (SAIS ’17) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Energy and National Security Program and Dr. Charles Doran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations. Dr. Christopher Sands, Senior Research Professor and Director of the Center for Canadian Studies will introduce and moderate the panel.

Forum to Look at Pipeline Issues – AECOM and the Environmental Law Institute hold an Energy & Environment forum tomorrow at AECOM’s Wilson Blvd offices on the challenges in a changing energy world. Leading experts will explore these changes and challenges in energy transmission, environmental protection and compliance, permitting challenges and solutions implemented, and more, with a special focus on pipelines. AECOM’s Bernie Holcomb, FERC’s Annie Jones, ELI’s James M. McElfish and Chris Miller of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

DOE, ClearPath to Look at MicroReactors – The Department of Energy and ClearPath sponsor the next Atomic Wings nuclear power policy lunch tomorrow featuring discussion on microreactors. Speakers will be announced.

State of the Union Address – Not Happening….

EPIC Event Looks at Climate, Energy Policy – Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago will hold an event on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Chicago looking at energy/climate policy in the new Congress. Democratic members have promised to propose a Green New Deal that they claim would support job growth and reduced carbon emissions. Meanwhile, House leadership is considering revisiting cap-and-trade legislation passed in 2009 that narrowly failed in the Senate. And, despite Republicans’ historical opposition to most climate policies, nascent support for a carbon tax by several members in the Climate Solutions Caucus was one of the few bright spots in U.S. climate policy in 2018.  EPIC and a distinguished panel of political and policy leaders as we discuss the dynamics at play in the new Congress.  Speakers include former ep. Carlos Curbelo, EPIC’s Michael Greenstone, former Senate Energy Staff McKie Campbell and former DOE official Melanie Kenderdine.  Our friend Amy Harder moderates.

Columbia Book Forum to Look at Oil Kingdoms – On Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy launches a new book on "Energy Kingdoms: Oil and Political Survival in the Persian Gulf.” The book is the next in the Center on Global Energy Policy Series published by the Columbia University Press. Author Jim Krane of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy traces the history of the Gulf States’ energy use and policies, looking in particular at how energy subsidies have distorted demand. Krane expertly lays out the hard choices that Gulf leaders face to keep petro-states viable in a world increasingly focused on combating climate change.  Following Dr. Krane’s presentation, he will join Robert McNally, President of Rapidan Energy Group and non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Dr. Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy and Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution, on a panel moderated by Jonathan Elkind, Fellow and Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy.

Webinar to Preview CERAWeek – After a tumultuous year for the energy industry, CERAWeek 2019 looks ahead with a focus on the responses to the collapse in oil prices, fractious geopolitics, evolving disruptive technologies and emerging competitors. This year’s theme – New World of Rivalries: Reshaping the Energy Future will hone in on the changing forces at work impacting the energy sector.  This will be highlighted in a webinar discussion on Thursday at 9:00 am EST with Daniel Yergin and Carlos Pascual in conversation with Atul Arya.  The groups will preview and share insights into some of the many topics to be discussed at CERAWeek 2019 in Houston, Texas on March 11-15.

CANCELLED – House Energy to Look at Shutdown in First Hearing – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will NOT hold a hearing on the shutdown's impacts to federal agencies within its jurisdiction on Thursday.

WRI to Look at Paris Goals – The World Resources Institute holds a seminar on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. to explore challenges, opportunities, and country examples that governments can consider using to ensure they deliver on the 2030 Agenda and the Paris goals.


Senate Environment to Vote on Wheeler – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a business meeting on February 5th to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be EPA administrator.

Moniz, Yergin Headline POLITICO Innovation Forum – On Tuesday February 6th at 8:30 a.m., POLITICO hosts a high-level conversation on the opportunities and challenges ahead on policy and investment in clean energy innovation at the Mayflower Hotel.  Former Energy Secretary Moniz and IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin will offer views on the landscape facing clean energy Innovation.  That will be followed

ACORE Webinar Looks at Offshore Wind – ACORE hosts a State of the Industry Webinar on Wednesday February 6th at Noon to offer the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.  The webinar is part of a quarterly series produced in partnership between ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and will feature a quarterly market update and a discussion of key issues in financing U.S. offshore wind development. Offshore wind projects could be a major element in the growth of U.S. renewable energy over the next decade, yet significant questions remain about the financing of these large, capital-intensive projects. The U.S. has seen a recent wave of major offshore wind project announcements, with 28 projects, totaling more than 25 GW, now in the project pipeline. Even as European banks, investors and capital markets have become increasingly comfortable with offshore wind as an asset class overseas, U.S. markets present new challenges.  Speaker include ACORE’s Todd Foley and Greg Wetstone; BNEF’s Ethan Zindler and Tom Harris; and Stanford’s Dan Reicher and Citigroup’s Marshal Salant.

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency – Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hold a forum on February 8th providing a "101" briefing about federal programs that reduce housing and energy cost burdens for people in need. National policy experts who interact closely with state and local organizations will provide an overview of key programs, including statutory authority and appropriations, and how they impact the lives of recipients. Panelists will discuss how energy efficiency services result in lower home energy bills, which is critical for low-income families that spend a greater percentage of their income on energy. NASEO head David Terry is among the speakers.

Ethanol Conference Set – The RFA’s National Ethanol Conference is set for the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando from February 11th to 13th.   Speakers include former Senate Leader Tom Daschle, analyst Philip Verleger, The Circus co-Hosts John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon, among others.

BCSE, Bloomberg to Release 2019 Sustainable Energy Factbook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release the 2019 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook on Wednesday morning, February 13th at BNEF offices in DC.  The Factbook provides up-to-date, accurate market information about the broad range of industries — energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy— that are contributing to the country’s move towards cleaner energy production and more efficient energy usage.

Forum to Look at Central American Power Markets – The US Energy Assn holds a forum on Wednesday February 13th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the key policies and lessons learned from Central American Power Markets. The authors, Juan A.B. Belt and Silvia Alvarado de Córdoba, will present their analysis of the power sector reforms that have taken place in Central America countries and will identify measures to increase the efficiency of the region’s power markets. The paper focuses on the use of competitive bidding (auctions) for power and discusses the issues around the functioning of the Regional Central American Interconnected Market (Mercado Eléctrico Regional or MER). The authors argue that given the size of the Central American markets, their level of development, and the socioeconomic environment they face, lessons from those countries can be applicable to a wide range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Oil Challenges – On Thursday, February 21st between 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic & International Studies will host a group of experts to discuss the outlook for global oil markets. Looming questions on the weakening of the global economy, the impacts of trade disputes, prospects for continued U.S. production growth given volatile prices, productivity challenges, cash flow constraints, evolving bottlenecks and export capacity, crude quality and regulatory challenges (RFS and IMO), and renewed call for a green energy transformation continue to plague investors and strategic planners alike.  Speakers will include ClearView’s Kevin Book, analyst Rusty Braziel, Wood-MacKenzie’s Ann-Louise Hittle and Michael Wittner of Société Générale, among others.

Forum on Storage Set for SF – The 12th annual Storage Week will be held on February 25-27 in San Francisco at the Hotel Kabuki.  The event is the development and finance business hub at the forefront of behind-the-meter and grid-connected storage system deployments. This year, the event takes a deep dive into structuring both standalone and co-located storage projects, and assesses the opportunities emerging in states, new rules in organized markets and the needs of new customer classes.

CSIS to Host BP Outlook – On Wednesday, February 27th at 10:30 a.m., CSIS will host the U.S. launch of 2019 BP Energy Outlook with Spencer Dale, group chief economist of BP.  The global energy system faces a challenge to provide significantly more energy while simultaneously reducing emissions.  What forces are shaping the energy transition through 2040?  The Outlook outlines BP’s view on future of global energy demand―and the global energy transition―by exploring four scenarios through three lenses: sector, region, and fuel.  Dale will present the scenarios of the Outlook, followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw.

AWEA Members to Go to Capitol Hill – On March 5-6, AWEA will hold Wind Power on Capitol Hill, which brings companies to Washington, D.C. to meet their representatives in the House and Senate.  The event is an opportunity for AWEA members and others who want to help advance wind energy to participate in advocacy training and then put that training to work to educate legislators and their staff on the wind industry’s top policy initiatives at the federal level.