Did The U.S. Become The World’s Top Oil Producer Under President Trump?

MIDLAND, TX - JULY 29: President Donald Trump speaks to city officials and employees of Double Eagle ... [+] Energy on the site of an active oil rig on July 29, 2020 in Midland, Texas. Trump began his visit to the Permian Basin at a fundraising event in Odessa and concluded his visit in Midland to discuss his energy policies and tour the oil rig. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

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As the presidential election approaches, I am increasingly seeing claims that President Trump put the U.S. back on top as the world’s leading oil producer. So, let’s take a closer look.

Here is a 2013 article from the Daily Mail announcing the U.S. as the world’s top oil producer:

U.S. has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer on jump in output from shale

You can find plenty of articles from 2013 and 2014 announcing that the U.S. had regained the position as the world’s top oil producer. So what is the basis for making the claim that President Trump put the U.S. back on top? Allow me to explain.

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Devon Energy Absorbs WPX In Oil Industry ‘Merger Of Equals’

Devon Energy Tower dominates the Oklahoma City skyline.

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In what’s being billed as a merger of equals, Devon Energy DVN will acquire WPX Energy in an all-stock deal that gives WPX shareholders five out of 12 board seats and .5165 Devon shares for each of theirs, amounting to 43% of “New Devon.” 

With a combined capital structure involving $6 billion in debt against $6 billion in equity, and daily production volumes of roughly 525,000 barrels per day of oil (and natural gas equivalents), the new Devon will be bigger than Apache Corp APA and Marathon Oil MRO , and just a notch below EOG Resources EOG

The deal, first rumored over the weekend, comes on the heels of Chevron’s CVX takeover of Noble Corp. NE , and features a popular new recipe for consolidating America’s beleaguered oilpatch — the stock-for-stock deal gives WPX just a 3% premium. In a ringing endorsement, Devon shares closed up 11% Monday, while WPX was up 16% (both issues are down by more than 2/3rds YTD).

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More consolidation has to happen, because without it companies will keep shrinking and disappear. With oil prices too low to incentivize new investment, companies have all but stopped drilling and fracking new wells. Devon cut Capex early in the down cycle, and has watched production volumes drop 40% since 2018. The flip side is that when you stop drilling suddenly cash begins to build up. Devon’s cash pile has grown to $1.5 billion.

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California Won’t Achieve Its New Zero-Emission Vehicle Goal Until Multi-Unit Dwellers Can Access Electric Vehicle Charging

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring the exclusive sale of zero-emission passenger vehicles (ZEVs) starting in 2035. This executive order raises the state’s ambition to reduce transportation emissions and other harmful pollutants, but the state will likely miss this goal unless all Californians can gain access to electric vehicle (EV) charging.

As it stands, few people in apartments or condominiums can access EV charging. Roughly 90% of California’s chargers are located at homes overall, but as few as 18% are located at multi-unit dwellings (MUDs). Nearly 50% of Californians live in MUDs, meaning the state urgently needs policies to scale EV charging access to all residents.

Energy Innovation modeling found if California is on track to reach the 100% light-duty ZEV sales target in 2035, it will have 9 million passenger battery electric vehicles on the road by 2030. These ZEVs will cumulatively reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 42 million metric tons by 2030, with even larger climate benefits as the state reaches the 100% sales target in 2035, setting the path to a 100% ZEV fleet by 2050.

Transportation electrification is also a vital public health protection; a recent American Lung Association report found $22 billion in annual public health benefits via widespread transportation electrification across California.

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China Takes Up Mantle Of Climate Leadership, Corporates Follow Suit

Solar panels and wind turbines in China's Hebei Province. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty ... [+] Images)

Visual China Group via Getty Images

Last week’s Climate Week NYC was unusual for a number of reasons – like many such events in 2020, it was virtual, for a start. But also, despite the string of eye-catching announcements that the event habitually brings, the biggest news for the climate happened away from the conference.

In a shock move that didn’t get the attention it deserved because of the noise from the US political scene, China, the world’s largest emitter and the dominant user of coal to generate electricity, committed at the UN General Assembly to ensure that its emissions will peak by 2030 and that it would become carbon-neutral by 2060.

As yet, there are no details about how the country will achieve these goals, but they mark a significant shift in policy for China, which has long claimed that as a developing nation it should not face the same restrictions on emissions that industrialised nations do even though it produces 28% of global emissions. As the New York Times NYT says, “China is now pledging to lead by example, setting itself goals befitting a country that aspires to be a superpower”.

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This is hugely significant in itself – scientists calculate that meeting these targets could avoid 0.25°C of temperature rises – but it also removes one of the main arguments for not acting that climate sceptics often employ; namely that there is no point – and it is not fair – if we reduce our emissions because China is increasing its carbon pollution. It will increase pressure on the US to reconsider its plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement if President Trump is re-elected, but also ensures that climate action will remain a dominant theme in the global economy even if he does.

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California Will Ban New Gasoline Cars By 2035. The Grid Will Handle It

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: A view of Tesla Superchargers on September 23, 2020 in ... [+] Petaluma, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board to establish regulations that would require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Sales of internal combustion engines would be banned in the state after 2035. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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California’s governor Gavin Newsom declared last week that the sale of new gasoline/diesel powered cars will be forbidden starting in 2035. This follows similar initiatives in Germany and several other countries, but is a first for the USA. Is it practical to go all electric in just 15 years?

Gasoline cars will still exist after 2035, of course. Used cars will be around for decades, and people will be able to buy new cars outside the state and bring them in, though that may get curtailed with time. Even before 2035, many people feel you would be crazy to want one, though. Electric cars are already considerably superior in performance for those who demand zoom-zoom. They are much cheaper to run and maintain. They currently cost more to buy, and people who don’t own them imagine there is a problem with the range and recharging.

Last week, Elon Musk promised that Tesla will sell a nice EV for $25,000 in just 3 years. While he might not keep that exact promise, it’s clear that by 2035, it will actually be even better than that. Possibly much better — minimalist EVs already sell for only $5,000 in China. (I’m an investor in a company developing a specialized EV aimed at a $6,500 price without subsidy.) In addition, by 2035 there will be a whole generation of used EVs on the market at very attractive price points. Collectors of old-style gasoline cars will still want those, but they won’t be banned.

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As I noted above, people who don’t own them imagine range is a problem. People who do own them learn that with the modern cars with 200 miles of range or more, range is not the problem they imagined before they bought (for everyday urban driving.) Today, one caveat must be placed on this — you need to have charging at home, where you park your car, or at work. Today, EV use is not nearly so convenient for those who can’t do either of those, such as those who live in rental property or park on the street. That’s today, though. In 15 years, there is plenty of time to fix that problem with a variety of solutions, including getting charging in rental units and commuter parking lots, and even in some cases on the street.

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COVID-19 Kills More Americans Every Week Than All Radiation Deaths In World History

Surgical nurse Lt Natasha McClinton prepares a patient in the intensive care unit aboard the U.S. ... [+] hospital ship USNS Comfort. The ship has cared for critical and non-critical patients in support of the U.S. Northern Command's Defense Support of Civil Authorities as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Navy 2nd Class Sara Eshleman

The extraordinary death rate from Covid-19 hasn’t penetrated many people’s awareness, so a little perspective is warranted.

Because of our pathetic response to the pandemic, as of this writing, over 205,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, primarily from the deadly uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response of our body’s own immune system, known as a cytokine storm.

Compare that number to the biggest killers in our society, and also to those that generate the most fear, but don’t kill that many Americans (table below). Note these are generally behavioral causes, e.g., smoking doesn’t kill you directly, it causes health effects like heart disease, emphysema or cancer that actually does the killing. But these examples are things that people can choose to do, or be, to varying degrees.

Averaging over a recent 5-year period to smooth out the short-term variability (some of these numbers change quite a bit year to year), some of the big killers are:

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Wingsail Technology Uses Wind To Reduce Ships’ Emissions By 30%

Wingsail ferry

Bound4Blue

Shipowners and operators may be able to decrease their fuel-related costs and pollutant emissions up to 30%, thanks to a new system created by Bound4blue.

The Spanish company aims at delivering automated wind assisted propulsion systems (also called wingsails) that can be integrated onto a wide range of vessels. The project was founded by Cristina Aleixendri, David Ferrer and José Miguel Bermúdez.

“The three of us are aeronautical engineers, which clearly served as the foundation of the technology developed,” Bermúdez says. “We found soft sails installed in sailing boats or yachts, but none in commercial vessels. We believed we could apply our knowledge in aeronautics to build a high-lift device for the shipping industry adapted to its requirements, that could be the solution to the two showstopper challenges they are facing: high fuel operating expenses and emissions reduction pressure from international entities.”

Before Bound4blue, the co-founders worked on the design, manufacture and launch of scientific capsules to space, the construction of efficient wind towers, and the deployment of Geodetic Quality Sea-Ice drift buoys in the Arctic. They have been featured amongst the 30 brightest industry European entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Forbes.

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Fact-Checking President Trump’s Ethanol And Oil Production Claims

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 24: President Donald Trump speaks during his, 'The Great American ... [+] Comeback Rally', at Cecil Airport on September 24, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. President Trump continues to campaign against Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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This week at a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Florida, President Trump made a puzzling claim. Near the end of a story about Kamala Harris, Trump said “The great state of Iowa — where I made ethanol possible for them...”

I can’t even begin to understand what that means, but let’s review some ethanol history.

The ethanol industry was kicked into high gear in the U.S. with the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS was first passed into law with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and it was subsequently expanded in 2007 (both under President Bush). The RFS established quotas of renewable fuels that had to be blended into the fuel supply, and an enforcement mechanism to ensure those quotas were met.

The RFS resulted in an explosion of ethanol production in the U.S. When the RFS was passed, the U.S. produced under 4 billion gallons of ethanol. By 2008, President Bush’s last year in office, ethanol production had more than doubled to over 9 billion gallons.

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Gavin Newsom’s Energy Hubris Relates Directly To “Peak Oil” Predictions

On the hood of an electric car, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs an executive order requiring all ... [+] new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035 after a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Cal Expo in Sacramento. (Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Three big oil and gas-related stories this week were all interrelated with one another, though few really understand that to be the case. Those stories were:

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders to ban fracking in his state and to establish a goal to eliminate gas-and-diesel-powered vehicles by 2035;The study by British oil giant BP implying that the world may have reached “peak oil” demand in late 2019; andThe forecast released on Friday by U.S. giant ConocoPhillips COP projecting that global crude demand will in fact recover to pre-COVID demand levels relatively quickly and continue to grow from there for the foreseeable future.

For Governor Newsom, banning hydraulic fracturing - or “fracking” as it has come to be called - in his state is a relatively simple matter in what has become, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state. All he has to do is convince his overwhelming majorities in both houses of California’s state assembly to pass a bill mandating that all fracking operations cease within the state’s borders by a date certain.

Such a move would of course eliminate thousands of oil and gas-related jobs in the state, but most of those are concentrated in Republican Kern County and the surrounding parts of the Central Valley, over which the assembly’s Democrats would have little concern. Besides, they can all just respond to Republican and industry complaints with the Obama-era pretense that all those lost jobs and more will be made up by the heavily-subsidized wind and solar industries. It will be akin to former President Obama telling West Virginia coal miners and Ohio steel workers that their jobs are never coming back and they should all go learn to code.

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Replacing the state’s millions of gas and diesel autos with electric vehicles will be a far more complicated enterprise. Newsom’s order gets that ball rolling by requiring the California Air Resources Board to implement the phaseout of new gas-powered cars and light trucks in the coming years, and also require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where possible. Sounds simple, right?

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The Truth About Hunter Biden — And Why Republicans Are So Disappointed

The Trump campaign planned to make Hunter Biden a major issue in the 2020 campaign, hoping revelations about former vice president Joe Biden’s son would weaken the Democratic presidential candidate. Yet despite the fact that Congressional Republicans have spent over a year accusing Biden of a range of improprieties, a recent report from Senate Republican-led investigations into Hunter Biden’s activities failed to gain substantial media reaction. Which begs the question:

Why are the attacks on Hunter Biden amounting to, in President Trump’s words, a big “nothingburger?”

This past week Senate Republicans issued an 87-page interim report into the activities of Hunter Biden. The report, which was issued by Republican members of the Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees, came after the review of over 45,000 pages of records and interviews with eight witness who purportedly had knowledge related to Biden’s activities. Focusing on purported business dealings Hunter Biden had with foreign nationals during the Obama administration, much of the report addresses Biden’s well-known service on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company. It it also explores Biden’s contacts with other wealthy and politically connected foreign nationals.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12, 2016: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden (L) and U.S. ... [+] Vice President Joe Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)

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The biggest revelation of the report? That it doesn’t make any credible, evidence backed accusations that Hunter Biden undertook any illegal activities.

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Installation of smart meter leaves elderly woman facing £4,000 bill

A 94-year-old woman, who relies on a wheelchair and a daily home help, was left with a £4,000-plus bill after SSE installed a smart meter and left her previously functioning gas boiler out of action and irreparable.

In August Anita Grant, who lives alone, agreed to have the meter installed in her Harrow home.

But rather than the easy process promised in the advertisements, her son Neil says that the decision was set to cost her £3,840 for a new boiler plus £250 redecorating costs, after SSE first said it would fix it, but then denied any liability.

Only after the Observer got involved did SSE agree to cover the cost of the replacement boiler and the additional redecorating costs.

Experts say a smart meter installation should not affect a normally functioning boiler. But in recent years there have been a small but steady stream of people claiming “it happened to me, too”.

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Norway To Build $3 Billion ‘Longship’ Carbon Dioxide Capture Project

The project intends to suck carbon dioxide out of the air.

AFP via Getty Images

The Norwegian government has presented a major funding proposal to enable the large-scale implementation of carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) technologies in Norway. Public funding of around $1.8 billion will contribute to the overall cost expected to be in the region of $2.7 billion.

Named 'Longship', the funding package will see the implementation of the first full-scale CCS project in the world. It follows decades of research and pilot projects and marks a major step forward for this critical climate mitigation technology for Norway, Europe and the world.

The only option for some high-emission industries

CCS is a series of technologies that can remove harmful CO2 emissions from industries that are otherwise difficult to decarbonize, such as cement and steel manufacturing, but also applies to heat and power, clean hydrogen and carbon dioxide removal systems.

Leadership at the European Commission have said that to meet the challenging climate goals of the Paris Agreement, such sectors need the continued development of carbon capture and storage. If we are to meet those challenging targets, IEA modeling shows that as much as 14% of cumulative emissions reductions must come from CCS.

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Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Resigns After Short-Seller’s Fraud Accusations

Nikola founder Trevor Milton at the groundbreaking for the company's factory in Coolidge, Arizona, ... [+] in July.

Nikola Motor

Trevor Milton, the founder of upstart hydrogen truckmaker Nikola Corp., has resigned as executive chairman and from its board in the wake of allegations by an analyst with a short position in the company’s stock who had accused him of misrepresenting its technology and capabilities prior to going public. Board member Steve Girsky, a former General Motors vice chairman, replaces him as chairman.

“I asked the Board of Directors to let me step aside from my roles as Executive Chairman and a member of the Nikola Board of Directors,” Milton tweeted late Sept. 20. “The focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false allegations leveled against me by outside detractors.”

Nikola “is in amazing hands and the executive team is well-equipped to lead the Company into the future,” he said. The brash, 38-year-old entrepreneur is Phoenix-based Nikola’s largest shareholder with a stake of more than 20% that Forbes estimates is worth $2.7 billion as of Sept. 21. (Trucking industry news site Freightwaves broke the news of Milton’s departure, citing people close to the matter who weren’t identified.)

The news led Nikola shares to plunge nearly 30% at the start of Nasdaq trading. They fell 19% to close at $27.58.

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Nikola’s Troubles Raise Questions For Tesla And Elon Musk On Battery Day

The stock price of Nikola Corporation, the electric truck company, dropped hard in early trading on Monday morning. While Tesla TSLA is established as the world’s most famous and valuable electric vehicle (EV) company, unlike Nikola, it naturally draws comparisons. In fact, the recent Nikola news raises a couple vital questions for Tesla and its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, about their batteries. We’ll be waiting see if they answer those questions tomorrow at the company’s Battery Day and annual meeting. 

Signage is displayed outside Nikola Corp. headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. ... [+] 15, 2020. Nikola Corp. shares fell as much as 10.4%, resuming its decline as investors reacted to word of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into allegations it deceived investors about its prospects. Photographer: Ash Ponders/Bloomberg

© 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP

Problems with Nikola started to appear when short-selling firm Hindenburg Research issued a report a week and a half ago that questioned whether Nikola has any significant priority technology behind its plans to build electric trucks and whether the company misled investors. The SEC then began looking into the matter. Back in the spring, the company went public through a reverse merger, and in the summer, it announced a partnership deal with GM which sent stock prices rising (but also exposed that GM would build the batteries for the supposed-EV company). Early this morning, Nikola’s founder and executive chairman, Trevor Milton, resigned. 

Tesla is much older and an established company. It was started in 2003, more than 17 years ago. Tesla delivered 367,656 cars in 2019, whereas Nikola does not yet have a product. If you search for patents assigned to “Tesla” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you get 565 results, and if you search for patents assigned to “Tesla” with “battery” in the title, you get 126 results (as of the morning of September 21, 2020). Clearly Tesla is a real company with real products, real revenues and protected intellectual property. 

Investors should not see the two companies as the same. For all of the criticism Elon Musk and Tesla get—legitimate and not—they have a real company. Tesla does not regularly turn a profit, and its market cap is probably far outsized for the value it has actually earned. However, Tesla cars and SUVs are driving around on the streets, and its fans love the vehicles. 

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A Google Chrome Extension Removed Over 100 Tons Of Marine Plastics

OCG's cleanup crews.

Ocean Cleanup Group

Ocean Cleanup Group (OCG) built a search engine that helps clean the ocean. Founded in December 2019, the non-profit organization is committed to saving the coasts and marine lives from plastic pollution.

The extension works like Google GOOGL and, the more a user searches, the more relevant ads are shown. The difference is that OCG ends up getting a portion of the price that the advertiser is paying and uses the money to fund cleanup operations.

The project was born out of the idea to “help everyone make a difference from their homes.” The two founders Mike Powell and Jon Chambers wanted to create something that could encourage people “to make a change wherever and whenever they are.”

“While traveling, I was shocked at the extent of plastic waste in some countries, you hear and see news about it all the time, but seeing and witnessing it firsthand really brought something to life in me,” Powell told Forbes.com.

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Warlike: Prince Charles Calls For “Marshall Plan” To Fight Climate Change

Fighting words: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, used his opening speech at Climate Week NYC to ... [+] call for a "military-style campaign" to combat climate change.

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The climate crisis will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and world governments must adopt a “warlike footing” if humanity is to avoid “an ultimate reckoning for our abuse of nature,” the Prince of Wales has warned.

“The borderless climate, biodiversity and health crises are all symptoms of a planet that has been pushed beyond its planetary boundaries,” the prince said in remarks for the opening of the Climate Week NYC summit today. “Without swift and immediate action at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to reset for a green-blue recovery and a more sustainable and inclusive future.”

The first in line to the British throne and a veteran environmental campaigner, the prince said climate change was now a “comprehensive catastrophe” that required a “Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet.”

Singling out the melting of permafrost in Siberia and the burning of large areas of the Pantanal region in Brazil as pivotal climate events, the prince warned there would be an “ultimate reckoning for our abuse of nature.”

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Rich People Are Bad For The Planet Studies Show

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

The richest 1% of people in the world create more than double the carbon emissions of the poorest, says a new report which calls for taxes targeting excessive luxury.

Studying the quarter century from 1990 to 2015, Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute found that the richest 1% were responsible for 15% of emissions. The poorest half accounted for 7%.

Travel was the biggest culprit. In the E.U. "air travel" of the 1% accounted for nearly half of all their emissions. "Land travel" was next, followed by housing.

The richer you are the more you travel, and the more you travel privately. While the affluent drive their own cars and take holidays abroad, the even more flush buy mega-polluters like private jets and superyachts (which burn an average of 500 litres (110 gallons) of fuel an hour). Meanwhile poorer people mostly travel on public transport if at all.

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Daniel Yergin’s ‘New Map’ Explains Why South China Sea Is A Flashpoint

Map of the South China Sea, with the Nine-Dash Line highlighted in green. The South China Sea is the ... [+] world's most-contested waterway.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Wikimedia

Book reviews are the literary equivalent of visiting a buffet line that features 30 different dishes, but only being allowed to fill one small soup bowl, with no second helpings. There’s no good way to reduce a 200-, 300-, or 400-page book down to 800 or 1,000 words and do it justice. For that reason, rather than try to condense all of Daniel Yergin’s new (430-page!) book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations into a single soup bowl, I will heartily recommend the book for its focus on a single topic: the South China Sea. 

Yergin does a better job of explaining the history and importance of the South China Sea than anything I’ve read and he does so by tracing it to a map drawn 84 years ago by a “cartographic combatant."

Yergin’s multi-chapter focus on the “world’s most critical waterway” makes sense because the South China Sea is in the news almost every day. Last week, China accused the U.S. of disguising the identity of military aircraft it operates over the disputed waterway. The South China Morning Post reported that U.S. Air Force planes are, according to a Chinese official, impersonating “the transponder code of civilian aircraft from other countries.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin also said, “We urge the US to immediately stop such dangerous provocations, to avoid accidents from happening in the sea and air.” 

The same story notes that last month, a U.S. surveillance plane flew through a declared no-fly zone while the Chinese military was conducting exercises in the Yellow Sea. That flight led to a protest from China’s defense ministry.

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Why China Is Suddenly Buying Record Amounts Of American Crude Oil

Chinese oil tanker unloading in July.

VCG via Getty Images

Relations between the United States and China may be near all-time lows, but the trading of energy commodities between the two powers remains active—at least for crude oil. Indeed, China’s imports of U.S. crude are expected reach a new high of about 900,000 barrels a day this month. According to Chinese customs data, China’s imports of US crude oil spiked to a record high of 867,000 barrels a day in July, up from 143,000 barrels a day in June. U.S. crude started arriving in May after Chinese buyers received waivers from Beijing of the 5 percent tariff, and oil prices plunged—recall that U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped into negative territory in late April.

China needs continued access to the United States as an export market for its manufacturing. But to ensure this economic lifeline remains open, Beijing must make good on its pledge under the phase one trade deal signed with President Trump in January.

America's oil and gas sector may have suffered under many of President Donald Trump’s harsh trade policies, particularly the trade war that resulted in tariffs on Chinese imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). But China’s recent increase in its appetite for U.S. energy in the run-up to the November elections is a sign that the Trump administration’s pressure on Beijing is paying dividends. 

The easiest way for China to reduce its trade imbalance with the United States and get near its phase one energy target is to buy large volumes of U.S. crude, which increase the dollar value of Chinese imports in ways that other U.S. energy products cannot.

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Plugging Abandoned Oil Wells Is One ‘Green New Deal’ Aspect Loved By Both Republicans And Democrats

Kern County, California has thousands of 'mature' oil wells.

Getty Images

Few climate proposals have been politicized more than the Green New Deal, although it is essentially a jobs program intended to put people to work fighting climate change – regardless of their political affiliation. But as oil and gas jobs have shriveled up amid the COVID-19 recession, a green jobs proposal has become incredibly popular among Republicans and Democrats: plugging abandoned oil and gas wells.

More than 100 years of drilling have left 3 million abandoned oil and gas wells across the United States, and more than 2 million of them are “unplugged” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Far from mere eyesores or local environmental hazards, these abandoned wells gush millions of metric tons of methane – 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeline – and plugging the wells can cut these emissions 99%.

Several Republican-led states have created programs to cap abandoned wells, putting laid-off oil and gas employees back to work, and a federal program to tackle the problem could create hundreds of thousands of jobs that slow climate change while preventing carcinogen leakage into local communities. This concept is part of Joe Biden’s campaign platform, was included in an infrastructure bill passed by the House of Representatives in July, and is being pushed by a coalition of 31 U.S. oil-producing states.

EDMOND, OK - FEBRUARY 20: The sun sets behind an old oil well February 20, 2016 in Edmond, Oklahoma. ... [+] The state is now the earthquake capital of the world and the quakes are believed to be caused by oil field waste water injections into the earth. In 1993, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board began to restore abandoned oil well sites. Since the program's inception more than $90 million has been spent to restore more than 14,500 abandoned well sites. Officials report the old wells have leaked oil, natural gas and brine into the soil. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

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