APGA Weekly Update January 14, 2016

01-14-2016 12:51

Senate Energy Committee Announces Slate of Hearings in the New Year

On January 12, Chairman Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced the schedule of the first Senate Energy Committee hearings of the New Year.

The hearings include a wide array of topics including commodity markets, natural resource development, and nuclear technologies among many others. The topics and dates of these hearings are below.

January 19: Full committee hearing on the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.
January 21: Full committee hearing on the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry.
January 26: Full committee hearing to conduct oversight on the Presidential Memorandum issued on November 3, 2015 titled, “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.”
January 28: Full committee hearing to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.
February 4: Full committee hearing to examine energy-related trends in advanced manufacturing and workforce development.
February 23: Full committee hearing to examine the Department of the Interior’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.
March 3: Full committee hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.
March 8: Full committee hearing to examine the U.S. Forest Service’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.

APGA will provide updates on relevant hearings as they occur. For questions on this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at smorrison@apga.org.

President Obama’s Final State of the Union Focused on Climate Change and Clean Energy

President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to Congress on January 12 focusing his discussion on how America answers four basic questions:

“First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy? Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us—especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change? Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman? And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?”

As stated in his second question, climate change and clean energy, which was implied in the technology portion, were featured prominently throughout his address. The President touted the dramatic growth of renewable energy since he took office, the decline in carbon emissions, and the promise that America will develop and sell the energy of the future as opposed to subsidizing dirty fuels of the past, such as coal. He also discussed the need for job retraining to transition communities dependent on energy extraction of coal and oil to the new fuels of the future such as wind and solar.

In previous addresses, President Obama has touted and praised natural gas; however, in this speech he was largely silent. Part of that silence can likely be attributed to the fact that this was a legacy speech, in which the President sought to define his legacy on a number of policy fronts including energy. Unsurprisingly, he defined his energy legacy largely in terms of leading the world on a climate change agreement and increasing renewable energy and the technologies of the future to use his language.

The one indirect mention of natural gas is one that could pose challenges to the industry. President Obama mentioned reforming coal and oil leasing on federal lands, which almost undoubtedly includes natural gas. The language the President used was innocuous, but the Bureau of Land Management

(BLM) is considering passing a rule requiring companies that produce oil, gas, and coal on federal and tribal lands to account for their climate change impacts. This would likely mean the royalty or fee that companies pay to produce would go up, making production less attractive. The impact of this move on gas is unclear because the final rule has not been released, and because the overwhelming majority of oil and gas is produced on non-federal, private lands.

That said, environmental groups have been pushing for this change for quite some time and it seems reasonable to assume that they would like to extend this change beyond federal land if it is feasible as part of their “keep it in the ground,” strategy. APGA will keep members informed of any developments with the BLM rule.

For questions on this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at smorrison@apga.org.

APGA Community Webinar: January 21 at 2 p.m. EST

This half-hour webinar will provide an overview of the features of the APGA Community platform such as sharing files, starting a discussion, and editing your email preferences. This webinar is free and for APGA members only.
Sign up now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/766644749983999746.

EIA Reports Storage Decrease of 168 Bcf to Put Working Gas Storage at 3,475 Bcf

Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, January 14, 2016, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, January 8, 2016. A 168 Bcf decrease has been reported.

Working gas in storage was 3,475 Bcf as of Friday, January 8, 2016, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 168 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 587 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 474 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,001 Bcf. At 3,475 Bcf, total working gas is above the five-year historical range.

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