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October 20, 2017

Energy – SciPol Weekly, October 14 – October 20

  • Government
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Government

Forbes – Trump Administration Backs Off Efforts To Ease Ethanol Mandates

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had been considering whether to alter the current requirements to blend ethanol and gasoline by allowing refiners to earn a waiver. “After detailed analysis, numerous meetings with many stakeholders, and review of 18,000 comments received, the record demonstrates that granting that petition would not be appropriate,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrote in a letter dated October 19.

Oil & Gas Journal – US House Democrats strongly criticize proposed OCS policy changes

Proposed US House legislation to extend federal offshore oil and gas revenue sharing to four Mid-Atlantic coastal states and Alaska drew strong fire from a House Natural Resources subcommittee’s Democrats because it also would let the US Interior secretary schedule Outer Continental Shelf lease sales that are not part of an existing 5-year management program.

Reuters – Democrats fail to block Arctic reserve oil drilling

Conservationists and many Democrats treasure the Alaskan reserve, also known as ANWR, as one of the planet’s last paradises. Established by Congress in 1980, it is home to tribes and a habitat for sensitive wildlife including caribou, polar bears and hundreds of species of migratory birds. U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday failed to pass a measure to block oil and gas drilling in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, losing to Republicans who believe production there would provide jobs and wealth.

RTO Insider – FERC Sets 40-Year Term for Hydro Licenses

FERC on Thursday set a 40-year default term for hydropower licenses, a move it said will reduce administrative costs and encourage dam owners to upgrade capacity and make environmental or recreational investments.

“This is quite a big deal, because we’re changing a policy we’ve had in place for several decades,” said Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.

Industry

Oil & Gas Journal – US rig count drops again, but drilling growth still seen

The US rig count during the week ended Oct. 13 declined for the eighth time in 11 weeks. But forecasters continued to see growth in both drilling and production in the coming months and years supported in part by steadier crude oil prices. Despite the recent declines, Westwood Global Energy Group forecasts steady rig count growth in the coming years from six major unconventional oil and gas regions, but spending will be more heavily weighted toward completions.

Oil Price – Rig Count Plunge Set To Boost Oil & Gas Prices

The number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States took a steep dive this week, dipping 15 rigs—the third straight weekly loss. The total oil and gas rig count in the United States now stands at 913 rigs, up 360 rigs from the year prior, with the number of oil rigs in the United States decreasing by 7 this week and the number of natural gas rigs decreasing by 8.

Science 

Quartz – A new sulfur-based battery takes on the problem of energy storage “at the terawatt scale”

A cloud passing overhead cuts off solar power; the wind stops blowing and windmills stop working. In order for us to depend on undependable power sources, we need a grid-sized backup to acts of God. “We said, ‘If we want energy storage at the terawatt scale, we have to use truly abundant materials,'” Chiang told MIT News. Chiang’s team knew from jump they wanted to use sulfur as the cathode, or negative terminal, and water as the electrolyte solution that holds the energy.

USGS – Exploring Gas Hydrates as a Future Energy Source

Also known as natural gas hydrate, these unique hydrocarbons have solid crystalline structures filled with super-concentrated methane gas. Some estimates put the amount of natural gas locked up worldwide in hydrate formations as equal to the amount of natural gas available in all other known natural gas resources.

Other

Quartz – The world is abandoning coal-fired electricity at an astonishing pace

According to findings published by the NGOs Greenpeace and CoalSwarm on Wednesday (Oct. 18), countries are using coal less and less to generate electricity, and hundreds of companies have exited the business in recent years. “Record amounts of coal-fired capacity were retired in the past two years,” said Christine Shearer, a senior researcher with CoalSwarm, in a press release. “And the growing number of phase-out policies means the trend will accelerate."

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