From: Morning Consult
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Morning Consult Energy: Global Pressure Mounts for U.S. to Ease Oil Export Ban; Domestic Oil Boom Means Lower Labor Day Gasoline Prices
Date: Tue Sep 02 13:11:31 MDT 2014


By Emily Holden (@emilyhholden)


Welcome back to Morning Consult Energy! Today we'll brief you on the top news from last week and over the long weekend. 


It's been a news-filled summer, so Morning Consult also put together a list of your favorite stories from the past few months as a quick review.  


Today’s Washington Brief:

  • International pressure is mounting for the U.S. to ease its longstanding ban on oil exports. Reuters has the story

  • The federal government is on track to impose mandates on hydraulic fracturing on public land by the end of the year. Houston Chronicle's Jennifer A. Dlouhy has the story

  • Nebraska's Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Keystone XL oil pipeline Friday. The case could determine how soon a decision might come on the long-delayed project. Politico Pro's Andrew Restuccia reports

  • President Obama tapped Colette Honorable, the Democratic utility regulatory chief in Arkansas, as a nominee for commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Washington Examiner's Zack Colman reports Honorable has drawn favor from both sides of the aisle. Rod Kuckro at E&E sat down with Cheryl LaFleur, who will be FERC chairman until mid-April, to talk about potential adjustments to electric markets and FERC's cautious role in the carbon emissions debate. 

Today’s Business Brief:

  • The American oil boom has cushioned the impact of global instability, meaning prices at the pump are easing. Energy and travel analysts predicted the lowest gasoline prices over Labor Day weekend since 2010, and the highest level of motor travel since 2008. New York Times' Clifford Krauss has the story

  • Coal miners are seeing some signs of recovery as prices stabilize, Wall Street Journal reports

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided nuclear waste can be stored above ground indefinitely. The decision means new nuclear plants can be built and old ones can expand even though there is no long-term plan for the waste. New York Times' Matthew L. Wald reports

  • Utilities are pushing electric cars, seeing an opportunity to offset stagnant electricity sales. Some are asking permission to tack on fees to customer bills to build charging stations, and consumer advocates aren't happy. Wall Street Journal's Cassandra Sweet reports

Today's Chart Review: 



Residential electricity prices are rising

from Energy Information Administration 





Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern): 


Thursday: National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas with Reid, Vilsack, Podesta @ Noon 

Thursday: CSIS electricity in transition series talk with LaFleur @ 10:30 am 

Thursday: U.S. Energy Association briefing on the challenges of geological storage of CO2 @ 10 am 


1-12: General
13-19: Oil
20: Utilities and Infrastructure
21: Coal
22: Nuclear 
23-25: Renewables




26-27: Morning Consult 
28: Greentech Media 



29: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
30: Government Accountability Office 
31: World Resources Institute 






1) Obama taps Arkansas utility chief for FERC

from Washington Examiner by Zack Colman 


President Obama tapped Colette Honorable, the Democratic utility regulatory chief in Arkansas who has earned praise from both sides of the aisle in Washington, as nominee for commissioner at the federal electric grid regulator. If confirmed by the Senate, Honorable would replace former Democratic commissioner John Norris at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


2) 'Major investment cycle' and rapidly changing U.S. energy markets pose fresh challenges for FERC -- Chairman LaFleur

from E&E by Rod Kuckro


Prudent. That word might best describe Cheryl LaFleur's approach to her job -- and answering questions about it -- as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. President Obama named the Harvard University-trained attorney and former National Grid executive to lead the agency at the end of July. She had been acting chairman of FERC since November after Jon Wellinghoff left the post before his term was up.


3) Feds advance hydraulic fracturing rule

from Houston Chronicle by Jennifer A. Dlouhy 


The Obama administration is on track to impose new mandates governing hydraulic fracturing on public land by the end of the year — a move that will test the White House’s ability to appease worried environmentalists while still sustaining the drilling boom bolstering the U.S. economy. The timeline is tied to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which launched a final interagency review of the measure on Tuesday. The office, which disclosed the review on Friday, generally has 90 days to vet proposed regulations, though it can finish early and extensions are allowed.


4) GAO finds no problem with White House's work on social cost of carbon

from E&E by Amanda Peterka


The interagency working group established by the Obama administration to estimate the social cost of carbon used an open approach that relied on consensus-based decisions, according to a review done at the behest of Republican lawmakers. In a report released yesterday, the Government Accountability Office also said it found the working group relied largely on existing literature and models, was upfront about limitations in its estimates, and took into account new data when they became available.


5) Big wins elusive for EPA in Clean Water Act showdowns

from E&E by Jeremy P. Jacobs


For U.S. EPA at the Supreme Court, it's been the best of times -- and the worst. In Clean Air Act cases, EPA is on a roll. The high court last term upheld a major EPA program for air pollution that drifts across state lines. It also barely trimmed a permitting program for greenhouse gases, leaving intact most of EPA's first round of climate regulations. And even when EPA has technically lost, as in the landmark 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA climate case, the justices ruled for the more environmentally protective side -- in that case, that EPA is empowered to regulate greenhouse gases. But it's a different story when the Clean Water Act is in play. The agency hasn't won a case broadening its regulatory authority since 1985.


6) Hating on Harry Reid

from Politico by Kenneth P. Vogel 


A slew of big-name Republicans were in the house for this weekend’s summit of the Koch brothers’ leading political group, but the most talked-about figure may very well have been Harry Reid. The Senate majority leader, who for months has been poking the Kochs in the eye, was omnipresent in the sections of the Dallas Omni Hotel blocked off by Americans for Prosperity for its summit. He was featured in videos, derided in speeches, jeered by activists and mockingly showcased in many a selfie — that last part thanks to a life-sized cutout of the Nevada Democrat at which passersby directed all manner of invective.


7) China Seeks Pollution Cut With National Carbon Market

from Bloomberg 


China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, plans to start a national market for carbon trading by 2016 as it seeks to balance pollution reduction with economic growth.


8) Europe drafts emergency energy plan with eye on Russia gas shut-down

from Reuters by Henning Gloystein


The European Union could ban gas exports and limit industrial use as part of emergency measures to protect household energy supplies this winter, a source told Reuters, as it braces for a possible halt in Russian gas as a result of the Ukraine crisis.


9) Under Putin's gaze, Gazprom starts mega-pipeline to China

from Reuters by Vladimir Soldatkin


President Vladimir Putin on Monday oversaw the start of construction on a giant pipeline that is due to ship $400 billion worth of Russian gas to China in the three decades after flows begin in 2019.


10) Colorado finds itself an earthquake lab amid gas boom

from Houston Chroncile by Kevin Simpson (AP)


...In an area peppered with wells pulling energy resources from below ground — and many pumping wastewater from the process back into it through injection wells — an old question resurfaced: Could the same geological tinkering that has revved a formidable economic engine also trigger potentially damaging earthquakes?


11) Study finds more arsenic in north Texas water wells near drilling

from Houston Chronicle (AP)


North Texas water wells within two miles of active gas drilling sites contain higher concentrations of arsenic and other carcinogens, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.


12) U.S. Stock Futures Gain as Investors Await Output Data




13) A New American Oil Bonanza

from New York Times by Clifford Krauss 

...The reason for the improved economics of road travel can be found 10,000 feet below the ground here, where the South Texas Eagle Ford shale is providing more than a million new barrels of oil supplies to the world market every day. United States refinery production in recent weeks reached record highs and left supply depots flush, cushioning the impact of all the instability surrounding traditional global oil fields.


14) From Seoul to Mexico City, pressure mounts to ease U.S. oil export ban

from Reuters by Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Gardner and Meeyoung Cho


Washington is facing growing international pressure to ease its long standing ban on crude oil exports, with South Korea and Mexico joining the European Union in pressing the case for U.S. oil shipments overseas.


15) Keystone circus descending on Nebraska high court

from Politico Pro by Andrew Restuccia 


Keystone’s summer recess is ending even before Congress’ does. Nebraska’s Supreme Court will hear arguments Friday in a case whose legal minutiae are dry but the political impact could be vast — essentially determining how soon the endlessly delayed decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will get to President Barack Obama’s desk. Possibilities range from sometime this year to deep into 2015.


16) TransCanada’s Energy East faces hurdle as U.S. oil boom swamps market

from Globe and Mail by Shawn McCarthy


As TransCanada Corp. prepares to file for regulatory approval for its $12-billion cross-country pipeline project, booming U.S. oil imports are creating a new challenge: a domestic market saturated with low-cost crude.


17) Keystone Redux Haunts Trans Mountain as Fight Shifts to Climate

from Bloomberg by Jeremy van Loon and Rebecca Penty 


The next fight over oil pipeline development in Canada is starting to look like Keystone XL version 2.0. This time the target is a $4.9 billion project by Houston billionaire Richard Kinder’s energy empire. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP)’s expansion of the Trans Mountain conduit linking the oil sands to the Pacific is facing the same kind of backlash that turned TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed line to the Gulf Coast into a proxy battle against climate change. As with Keystone, Trans Mountain’s opponents argue it would boost development of the oil sands, Canada’s fastest-growing source of carbon emissions.


18) Researchers at work on using liquid nitrogen instead of water in fracturing

from Houston Chronicle by Collin Eaton 


Petroleum engineers in Colorado are working on a process called cryogenic fracturing, which replaces water with searing cold liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide.


19) India Outpacing China’s Oil Demand

from Wall Street Journal by Eric Yep 


India’s oil demand has grown faster than China’s so far this year, highlighting slowing energy demand in the world’s most populous country and fueling expectations that India may pick up the slack over the medium-to-long term.



Utilities and Infrastructure


20) U.S. Utilities Push the Electric Car

from Wall Street Journal by Cassandra Sweet 


As utilities across the U.S. grapple with stagnant electricity sales, many see opportunity in the fledgling need for electric-car charging stations. But some companies' tactics are spurring complaints from consumer advocates. Electricity companies are asking permission to let them tack on fees to customer bills to fund pilot projects for building networks of charging stations. 





21) Coal Miners See Signs of Recovery as Prices Stabilize

from Wall Street Journal by Rhiannon Hoyle and Biman Mukherji 


For two years, the world's coal miners have been plagued by a glut that has battered prices and led to the closure of mines, straining tiny towns from Australia to South Africa. Now, some of the largest coal exporters are signaling the worst may be over as prices stabilize.





22) Nuclear Waste Is Allowed Above Ground Indefinitely

from New York Times by Matthew L. Wald


As the country struggles to find a place to bury spent nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in containers that can be maintained and guarded indefinitely. The decision, in a unanimous vote of the commission on Tuesday, means that new nuclear plants can be built and old ones can expand their operations despite the lack of a long-term plan for disposing of the waste.





23) Solar Power Investors Start to See Some Light and Heat

from Wall Street Journal by Liam Denning 


Solar power: The science that converts the sun's free bounty into useful energy. Yet, for years, the solar sector's strange alchemy somehow converted public subsidies into horrendous losses for investors...Now something has changed.


24) Solar power set to double for seventh straight year

from Washington Examiner by Zack Colman 


The amount of U.S. electricity generated from solar power is slated to more than double for the seventh consecutive year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that solar has provided 7.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity through June, enough to power about 685,000 homes per year. 


25) Solar Company Seeks Stiff U.S. Tariffs to Deter Chinese Spying

from New York Times by Diane Cardwell 


In the daunting battle against corporate online espionage worldwide, one major solar company wants to deploy a powerful and novel weapon: higher tariffs. SolarWorld Americas, the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the United States, has asked the Commerce Department to investigate claims that Chinese military personnel broke into the company’s computers and stole documents important to its business and its long-running trade dispute with China.



A message from Paragon Insights:

Paragon Insights is at the forefront of the public opinion research industry, conducting live and automated telephone interviews, while pioneering new online and mobile technologies to deliver the most sought after political and market intelligence at a moment’s notice.  Paragon Insights conducts over 15,000 interviews per month and offer clients innovative polling subscriptions that enable policy coalitions, trade associations and companies to monitor breaking news developments and analyze trends over time.  Learn More





26) Lack of Transparency at EPA

from Morning Consult by Elizabeth Jennings, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity 


Lately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been faulted for failing to be accountable with the media regarding its latest proposed carbon regulations. This caught our attention months ago when several reporters gave anecdotes about the run-around they received when trying to getanyone from EPA to go “on the record” about anything.


27) Give the People What They Want: Microgrids

from Morning Consult by Ryan Franks, National Electrical Manufacturers Association


Last week, GE Digital Energy published its Grid Resiliency Survey. The survey echoes the themes of other surveys and whitepapers that point to the same thing:  Americans want greater electric grid reliability.  What’s newsworthy here is that Americans are willing to pay for it. Americans living east of the Mississippi River are nearly three times more likely than those living west of it to experience an electricity outage, and among them, 41% are willing to pay an additional $10 per month to ensure greater electric grid reliability.


28) Responsive Electricity Pricing Is the Missing Piece of a Distributed, Reactive Grid

from Greentech Media by Martin LaMonica 


Utility industry pros often say Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla would recognize today’s electric grid because the basic architecture has changed so little over the past 100 years. The same could be said for electricity pricing. And that’s a problem if distributed energy is to be deeply integrated in today’s power grid, according to a report from the Electricity Innovation Lab.



A message from Paragon Insights:

Paragon Insights is at the forefront of the public opinion research industry, conducting live and automated telephone interviews, while pioneering new online and mobile technologies to deliver the most sought after political and market intelligence at a moment’s notice.  Paragon Insights conducts over 15,000 interviews per month and offer clients innovative polling subscriptions that enable policy coalitions, trade associations and companies to monitor breaking news developments and analyze trends over time.  Learn More





29) Fossil fuel divestment: a $5 trillion challenge

from Bloomberg New Energy Finance


...Fossil fuels are investor favourites for a reason. Few sectors offer the scale, liquidity, growth, and yield of these century-old businesses vital to today’s economy. This White Paper explores the motivations behind fossil fuel divestment, the scale of existing fossil fuel investments, and potential alternatives for investment re-allocated from oil, gas, and coal stocks. 


30) Regulatory Impact Analysis: Development of Social Cost of Carbon Estimates 

from Government Accountability Office 


The working group used a consensus-based approach for making key decisions in developing the 2010 and 2013 estimates...The working group relied largely on existing academic literature and models to develop its estimates...Technical Support Document discloses several limitations of the estimates and areas that the working group identified as being in need of additional research. It also sets a goal of revisiting the estimates when substantially updated models become available.


31) Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability & Business Risks

from World Resources Institute 


For many countries, shale gas could strengthen energy security while cutting emissions. However, drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale resources requires lots of water for short periods—and shale resources are not always located where water is abundant. Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability & Business Risks analyzes water availability across all potentially commercial shale resources worldwide, and shares four recommendations to help governments, companies, and civil societies protect water security while minimizing risks.