Episodes
The US Department of Energy’s newly rebranded Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management aims to fund the research and technology deployment that will help the US reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We spoke with Acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer Wilcox, head of the office and a carbon capture expert, about some of the promising technologies to curb US dependence on fossil fuels and cut emissions. We talked about harder-to-decarbonize sectors like aviation, shipping and long-haul...
Published 07/23/21
Silos within the energy industry are coming down as companies confront the need to dramatically cut carbon emissions. The so-called energy convergence is the idea that companies, policy makers and regulators need to be more collaborative across the energy spectrum. Joe Brettell is a partner for strategic engagement at Prosody Group, which consults on energy, agriculture and financial services. We asked him about the rising importance of US regulators, climate-related investor pressures, and...
Published 07/19/21
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are locked in a dispute over how to ease oil-production limits as global demand recovers from the pandemic. Nareeka Ahir, a geopolitical analyst at S&P Global Platts Analytics, tells us about the oil market risks that could emerge from the fight. She also shares the latest geopolitical risks from the Iran nuclear talks, Iraq's widespread power outages, Nigeria's oil facility attacks and Libya's volatile oil output.
Published 07/07/21
Freeport LNG CEO Michael Smith joined us to talk about the state of the market, his company's expansion plans, climate concerns and the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Activity has started picking up for US developers of new liquefaction terminals after a two-year lull in firm commercial deals that predated the coronavirus pandemic. For existing exporters, global gas and LNG forward prices are trending strong and relatively stable, pointing to a long runway for exporters to enjoy...
Published 07/06/21
As extreme weather events continue across the US, they're disrupting energy supplies and demanding more planning for the future. Texas and California have both in recent weeks asked residents to conserve electricity to avoid power grid failures, only a few months after crippling power outages during Texas' deep freeze. And the Gulf Coast just started what looks to be an active hurricane season. Today's guest believes the conversation about the energy transition away from fossil fuels has...
Published 06/25/21
It's no secret that the power sector is undergoing dramatic changes. Market dynamics and ambitious decarbonization goals set by the Biden administration are driving a transition away from fossil fuels and toward more renewable energy and electric vehicles. Consumers and investors are also expressing new expectations for sustainability and a cleaner energy economy. Utility executives have acknowledged a need for new digital technologies and a digitally savvy workforce, but a new survey by...
Published 06/18/21
Venezuelan sanctions and the Maduro regime have been a backburner issue so far for US President Joe Biden. When he was elected, many energy analysts predicted he would grant some sanctions relief on humanitarian grounds. Fernando Ferreira, director of Rapidan Energy Group’s Geopolitical Risk Service, predicts we'll start to see the White House's direction on Venezuela later this year. We asked him about the ban on diesel-for-crude swaps, Chevron's waiver extension, the status of opposition...
Published 06/14/21
The US and Iran are entering a sixth round of indirect talks in Vienna aimed at restarting the 2015 nuclear deal. S&P Global Platts Analytics still expects the sides to reach a deal in the coming months, with the Biden administration removing sanctions on Iran's oil, petrochemical, shipping and other sectors by September. This sanctions relief would allow Iran to boost crude and condensate exports to 1.5 million b/d by December, from 600,000 b/d in May. We spoke with Henry Rome, senior...
Published 06/07/21
Investors are proving they have climate change and the energy transition on the their minds. Last week, activist investors got at least two seats on the ExxonMobil board of directors, and Chevron's shareholders approved Scope 3 emission targets, both which could lead to lower oil and gas production ahead. The popularity of ESG (environmental, social and governance) investments is soaring. But what does it even mean for a company to adopt that label, and how do we weigh one ESG pledge...
Published 06/01/21
The Biden administration surprised many last week in granting a sanctions waiver to the company building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The move allows work to continue on the almost-finished project, despite long-standing US opposition on the grounds that it will increase Germany's dependence on Russian gas supplies. We spoke with US Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican-North Dakota, who introduced a bill to reinstate the Nord Stream 2 sanctions. The pipeline is...
Published 05/25/21
The White House and Democrats in Congress are looking at a number of ways to increase taxes and federal revenues from the oil and gas industry as part of their climate and clean energy agenda. They're looking at higher royalty rates on federal lands and eliminating deductions like intangible drilling costs and percentage depletion. We spoke with Dan Naatz, executive vice president for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, about how his group is engaging on this issue. We also...
Published 05/24/21
We're sizing up some of the top geopolitical factors influencing oil markets with Paul Sheldon, chief geopolitical adviser for S&P Global Platts Analytics. The US and Iran entered a fourth round of indirect talks in Vienna this month. Sheldon explains why he still sees good odds of a framework deal emerging within weeks and what that would mean for the US easing sanctions on Iran's oil, petrochemical, shipping and other sectors. Sheldon also previews OPEC's June 1 meeting, looks further...
Published 05/17/21
Will the cyberattack that forced the largest US oil pipeline to shut down for days be a wake-up call for the industry to rapidly shore up its cyber defenses? On this special episode, we have two interviews from cybersecurity experts. Both say they were not entirely surprised by the attack on the Colonial Pipeline, as they have witnessed the oil and gas sector be slower to adopt cyber security programs than counterparts in the utility sector. Leo Simonovich, global head of industrial cyber...
Published 05/11/21
Just how realistic are the ESG goals being set each quarter by US energy producers in the face of rising pressure from investors, banks and the government to become more environmentally sustainable? The Biden administration has ushered in new climate priorities across the government, including the Environmental Protection Agency reviewing methane limits, the Federal Reserve weighing climate risks to the economy, and the Securities and Exchange Commission examining climate disclosures in...
Published 05/10/21
The US Interior Department has approved more than 500 drilling permits on federal lands and waters since January, despite the Biden administration's halt to new lease sales. The agency has not said when it might resume leasing, other than canceling any sales through June. Producer-state senators contend that this pause will turn into a permanent ban. Senator John Hoeven, Republican-North Dakota, made that case on yesterday's Capitol Crude podcast. We took a look at how the leasing review is...
Published 05/04/21
The Dakota Access Pipeline returns to court today for a pivotal hearing. The Biden administration has been asked by the federal judge in the case to disclose whether it supports an immediate shutdown of the pipeline while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts a new environmental review. We spoke with Senator John Hoeven, Republican-North Dakota, about the risks to the state if Dakota Access has to shut down. We also asked him about the Interior Department's federal leasing ban, carbon...
Published 05/03/21
Louisiana sits at the crossroads of US climate policy, from experiencing some of the earliest effects of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns to depending on fossil fuels for economic growth. We spoke with US Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican-Louisiana, about how the Biden administration's climate policies are playing out in his state. He contends the White House's climate ambitions ignore just how dependent the US is on fossil fuels given the pace of cleaner alternatives. We...
Published 04/26/21
Argentina's oil production has been on the rise this year, recovering from the demand and price impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Oil output climbed to 492,000 b/d in February, up from 446,000 b/d in May. While that was still down from 520,000 b/d in March 2020, market watchers appear confident that production will fully recover by the end of 2021. Argentina's current administration has been keen on boosting production, primarily from the Vaca Muerta shale play, which is said to hold...
Published 04/19/21
Opportunity zones are tax-advantaged investment vehicles that grew out of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to bring economic redevelopment to impoverished areas. For the oil and gas industry, opportunity zones can benefit producers and investors. US Energy Development, a small upstream producer, recently added an opportunity zone to its portfolio in New Mexico called the Shetland project. We talked with Matthew Iak, executive vice president at US Energy, about opportunity zones, the...
Published 04/12/21
The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico came to power with the promise to undo the energy reform of his predecessor, which opened the private sector to investment. During the last 18 months, the government has issued agreements, decrees and regulations in its strategy to benefit the state utility. We spoke to Victor Ureta of Acclaim Energy, a Mexico-based consultancy, about those legal moves, the impact on the industry, and what we can expect from those processes.
Published 04/05/21
The dearth of newly sanctioned LNG export projects in 2020 and so far in 2021 — especially in North America, which has been responsible for the majority of new LNG supply globally over the last five years — is a worrisome sign for the market that could lead to more price volatility in the future. In North America, there was only one new liquefaction project sanctioned last year — Sempra Energy’s Energia Costa Azul project on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. More than a dozen other developers in the...
Published 03/29/21
Environmental, social and governance considerations have becoming pressing issues among refiners in today's net-zero carbon world. While other refiners and oil companies are starting to embrace ESG, it has been a key part of Meridian Energy's strategy since 2013, when the company was formed. We talked with Meridian CEO Bill Prentice about building an ESG refinery in North Dakota.
Published 03/22/21
Mexican production of crude oil has declined continuously since reaching a peak in 2004. Since then, the government has tried to bring back production while keeping revenues steady. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has embarked on a new quest to rescue Pemex, whose waning revenues have been needed to help develop Mexico for the last seven decades. We spoke with Marco Cota, a former Pemex executive and now head of Talanza Energy, a Mexico City consultancy, about Pemex's chances to...
Published 03/15/21
Conversations at this year's CERAWeek by IHS Markit, held virtually this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, were wide ranging, although energy transition was often the main topic.
Published 03/08/21
As the shortest route from the US Gulf Coast to East Asia, the Panama Canal has emerged as a key fixture in global trade flow dynamics. We spoke with Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, who has been working to reduce congestion of the canal, which has grown in part because of LNG shipments from the US.
Published 03/01/21