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Politics: Daily on Energy: Biden Gulf of Mexico drilling lease auction generates big interest

Climate groups slam Biden administration oil auction as 'hypocritical'

  Climate groups slam Biden administration oil auction as 'hypocritical' On the heels of the Glasgow Climate Conference, the Biden administration is preparing to hold an auction for drilling rights that's raised concerns among climate groups. "It's hard to imagine a more dangerous, hypocritical action in the aftermath of the climate summit," said Kristen Monsell, a lawyer for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "Holding this lease sale will only lead to more harmful oil spills, more toxic climate pollution, and more suffering for communities and wildlife along the Gulf Coast.

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DOE Newsletter Default 11-2021 © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Newsletter Default 11-2021

AN EAGERLY AWAITED AUCTION: President Joe Biden can do no right when it comes to grappling with high energy prices.

Republicans are blaming Biden’s policies, including his pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, while giving him no credit for restarting auctions, rather than doing more to fight a court order.

U.S. offshore oil auction begins under court order, shadow of climate deal

  U.S. offshore oil auction begins under court order, shadow of climate deal U.S. offshore oil auction begins under court order, shadow of climate deal(Reuters) - The Biden administration on Wednesday will auction oil drilling rights to 80 million acres in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico days after joining a global agreement that for the first time targeted fossil fuels as the main driver of global warming.

Democrats, meanwhile, are hitting Biden for complying with the federal court decision, with the most urgent example being a massive offshore oil and gas auction for drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico the administration held this morning.

Big results: Eagerly acting from months of pent-up demand, the oil and gas industry pounced on the auction, with 33 companies submitting 317 bids for 308 tracts covering 1.7 million acres, with a high bid of $191,688,984

Among the bidders for leases were U.S. oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, which bid on at least a third of the total tracts, along with other big players, such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Talos Energy. Their motivation, in part, seemed to be that these could be the last leases sold under friendly terms, as Democrats in their climate and social spending bill have proposed new fees on offshore oil leases while increasing the royalties charged for oil and gas production along the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. The Biden administration has suggested it plans to more tightly scrutinize leases in the future by more robustly analyzing greenhouse gas emissions.

USC vs. Florida Gulf Coast odds, line: 2021 college basketball picks, Nov. 16 predictions from proven model

  USC vs. Florida Gulf Coast odds, line: 2021 college basketball picks, Nov. 16 predictions from proven model SportsLine's model just revealed its college basketball picks for Southern California vs. Florida Gulf CoastMar 20, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; General overall view of a basketball approaching the rim and net before the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

The number of bids this morning was at least triple the last Gulf auction in November 2020 held by the Trump administration, in what was seen then as a rush of interest ahead of Biden’s promise of a leasing ban during the presidential campaign.

Delay not good enough for critics: The new lease sale is part of the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022, a five-year program whose terms were established by the Obama administration. It was originally scheduled for March before Biden delayed it as part of his leasing pause.

Liberal climate activists attacked Biden for holding the lease sale at all, arguing he could have sought a stay of the court ruling by a Louisiana-based district judge, and saying he is effectively locking in future oil and gas development in violation of his climate pledges.

“This morning was met with extreme disappointment, depleted hope, and shattered trust. The Biden administration has opted to move forward with relinquishing all remaining parcels of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas interests,” said Hallie Templeton, legal director of Friends of the Earth, which led a letter from more than 250 groups demanding Biden cancel the lease sale.

U.S. To Sell Area the Size of New Mexico For Offshore Drilling Just 5 Days After COP26

  U.S. To Sell Area the Size of New Mexico For Offshore Drilling Just 5 Days After COP26 Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill told Newsweek Biden's administration had "attacked the entire fossil fuel industry" by trying to prevent the sale. But environmental campaigners want Biden to do more.The largest federal offshore drilling auction in U.S. history, in which oil companies can bid for lucrative waters, is scheduled to take place in New Orleans on Wednesday—five days after the end of the summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Not a fix for high prices: The lease sale, meanwhile, won’t help Biden’s problem of high oil and gasoline prices now, since it likely won’t be another seven to 10 years before companies actually develop the leases they bid on today.

And companies still must jump through hoops to receive drilling permits for the sites from the federal government.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) and Jeremy Beaman (@jeremywbeaman). Email [email protected] or [email protected] for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

MEANWHILE, WHITE HOUSE ASKS FTC TO INTERVENE ON GAS PRICES: Biden accused oil and gas companies of “anti-consumer behavior” and urged Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan to investigate them as the White House works to communicate proactivity on the issue.

Biden suggested in a letter to Khan this morning that companies are engaging in illegal conduct because gasoline prices remain high and rising, “even though oil and gas companies' costs are declining.”

Why the Biden administration just sold offshore oil leases, despite campaign pledge

  Why the Biden administration just sold offshore oil leases, despite campaign pledge Environmentalists are fuming after the Department of Interior auctioned leases to drill for oil in an 80 million-acre section of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sold 308 tracts covering 1.7 million acres to fossil fuel giants such as Chevron and ExxonMobil. “This morning was met with extreme disappointment, depleted hope, and shattered trust,” said Hallie Templeton, legal director for Friends of the Earth, in a statement. “The Biden administration has opted to move forward with relinquishing all remaining parcels of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas interests.

The move indicates that pressure to act has reached critical mass, with the nation’s average gas price standing above $3.41 per gallon. Administration officials have for weeks insisted that Biden is hamstrung and that prices are determined by a global market, not the White House, all while still maintaining that Biden has “tools” available to him to affect prices.

What the industry is saying: Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy at the American Petroleum Institute, called the request to FTC a “distraction,” blaming the “continued decision from the administration to restrict access to America’s energy supply and cancel important infrastructure projects” for the imbalance between supply and consumer demand.

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS TOUT CLIMATE PROVISIONS OF SPENDING BILL: House and Senate Democrats this morning promoted an array of clean energy policies included in a $1.85 trillion climate-focused spending package party lawmakers hope to pass the House this week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on the Capitol steps with climate activists to declare Congress has “a moral obligation,” to address climate change. “We have a responsibility to future generations,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi plans to put the spending bill on the floor this week with a vote on passage as early as tomorrow. Lawmakers are awaiting more cost analyses from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Democrats Angry at Biden's Failure to Stop Sale of New Mexico-Sized Oil Drilling Plot

  Democrats Angry at Biden's Failure to Stop Sale of New Mexico-Sized Oil Drilling Plot Some 80 million acres of federal waters are up for grabs in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 257.With the president's much heralded pledges to lower emissions still fresh in the memory, the auction will allow oil companies to bid for 80 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Democrats described the infrastructure bill as a first step in addressing climate change and that the Build Back Better legislation will go much further.

“The investments in clean energy and transportation will put us on a path to delivering on the president's ambitious goal of a reduction of greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the press conference. “That's an extremely ambitious goal. And we are going to do everything we can to meet it.”

Schumer said he plans to bring up the measure by Christmas, assuming the House passes the bill this week.

MANCHIN WATCH...HE’S COOL WITH A VOTE THIS YEAR: Sen. Joe Manchin has objected to the price tag of the Democratic bill, prompting leadership to trim the cost and its climate provisions, and has raised concerns that a too-expensive bill would contribute to rising inflation.

But Manchin told reporters this morning that he is open to a vote before the end of the year (without saying how he would vote).

"I'm not in charge of the timing,” Manchin said. “Whatever they want to do is fine with me. If we're gonna vote, vote.”

CARBON CAPTURE NATURAL GAS PLANT ACHIEVES BIG MILESTONE: A first-of-its-kind zero-emissions natural gas plant called NET Power announced yesterday that its test facility has delivered power to the Texas grid.

It marks the first time the 50-megawatt demonstration facility in La Porte, Texas, built in 2018, has successfully delivered power to the state's grid.

"This is a Wright-brothers-first-flight kind of breakthrough for energy," NET Power CEO Ron DeGregorio said in a press release.

Biden Admin Set to Auction Off Over 80 Million Acres to Oil and Gas Drilling Companies

  Biden Admin Set to Auction Off Over 80 Million Acres to Oil and Gas Drilling Companies On November 1, Biden urged nations to "seize the moment" to act on climate change at the COP26 leaders summit in Scotland.The annual Gulf of Mexico lease sale is planned for November 17 in New Orleans.

NET Power’s technology burns natural gas with oxygen instead of air, and uses supercritical carbon dioxide to generate electricity to drive a turbine rather than steam, while capturing leftover C02.

The company said it is working in various countries to develop utility-scale NET Power plants, projected to come online in the next five years, including one in Colorado and another in Illinois.

KIGALI FINALLY GETS ITS SENATE MOMENT: The Biden administration has sent the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for approval, which requires the backing of at least two-thirds of the chamber.

The move is long-anticipated and could pick up the support of some Republicans.

Kigali, a lesser-known global climate deal compared to the Paris Agreement, calls for the phasedown of potent greenhouse gas refrigerants known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

Last year, Congress passed a bipartisan measure setting domestic HFC restrictions in line with the Kigali Amendment. This year, the EPA finalized rules to implement them.

In June 2018, 13 Republican senators wrote to former President Donald Trump in support of the HFC agreement, asking him to send the deal to the Senate for a ratification vote, which he never did.

A broad coalition has backed the Kigali Amendment, including most of the appliance-makers and chemical companies that would be subject to its restrictions and typically Republican-leaning groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. More than 100 countries have already ratified it.

Business groups supported the HFC phaseout because companies collectively have spent billions of dollars researching a replacement coolant for use in air conditioners and refrigerators.

“This proves that smart policy can be a win for the economy and the environment,” tweeted the the National Association of Manufacturers, which urged bipartisan support for ratifying Kigali.

Interior Department releases long-awaited review of federal oil and gas leasing program

  Interior Department releases long-awaited review of federal oil and gas leasing program The review recommends an increase in leasing fees and consideration of climate change in leasing decisions, but largely sidesteps climate concerns.The Department of the Interior on Friday released a long-awaited review of oil and gas drilling on federal lands and oceans that recommends an increase in leasing fees and consideration of environmental concerns in leasing decisions. But the report largely sidesteps climate change issues, and does not recommend a halt to new oil and gas leasing -- a promise President Joe Biden campaigned on.

FERC NOMINEE PHILLIPS CONFIRMED BY SENATE: The Senate approved by voice vote last night Willie Phillips Jr. to be the next commissioner at FERC, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority.

During his confirmation hearing, Phillips said he would take a “balanced” approach to his job and does not support a total transition off fossil fuels. But he also suggested he would side with FERC’s sitting Democrats who want to take a more critical look at emissions’ downstream effects when reviewing pipelines and LNG projects, meaning he could be the swing vote on such matters.

Phillips was chairman of Washington D.C.’s Public Service Commission, the utility regulator, and was previously assistant general counsel for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

A moderate respected by the utility industry, Phillips worked at several law firms and also led efforts to implement the D.C.’s aggressive clean energy and climate goals at the PSC targeting 100% renewable energy by 2032.

JUDGE KEEPS LINE 5 BALL IN HER COURT: U.S. District Judge Janet Neff rejected Michigan’s request that its lawsuit against Enbridge Energy and the Line 5 pipeline be remanded to a state court, delivering a big win for the Canadian firm in its fight to maintain operations of the pipeline.

Neff ruled yesterday that the suit, which Michigan filed in a state court last November but which Enbridge successfully removed to federal court, was properly within the district court’s jurisdiction and that the issues of federal law Enbridge presents in its briefs “raise vitally important questions that implicate the federal regulatory scheme for pipeline safety and international affairs.”

TERRAPOWER CHOOSES SITE FOR ADVANCED REACTOR PLANT: The Bill Gates-backed nuclear firm has selected Kemmerer, Wyoming, to be home to its Natrium Reactor Demonstration Project, subject to full regulatory approval, in another step forward for the federally-funded demonstration plant.

The company plans to build its 345-megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor on the property of the coal-fired Naughton Power Plant, whose two remaining coal units are scheduled to retire in 2025, and to make use of the plant’s existing infrastructure and workforce to support Natrium’s commercial operations.

The project just secured a major funding boost in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which puts $2.5 billion toward the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, of which Natrium is part.

TerraPower’s project has a chance to establish itself as an industry benchmark, not only on the advanced reactor technology front, but also on the overall viability of coal-to-nuclear conversion, which some utilities are eying as they look to move off fossil fuel-powered plants while maintaining a source of reliably dispatchable power.

The Rundown

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Wall Street Journal Companies push suppliers to disclose more climate data

Axios Israel, Jordan and UAE to sign deal for huge solar farm

Calendar

WEDNESDAY | NOV. 17

1 p.m. Green 2.0 will host a webinar to mark the release of its 2021 Transparency Report Card.

THURSDAY | NOV. 18

10:00 a.m. House Natural Resources Committee Republicans will host a forum entitled "Supporting African Communities: Highlighting International Conservation Efforts Worldwide."

10:00 a.m. FERC HQ. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold its monthly meeting.

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Tags: Energy and Environment, Daily on Energy

Original Author: Josh Siegel, Jeremy Beaman

Original Location: Daily on Energy: Biden Gulf of Mexico drilling lease auction generates big interest

Interior Department releases long-awaited review of federal oil and gas leasing program .
The review recommends an increase in leasing fees and consideration of climate change in leasing decisions, but largely sidesteps climate concerns.The Department of the Interior on Friday released a long-awaited review of oil and gas drilling on federal lands and oceans that recommends an increase in leasing fees and consideration of environmental concerns in leasing decisions. But the report largely sidesteps climate change issues, and does not recommend a halt to new oil and gas leasing -- a promise President Joe Biden campaigned on.

See also