Climate change is like a flaming oil truck careering down the highway, and how we react now will determine the extent of the coming catastrophe, writes Robert Litterman, a partner at Kepos Capital. "Investors who own stranded assets need to recognize that the climate risk truck is barreling down the highway toward us -- and we need to price emissions appropriately before it's too late," he argues.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering a new rule that would require utilities to source 50% of their electricity from renewables. "A 50% [Renewable Portfolio Standard] is a significant milestone toward addressing New York's climate goals, and reaffirms the state as a leader in seizing the economic advantages of clean energy," said Solar Energy Industries Association CEO and President Rhone Resch. Observers say renewables may be needed to replace two aging nuclear plants in the state.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved AquaBounty Technologies' genetically modified salmon, making it the first GM animal approved for human consumption. The AquAdvantage Atlantic Salmon includes a gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon so it reaches maturity more quickly.
Two shale basins in Texas were responsible for much of the growth the US experienced in proved oil reserves last year, according to an Energy Information Administration report. The US showed a 9% increase in proved oil reserves in 2014, with total reserves reaching their highest mark in more than 30 years.
Tuesday saw oil prices reach a two-week high, spurred in part by tensions in the Middle East. Gasoline futures rose by 6%, and West Texas Intermediate futures increased by 2.7%. There was a 2.6 million barrel US crude build last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Phillips 66 has added protocols for crude oil tank inspections, earthquake alert monitoring and possible pauses in operations after tremors following rising seismic activity near Cushing, Okla. Phillips' "seismic response protocol was developed as part of our enhanced geohazard program, which addresses geotechnical, hydrotechnical and seismic hazards," the company said.
The proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline would be a "transformative project for the northeast United States," said Kimberly Watson, Kinder Morgan's president for east region natural gas pipelines. Watson noted that customers in this area of the country pay high prices for natural gas and electricity. "These higher prices are due, in large part, to natural gas pipeline infrastructure that is insufficient to meet the winter heating demand of local distribution companies (LDCs) and electric generators," she said.
The proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline would go underneath the Mississippi River to cross from Iowa into Illinois, according to testimony given before the Iowa Utilities Board on Tuesday. Once completed, the pipeline would transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota each day, according to Charles Frey, vice president of engineering for Energy Transfer Partners. The board is considering whether to issue a state permit for the pipeline, which has an estimated cost of $3.8 billion.
A contract for engineering design and regulatory filing work on a new liquid natural gas facility in Louisiana has been awarded to Houston-based KBR. KBR has showed an increased focus on natural gas as oilfield activity has declined.
Oil producers are continuing to push for an end to the long-standing ban on US crude oil exports. "We're looking for a vehicle to put this on between now and the end of the year," said Louis Finkel, executive vice president for government affairs for the American Petroleum Institute. "We're agnostic about what the vehicle is; that is for the wisdom of congressional leadership to determine."
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