The Defense Department's Strategic Capabilities Office and the Energy Department have announced the completion of a draft environmental impact statement for the construction and demonstration phase of the DOD's plan to develop a transportable microreactor, called Project Pele. A 45-day public comment period on the draft EIS will open Friday, with a final EIS and record of decision on the project expected in early 2022.
Pandemic-related disruptions are expected to push back the project timeline at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor under construction in France, with first plasma in 2025 "no longer technically achievable," according to ITER Director General Bernard Bigot. "While we were progressing on a monthly rate of nearly 0.7% on average during the last five years, last year in 2020 we were only able to achieve 0.35%," Bigot said during an online press conference.
NASA says its Ingenuity helicopter has taken images of Mars' Jezero Crater from 8 meters above the surface, showing details of a ridgeline, sand ripples and other features. NASA created a 3D image by combining data from two photos that show a portion of the crater's South Seitah region.
A memorandum of understanding between the American Chemistry Council and the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the next step toward advancing circularity in automotive materials -- an ongoing focus for US plastic makers, said ACC's Joshua Baca. "This partnership builds upon those efficiency gains by helping enable a circular economy for durable plastics in the automotive industry and potentially other industries," said Baca.
Mercedes is optimistic about its electric vehicle launch despite working through many of the same supply chain issues that other automakers are facing. "We say, 'Now electric has its Mercedes,' because so far the options for EVs -- especially on the top end of the market -- have been very limited," says Mercedes-Benz USA chief Dimitris Psillakis.
It may sound odd to have a champion of fossil fuels write a policy that may set the stage for the US to decarbonize, but that's exactly what's happening with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., at the helm of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. This piece discusses what to expect from Manchin, including potentially major alternations to the proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program.
The US was a net petroleum exporter in the first half of 2021 as combined exports of crude oil and petroleum products exceeded imports by 120,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. However, crude oil imports continued to be higher than exports, averaging 5.9 million bpd during the first six months, versus 3 million bpd for exports.
Rising buyer appetite for long-term liquefied natural gas supply contracts amid record high spot prices could create the right market conditions for advancing some proposed North American liquefied natural gas projects. "We are likely to see the return of North American LNG FIDs in 2022," said Rystad Energy's Sindre Knutsso, adding, "Given the current demand and prices, buyers are willing to sign long-term contracts and sellers are getting the budgets back."
Pioneer Natural Resources is reportedly marketing its properties in the Permian Basin's Delaware portion as it looks to consolidate its business, slash debt and narrow its focus to the Midland Basin. Pioneer took possession of the assets, which could fetch more than $2 billion, through its $4.5 billion acquisition of Parsley Energy.
US oil and natural gas drillers deployed nine rigs last week, bringing the total combined rig count to 512, the highest since April 2020, according to Baker Hughes. Texas gained four rigs, Oklahoma three units, while New Mexico and Pennsylvania added two and one unit, respectively.
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