1. A light at the end of the tunnel for oil prices.
Energy and Oil companies are eager for a deal to be struck and for OPEC to follow through on its promise to scale back production and increase prices. Last Friday, news broke about a meeting between Russia and OPEC in Doha that the idea of a six-month oil production freeze is under consideration. Additionally, more formal talks between OPEC and non-OPEC producers are tentatively scheduled for the end of the month, just 2 days before OPEC’s formal meeting. Algerian Minister Boutarfa has stated he believes a consensus is taking shape and OPEC could possibly be at a production level of 32.5 million barrels per day soon. This would be slightly over a 1M decrease per day. OPEC production is currently running at 33.6 million barrels per day, according to their latest monthly production report.
2. U.S. oil drillers on the rise.
With increased confidence that crude prices will rise in coming months we are seeing the expansion of oil drilling in the shale patch. According to Baker Hughes Inc., rigs targeting crude rose 19 to 471 this week, the largest increase in 16 months. Shale drillers have also now added 155 rigs since an expansion started back in May. Natural gas rigs rose also by 1 to 116, bringing the total for oil and gas up by 20 to 588.
3. Trump narrowing in on an Energy Secretary.
A list is forming for those thought to be leading contenders for the head of the Energy Department. Under consideration for energy secretary include Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil tycoon and leading proponent of fracking, and North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, an early Trump supporter from a major oil drilling state. And last, Venture capitalist Robert Grady, who worked in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, is listed as a contender to lead both the Energy and Interior Departments.
It is still in the initial stages and it’s unclear whether the list has been reviewed by Trump, but these are the names floating to the top at the moment. Trump is in the early stages of setting up his administration, having named only his White House chief of staff and chief strategist.
November 14 (SeeNews) - The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has concluded its Solar and Wind Energy Rule governing project development on public lands, updating existing policies and introducing a leasing programme.
The final rule envisages incentivised development in designated leasing areas (DLAs) that have the highest generation potential and fewest resource conflicts, says a BLM statement last week. Parties interested in securing leases will participate in competitive processes that would be streamlined to give applicants site control earlier.
It also updates the BLM’s current fee structure in response to market conditions, and broadens its authority to use competitive processes outside of DLAs.
The BLM pointed out that competitive leasing provisions will help renewables "flourish" on the 700,000 acres (283,300 ha) of public lands identified in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Still, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) commented that the move makes federal lands even less attractive to wind project developers, based on its preliminary review. It says that the rule will add time, uncertainty, complexity, and cost to a process that was already more difficult than developing on private lands.
"The rule penalizes projects pursued outside of designated zones, yet there are no designated zones for wind energy and there may not be for years. This discriminatory treatment places wind energy at a competitive disadvantage to energy sources that have such areas designated and can avail themselves of the incentives to develop in these areas," AWEA said in a statement
The regulations will take effect 30 days following their publishing in the Federal Register.
Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the BLM is to permit 20 GW of renewable power by 2020. Since 2009, the Interior has cleared 60 utility-scale projects on public lands that could support almost 15.5 GW of capacity, it said.