1. New US tax bill will open up drilling AND continue incentives for renewable energy.
The Republicans' introduced their tax package last Friday, and from an energy perspective, the highlights are it would boost traditional forms of energy such as oil and gas while still supporting renewable energy such as wind and solar power, and also extend tax credits to buyers of electric cars.
The new bill will open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling while preserving tax credits for wind power and other clean energy. Opening the remote Arctic refuge to oil and gas drilling has long been a Republican priority that most Democrats oppose for fear it would harm the wildlife. The 19.6-million-acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.
However, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee says new technology allows for drilling to be done safely without harming or disrupting the wildlife population.
2. Exxon Mobile and Shell are working toward a greener future.
Exxon Mobil and Shell are showing they are committed to a greener future in their most recent SEC filings by publicly adopting plans to disclose the risk climate change poses to their core business and roll out investments in renewable energy projects.
Earlier this month Exxon reported it will begin reporting the "impacts" that climate change and environmental policies have on the company, including implications of the 2 degrees Celsius warming limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. They will also report their plans and progress toward creating a "lower-carbon future."
Shell, is taking its climate commitment a step further by announcing earlier this month that they have pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions 20% by 2035, and 50% by 2050.
3. North Sea pipeline still shut down.
Prices are up this week for a number of reasons: Threat of Nigerian Oil Union strikes, US oil rig count is down... but a big one is also the fact that the Forties Pipeline is still down with an unknown restart date.
The 450,000-barrels-per-day (bbl/d) link that provides a good portion of the physical crude underpinning Brent has been shut down since Dec 11th.
“There is still no reliable information about how long the repair work will last and when the pipeline will go back into operation,” stated a representative from Commerzbank, “this should preclude any fall in the Brent price for the foreseeable future.”