1. Iraq launching military operation to secure oil route to Iran.
Iraqi forces are readying military forces to consolidate control of an area near the Iran border that will be used for the transit of Iraqi oil to Iran. According to Reuters, the operation to secure the Hamrin mountain range could start this week. There has been turmoil in the region since Baghdad refused to acknowledge the area’s independence.
Since Iraqi oil officials announced in December plans to transport Kirkuk crude by truck to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery, they have had the threat of two armed groups in the area that pose significant threats to the operation.
2. Rex Tillerson weighs in on situation in Venezuela.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson again brought up the fact that the US is considering drastic action against the Venezuelan government during his trip to Argentina this weekend. He stated that the US is still open to the idea of imposing restrictions on oil imports and exports from Venezuela in his address.
"Obviously, sanctioning the oil or in effect prohibiting the oil to be sold in the United States, or for the United States as well to sell or provide oil to Venezuela, or refined products, is something we continue to consider," he said.
Later, he called the situation in Venezuela "quite dire," and added that there would be a fine balancing act to establish the right solution that will not impose too many costs to the people of Venezuela, yet pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
"One of the aspects of considering sanctioning oil is what effect will it have on the Venezuelan people, and is it a step that might bring this ... to a more rapid end?" Tillerson said. "Because not doing anything to bring this to an end is also asking the Venezuelan people to suffer for a much longer time."
3. Lake Tahoe leading the way to 100% renewable energy.
The world-famous Lake Tahoe ski and recreation resorts in California announced they will be the first ski facilities in the US to operate on 100% renewable energy – a goal that when completed is expected to cut their carbon footprint in half!
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the parent company is partnering with electric service provider Liberty Utilities to identify and develop new renewable energy generation, storage, and efficiency projects to benefit the two Lake Tahoe resorts as well as the entire Olympic Valley area.
The President and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said: “Solar power has come down in cost so much that it’s accessible now. It’s a purely economic decision. And it’s also about how we operate sustainably long into the future”.