Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
Terry A. Doughty, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, has filed a preliminary injunction to block President Joe Biden’s executive order signed on Jan. 27 related to oil and gas leasing. The order called for a 60-day pause on the issuing of new oil and gas leases on federal land, while the Interior Department conducted a review of the program, according to the Washington Post.
Doughty said the 13 states that sued the administration for the policy have “demonstrated a substantial threat of irreparable injury,” while also arguing that Biden needs the approval of congress in order to halt leasing.
“We are reviewing the judge’s opinion and will comply with the decision. The Interior Department continues to work on an interim report that will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs,” Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement.
Meanwhile, oil industry groups have called for the leases to be reinstated.
“As we emerge from the pandemic and move forward with economic growth, it is more important than ever that we seize the opportunity to produce oil and gas here in the U.S. to help avert potential inflationary risks and proactively ensure affordable energy for all walks of life, especially low-income communities,” National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito, whose members include offshore drilling companies, said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, environmental groups questioned the ruling and vowed to “fight the decision.”
“The judge’s order turns a blind eye to runaway climate pollution that’s devastating our planet,” Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We’ll keep fighting against the fossil-fuel industry and the politicians that are bought by them.”
According to the U.K.’s Climate Change Committee, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is “losing the race to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.”
“We will fail on net zero and we will fail to improve the environment overall if we don’t factor in the changes in the climate that are coming in 2050,” said committee chief executive Chris Stark. “Our preparations are not keeping pace with the extent of the risks we face in this country.” The Associated Press has this story.
According to a new study from the International Institute of Green Finance, a Beijing-based think tank, 25 of the 52 overseas coal projects the Chinese government had announced they would fund between 2014 and 2020 have been shelved, while eight have been cancelled.
“The move away from Chinese-backed coal-fired power plants has accelerated rapidly over the past years,” said Christoph Nedopil, author of the paper and director of the institute’s Green Belt and Road Initiative Center. The changes can “accelerate a sustained green energy transition” in the countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, where most of the projects are located, he added. Bloomberg News has more.
In other news, Lundin Energy, an oil and gas exploration firm based in Stockholm, announced it has sold its first “carbon neutral” oil cargo originating from Norway’s John Sverdrup field to GS Caltex, a South Korean refiner, Reuters reports.
“Lundin Energy has…taken the further step to neutralize net residual emissions using high quality, natural carbon capture projects,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “All future net production from Johan Sverdrup will be certified as carbon neutrally produced by Intertek under its CarbonZero standard,” Lundin said.
On Wednesday morning at 9:39 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$71.90 and Brent Crude was going for US$74.02.
A new study commissioned by the Livingstone Landowners Group and led by environmental consultants concluded that proposed mines on the headwaters of the Oldman River Watershed (ORW) in Alberta “would create environmental liabilities that exceed their economic benefits,” the Canadian Press reports.
The authors of the study, Brad Stelfox and Bill Donahue, found that the mines would “pose a serious threat to both the quality and quantity of downstream water, (as) current methods to remove toxins…are unproven over long times and large areas.”
Meanwhile, twenty electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations will be installed at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University, using $100,000 from the federal government’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.
Thus far, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and P.E.I., have been promised funding for over 400 EV charging stations, writes the National Observer.
“(The federal government) is going in the right direction, we just believe they need to scale it up,” said Raymond Leury, president of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa.
Finally, a new report from Stand.earth, an environmental organization, found that fossil fuel subsidies have doubled since John Horgan became B.C.’s premier. The report also revealed that between 2020 and 2021, the provincial government spent $1.3 billion on fossil fuel subsidies.
However, the provincial government urged caution when reading the study. “It does not provide a transparent, detailed breakdown of how they reach their figures,” Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Bruce Ralston said.
“(The) government is undertaking a comprehensive review of B.C.’s oil and gas royalty system to ensure it meets our goals for economic development, a fair return on our resources, and environmental protection,” said Ralston. The National Observer also has this story.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$57.42 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$58.62 this morning at 9:40 a.m.