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March 16, 2018

Energy – SciPol Weekly, March 10 – March 16

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Government

Houston Chronicle – Trump's tariffs will cost Texas oil and gas jobs

Tariffs on steel and aluminum will have a heavy impact on employment in Texas, where the number of jobs in the energy industry — which relies on foreign steel and aluminum for rigs, pipelines and other equipment— are nearly double the number of aluminum and steel jobs nationwide. The U.S. can expect to lose between one and 1.5 oil and gas jobs for every single steel or aluminum job saved by the tariffs, said Karr Ingham, an economist who studies the Texas oil industry. 

Inside Climate News – 3 Dozen Shareholder Climate Resolutions Target Oil, Gas and Power Companies

When a group of investors asked Noble Energy, Inc., to report on the risks climate change poses to its business, the company's response put on display how the Trump administration's pro-fossil-fuel stance is swaying the perennial debate.

Politico – Oil industry falls out of love with Trump

The administration’s 25 percent steel tariff, hostility toward NAFTA and fumbled efforts to lift restrictions on drilling are worrying executives, who have praised the president’s war on regulations but loathe uncertainty and nationalistic trade policies.

Richmond Times–Dispatch – Governor signs sweeping utility overhaul affecting 3 million Virginia ratepayers

Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed into law a dramatic overhaul of regulations for Virginia’s two large electric utilities, a change that includes big boosts for grid modernization, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs but also one that opponents contend will make it difficult for state regulators to police billions in utility spending and issue customer refunds.

The New York Times – Trump Rollbacks Target Offshore Rules ‘Written With Human Blood’

Struggling operators in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico are beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s efforts to increase offshore production here — in large part by upending financial, environmental and safety regulations that the companies oppose.

Industry

Greentech Media – Energy Blockchain Startups Raised $324 Million in the Last Year. Where’s the Money Going?

Blockchain is being taken seriously by energy companies. There are now over 70 demonstration projects deployed or planned around the world in the electricity industry alone, according to Metelitsa's tally.

Houston Chronicle – As gasoline demand wanes, oil industry looks to petrochemicals

Texas energy producers hadn’t yet unleashed the flood of shale oil and natural gas that would transform the industry and spur an explosion of petrochemical construction and expansion along the Gulf Coast. But Ron Corn and his team at Chevron Phillips, intrigued by budding oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford basin south of San Antonio, anticipated a seismic shift in domestic energy output and convinced company executives to build a multi-billion-dollar processing plant in Baytown to produce ethylene, a natural gas-derived feedstock for plastics.

Science

Popular Science – This 'acoustic lighthouse' could keep birds from killing themselves on wind turbines

Of course, to draw down heat-trapping carbon pollution, we need to ramp up wind power by an order of magnitude, which will put a lot more birds in danger. Fortunately, it seems scientists have found a fix. Researchers at the College of William & Mary have built an innovative device that alerts birds in danger of crashing into a wind turbine.