Jun 30, 2017

How Trump's 6 energy initiatives will impact the industry

AP

President Trump announced six initiatives as part of his administration's self-described Energy Week. Let's break down these announcements and analyze whether they're a big deal.

These are listed in order of possible broad impact on changing the status quo, with the first one having the most potential to change things.

  1. Ease financing restrictions to back overseas coal projects: Trump is reversing a policy President Obama put in place in 2013 that restricted the Treasury Department's financing of overseas coal plants in coordination with international bodies, including the World Bank. This could have a big impact not only directly in terms of what the U.S. government could fund, but also as a trickle-down effect if other countries follow suit.
  2. Open up new offshore oil and gas leasing program: Trump ordered the Interior Department to do this in an executive order earlier this year, so this isn't exactly new. Thursday's move represents the first procedural step in a years-long process, which could have a big impact on oil and gas companies' ability to access offshore reserves in the decades to come. It won't have an immediate impact given the time it takes to bring on big offshore drilling projects and because companies have a low appetite to drill offshore because of low oil prices.
  3. Issuing a study on how to revive nuclear energy: Politicians often call for studies when there aren't more substantive options available or when they want to delay action. A study won't do much for nuclear power, and Trump isn't doing what would help it the most: regulations or a carbon tax making other energy sources more expensive. That said, if it concludes with specific policy measures that the administration acts on, it could move the needle for an industry desperate for any needle-moving.
  4. Approve the sale of more American natural gas to South Korea: Current law gives a near automatic approval for companies to export U.S. natural gas to countries the U.S. has free trade agreements with, which includes South Korea. But Trump speculated earlier this year he may get rid of that deal, which would go against his own goals.
  5. Approve applications to export natural gas from a terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana: This is continuing the approval policy started under then-President Obama a few years ago, and isn't a departure from the status quo.
  6. Approve construction of new petroleum pipeline to Mexico: The State Department, which has jurisdiction over cross-border petroleum pipelines, approved an application Thursday to send about 108,000 barrels of refined oil products (like gasoline and diesel) about 50 miles from Texas to Mexico. This is not a big deal, relatively speaking. The Keystone XL pipeline was originally proposed to carry nearly eight times that amount across 1,700 miles.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,582,904 — Total deaths: 94,807 — Total recoveries: 351,201Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 454,304 — Total deaths: 16,267 — Total recoveries: 24,962Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus. public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide by today if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  6. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  7. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  8. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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How to understand the scale of American job decimation

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Sentence from a nightmare: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a decline from the previous week's 6.9 million.

The big picture: Over the past three weeks, 1 in 10 working-age adults filed for unemployment, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.