Good morning and welcome back! Situational awareness: President Trump tweeted this morning, ahead of next week's OPEC meeting: “Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!”
And, June is the month in 1970 when Rod Stewart released "Gasoline Alley," so a cut from the really awesome phase of his career (yup) gets us going today...
Semi-submersible oil rig. Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images
Breaking Wednesday: The International Energy Agency offered its first forecast of global oil demand in 2019 — predicting the world will use 1.4 million more barrels per day than it did in 2018. With a caveat: Trade battles could change the mix.
Why it matters: The report is a closely watched analysis of global markets, and this month's offers extended commentary on global trade tensions.
What they're saying:
On the other hand: CNBC's piece highlights other parts of the analysis, noting...
OPEC's role in potential supply gap: IEA also warns of a possible steep combined supply loss from Venezuela and Iran in which — depending on how sanctions shake out — their output is 1.5 million barrels per day lower by the end of 2019.
(We've got more on the OPEC meeting below)
OPEC, part 1: As seen above, Trump tweeted early this morning, complaining about OPEC and oil prices.
OPEC, part 2: Per Bloomberg, "Russia plans to propose that OPEC and its allies be allowed to return production to October 2016 levels, rolling back most but not all of their output cuts within three months, according to a person familiar with Moscow’s thinking."
ExxonMobil, part 1: Via The Houston Chronicle, "Exxon Mobil said Tuesday it plans to create a joint venture with Houston's Plains All American Pipeline to construct a multibillion-dollar pipeline stretching from west of Midland to the Houston and Beaumont areas that would carry oil and condensate."
ExxonMobil, part 2: The company yesterday announced that it has commenced drilling its offshore acreage in Guyana, which is thought to hold massive resources, in order to commence production in 2020.
Oil sands: Via The Globe and Mail, "Canada’s oil sands producers expect to boost their production by 60 per cent over the next 17 years despite concerns about lack of pipeline capacity and more onerous environmental regulations."
New claims: Per the Washington Post, "Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt last year had a top aide help contact Republican donors who might offer his wife a job, eventually securing her a position at a conservative political group that has backed him for years, according to multiple individuals familiar with the matter."
Why it matters: The story is sure to intensify criticism of the embattled EPA boss who is already facing a suite of overlapping ethics controversies. But he has retained Trump's public support thus far.
On Capitol Hill: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members said they don't see the type of threats to the electric power system that Trump administration officials are citing as justification for plans to aid economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear plants.
The intrigue: Here's AP's take on yesterday's Capitol Hill appearance by the five FERC commissioners:
Why it matters: The high-profile hearing signals political, procedural and even legal roadblocks that would face Energy Department-led efforts to aggressively intervene in power markets on the grounds that emergency action is warranted.
"FERC’s newest statements will make it very hard for DOE to win the court appeals that follow any emergency declaration," electricity consultant Alison Silverstein told me in an email.
One level deeper: Silverstein notes that if DOE goes forward with a subsidy plan, it would fall to FERC to come up with specifics on which plants to assist, how much to pay them and other determinations.
"And since FERC has a statutory obligation to set rates that are demonstrably just and reasonable, if it has already said repeatedly that there is no reliability or resilience emergency, it’s possible they could declare that no plant subsidies can be found [just and reasonable]," Silverstein said.
Good read: Utility Dive breaks down the hearing and its ramifications in this story.
KLM Fokker 70 cityhopper plane before its first flight using biofuel in 2011. Photo: Marcel Antonisse/AFP/Getty Images
Axios' Amy Harder reports ... A fuel derived from ethanol is now approved for use in jets, the Energy Department’s national lab in Washington State said Monday.
Why it matters: The global aviation sector is particularly difficult to decarbonize given the sheer energy required to move planes through the sky over long distances.
More details: The department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory worked on the technology with LanzaTech, a company focused on producing fuel from waste products.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
ICYMI: Tesla is planning to cut around 9% of its employees, or around 3,300 people, according to a companywide email sent by CEO Elon Musk yesterday.
More: Read the full story in the Axios stream.
Between the lines: The often brash Musk, who has strongly attacked the media and sparred with Wall Street analysts in recent weeks, acknowledges in the email that some of the commentary about the firm has merit.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable. That is a valid and fair criticism of Tesla’s history to date," he writes.
Flashback: Musk has said that the company will become profitable later this year and will not need to return to capital markets for more money in 2018.
The big picture: The New York Times notes that Tesla has lost money every year since its 2003 founding, and the layoffs are a sign that Musk "is pulling out all the stops to end that streak."
Axios' Andrew Freedman reports ... With May 2018 ranking as the warmest such month on record in the continental U.S., beating out the Dust Bowl May of 1934, the country has extended a much longer heat streak. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the country has had its warmest 3-year, 4-year, and 5-year periods on record through May 2018.
Why it matters: The unusually mild temperatures are one way that global warming is affecting the U.S., as long-term temperatures trend higher. Even if individual months fail to break a heat record, such as April 2018, the long-term trend is clear.
What they found: Recently released NOAA data show that May 2018 was 5.21 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average in the U.S., taking the top spot.
The NOAA report also shows that the past 36 months, from June 2015 through May 2018, had a temperature anomaly of 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average, qualifying as the warmest 36-month period since reliable instrument records began in 1895.
Go deeper: Read his full story in the Axios stream.