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At this moment in 1995, the late and brilliant Notorious B.I.G. was atop the Billboard rap charts with today's intro tune...
Oil prices have been rising this week. But here's the more interesting thing: they're not going bananas these days, not at all, despite a good dose of geopolitical turbulence and market intervention, including U.S. sanctions.
The big picture: Prices are up in recent days (Brent is pushing $62 per barrel and WTI is above $54), but they're still more than $20 below the elevated early-October levels, which were 4-year highs.
Why it matters: It's a sign of an oil market that has been transformed by the rise of U.S. shale production and other forces. Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Sarah Ladislaw summed things up in a tweet yesterday...
"Just wanted to point out that we are living in a scenario where the U.S. is sanctioning Venezuelan crude oil exports (effectively) and Iranian oil exports, OPEC is cutting, Alberta is curtailing, and oil price today is still around $60/54 (brent/WTI)."
The intrigue: I chatted with Ladislaw about why this is happening, when it really should be a cocktail for very high prices right now.
Where it stands: U.S. production, already at record levels, continues to rise and is now approaching 12 million barrels per day. Ladislaw notes that it has consistently been beating expectations.
The latest: Via Reuters, "Oil prices steadied after two days of gains on Thursday, as lower-than-expected U.S. fuel stock rises and U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan output boosted investor confidence but U.S.-China trade tensions weighed on sentiment."
My colleague Amy Harder broke some news last night: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are set to unveil legislation laying out a Green New Deal as soon as next week.
Driving the news: A spokesperson for Markey confirmed the offices are working on legislation, but said there is no final text and timing isn’t set. An inquiry to Ocasio-Cortez’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
The intrigue: It’s unclear to what extent the proposal will adhere to a document circulating that describes the policy in broad strokes and dates back to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign website.
Quick take: Any big legislation is dead on arrival now and GND backers will tell you as much.
Takeaways from the Silicon Valley electric automakers' Q4 earnings report and CEO Elon Musk's newsy analyst call last night...
Going (now): Tesla's CFO Deepak Ahuja is leaving the company, CEO Elon Musk said at the end of an earnings call on Wednesday.
Profiting (barely): Tesla said it was profitable for the second straight quarter, though it reported a slightly smaller profit than analysts expected. The company also reassured investors that it had "sufficient cash on hand" for a bond payment due in March, Courtenay reports.
Arriving (maybe): Musk said a Tesla electric pickup truck could be unveiled this summer. From the site Jalopnik's coverage...
"Royal Dutch Shell Plc came through a quarter of volatile oil prices to beat earnings estimates, delivering a surge in cash flow the company said will underpin 'world-class' returns to investors," Bloomberg reports.
By the numbers: The company on Thursday announced a $5.7 billion Q4 profit and a full-year profit haul of $21.4 billion.
The big picture: Via the Wall Street Journal, "The company’s results reflect a broader effort by the energy industry to be profitable with oil prices at $60 a barrel or lower following the 2014 downturn, when prices hit rock bottom."
What's next: Exxon and Chevron report their earnings tomorrow morning.
Why it matters: It's the latest sign of multinational oil-and-gas giants increasingly investing in the EV charging and battery space.
Details: "Together, the companies will offer best in class software and services that enable large-scale deployment of smart charging infrastructure and integrate efficiently with advanced energy resources like solar, wind and power storage," the companies said in a joint statement.
The big picture: Oil majors, especially the European-headquartered players, have made a suite of moves in EV charging and related tech in recent years, including...
The bottom line: It's part of the industry's wider diversification into renewables and low-carbon tech, even though oil-and-gas remains the overwhelming majority of their portfolios.
A Tesla in Son, Norway. Photo: Sigrid Harms/picture alliance via Getty Images
Axios Expert Voices contributors Magnus Korpaas and Apurba Sakti take stock of the Norwegian government's strong, years-long push for EV adoption via incentives, high taxes on internal combustion cars, charging station deployment and more.
Where it stands: The demand for EVs in Norway — which accounted for nearly one-third of all new cars sold in the country in 2018 — has exceeded their supply, with some consumers having to wait until 2020 or beyond to get their EV of choice.
Why it matters: In a 2016 study, only 4% of Norwegian EV owners indicated that they might go back to internal combustion engine vehicles in the future.
The bottom line: The Norwegian experience with EVs seems to indicate 4 key takeaways...
Korpaas is a professor at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Sakti is a research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative.