Good morning and happy Friday! A quick housekeeping note: Generate will not publish on Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Have a nice weekend and we'll see you back here on Tuesday. Let's dive in...
BP CEO Bob Dudley's overtures could help support Alaska's LNG export project. Photo: Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
My colleague Amy Harder looks at the latest wrinkle in what could become a big natural gas deal...
BP CEO Bob Dudley just visited Alaska to discuss with Gov. Bill Walker the producer’s potential involvement in a massive liquified natural gas export project there, Dudley tells Axios in an exclusive interview this week.
Why it matters: BP’s consideration gives potential credence to the $43 billion project proposed in November, when many analysts had doubted the proposal would actually come through given the lack of details and firm commitments at that time. However, BP produces oil in the Prudhoe Bay region and those natural gas resources could feed the proposed export terminal, Dudley says.
Quoted: “It’s a large resource, and the world is going to need natural gas, particularly Asia,” Dudley said in an interview over lunch Tuesday in BP's Washington office. “We’re exploring with the state ways to make that resource find a market.”
Flashback: The state of Alaska, alongside President Trump, announced in November a proposed deal where China’s biggest state-owned oil company, Sinopec, one of its top banks, and sovereign wealth fund would invest billions of dollars to develop a pipeline and export terminal to export U.S. LNG to Asia.
My colleague Kia Kokalitcheva reports...
Cruise, General Motors' autonomous vehicle unit, plans to mass produce a self-driving car without a steering wheel or pedals by 2019, the company said on Thursday. It says it has submitted a safety report as well as an application to regulators to approve the design, its fourth-generation model.
Why it matters: A number of analysts say that the growth of autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing will be among the forces that spur wider deployment of electric cars.
Caveat: Though 2019 is a year away, only seven states currently allow for driverless cars, and Cruise's home state of California is in the process of passing a bill to allow for this. It has also applied for needed exemptions to federal regulations.
Breaking through: Brent crude oil prices rose above $70-per-barrel for the first time in a little over three years in trading yesterday before falling back slightly, while WTI, the U.S. crude benchmark, also rose to its highest levels since late 2014.
The latest: Via the Wall Street Journal, “Oil prices slipped off a three-year high on Friday after China reported a fall in monthly crude imports.”
Why it matters: Yes, prices remain modest compared to the first half of the decade, which saw prices above $100 in several years. But if prices keep climbing (a big if, to be sure), it could provide a political lift for the White House as it pushes for expanded industry drilling access.
What's next: Keep an eye on the next round of federal forecasts next month to see if the Energy Information Administration again boosts its U.S. production outlook.
Be smart: A note yesterday from RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Tran said global crude market fundamentals have reached their "healthiest state in several years."
Here's a few energy-themed podcasts to keep you company while doing whatever you do with headphones on...
Lay of the land: Amy joined Greentech Media's Energy Gang for a wide-ranging chat about federal and congressional energy policy in the Trump age.
EVs: The most recent edition of More Power To You looks at a multi-stakeholder coalition trying to advance vehicle electrification in New Jersey, and the prospect for similar efforts in nearby states.
Corporate renewable deals: The latest episode of Energy Policy Now, from the UPenn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, looks at the state of corporate deals to directly buy renewable power.
The ANWR mystery: The latest episode of Platts Capitol Crude looks at the history and intrigue around of the most closely held secrets in the oil business, which is the results of the only exploration well ever drilled in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge back in the 1980s.
Focus on fracking: The new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange is an in-depth chat with Daniel Raimi about his new book on the risks and benefits of the U.S. shale boom.
A few more wrinkles in the near-term battle over long-term offshore oil-and-gas development...
Zinke's calendar: Amy reported last night that according to the Interior Department, Secretary Ryan Zinke spoke yesterday with South Carolina's GOP governor, who opposes leasing off his state's coast, and will speak on same topic today with governors of Delaware, California and North Carolina.
The big question: How will Interior ultimately put substance to Zinke's surprise announcement Tuesday that Florida is off the table in the 2019-2024 offshore oil-and-gas leasing plan?
"Interior’s definition of 'Florida' could potentially leave room for the agency to include highly prospective areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) in the final plan," writes ClearView Energy Partners in a note yesterday.
White House posture: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sought to shift the focus away from Florida's vague exemption from leasing in the 2019-2024 plan — which critics call a political gift to Gov. Rick Scott as he weighs a Senate run — and toward the wider White House energy message.
"Look, the President is a massive advocate for America not just being energy-independent, but being energy-dominant. That's just part of that process, is the offshore drilling. That's why it's opened up for public comment. There are going to continue to be negotiations. We're going to continue to look for places and ways that we can make America more energy-dominant."
Renewables: Yale Environment 360 has a good look at the emergence of offshore wind development in the U.S. after "years of false starts and delays." There are several factors driving long-awaited takeoff of U.S. offshore wind, per Yale:
LNG: An interesting blog post at UPenn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy explores the ramifications of the Russian company Novatek's recently launched Yamal LNG project in the Arctic, which is slated to provide shipments to Asia and Europe.
EVs: The New York Times unpacks what the survival of the EV tax credit, which was in jeopardy during Capitol Hill tax negotiations, means for different automakers.Here's a snippet:
Nuclear power: The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the decision by California state regulators that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant will close in 2025.