Good morning and welcome back! Two piece of info before we get to the news. The first is that you can sign up for any and all of the free, breezy, and very informative Axios newsletters here.
The second is that on this day in 1974, Bob Marley and the Wailers released Natty Dread. Let's dive in with an accompaniment from the album . . .
A tweet yesterday from a top Bloomberg editor highlights a message being conveyed by Saudi Arabia amid the turbulence in global crude oil:
"Saudi Oil minister says the world of energy may be changing, but Aramco will survive longest and pump the last barrel of crude."
Why it matters: OPEC's dominant producer, Saudi Arabia, is reacting to a widely perceived threat from U.S. shale oil and forecasts that global oil demand could level off in little more than a decade, and then start to decline. In such a scenario, Saudi and the world's other petro-states — already in their third year of low oil prices — could face even worse fiscal trouble. Saudi is saying: Even if the petro-world does comes apart, they will be the last man standing.
What else they said: At a major investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said worldwide demand for oil is expected to grow 45% by 2050, Reuters reports.
That comment, coupled with the OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo's prediction last week that demand will rise through at least 2040, contrasts with analyses suggesting that greater efficiency, the rise of electric cars and other factors could bring peak demand far sooner.
Battle with shale: In separate comments, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser "says he does not spend much time worrying about booming production from U.S. shale fields," according to CNBC. Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, is preparing for a massive IPO next year and is seeking to maximize its valuation, though several recent reports note that the timing for an international listing could slip.
Where renewables meet the IOT: The latest episode of CleanCapital's Experts Only podcast has an interesting interview with Chris Buddin, a top Goldman Sachs official for renewables and the internet of things.
In Buddin's words...
The future of offshore wind: The latest offering from the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy is a chat with Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski, whose company built the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island.
My Axios colleague Amy Harder has the latest on efforts to unwind Obama-era climate policies...
The Environmental Protection Agency is set to soon announce a two-year delay of an Obama-era rule setting new standards for methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells not yet drilled, according to an EPA official and public filings.
Driving the news: The White House recently completed its review of a proposal that stays the rule, which President Obama's EPA had finalized in May 2016. A senior EPA official told Axios Tuesday the goal was to release the proposal next week, and that it's unlikely to be released this week.
One level deeper: The two-year delay is aimed at giving the agency time to decide to what degree it replaces the rule, according to the EPA official. The oil and gas industry has to varying degrees addressed methane emissions, making this a messier regulatory issue than some others.
More context: One of Amy's columns earlier this year explored how the industry is urging President Trump to not wholly repeal too many environmental regulations.
Puerto Rico controversy: Via the AP, "Members of Congress from both parties on Tuesday called for an investigation into a $300 million contract awarded to a small company based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown of Whitefish, Montana."
FERC: Greentech Media looks at the state of play with Energy secretary Rick Perry's proposal for new wholesale power market rules that would boost compensation for coal and nuclear power plants.
DOE responds: Despite all the criticism, the agency sees a glass half-full. Some comments from press secretary Shaylyn Hynes:
Interior deputy to address climate skeptics: The Heartland Institute, a conservative group that rejects mainstream climate change science, announced yesterday that Interior deputy secretary David Bernhardt will be a keystone speaker at their November conference about the Trump energy agenda.
Where mass transit thrives: I ran across the interesting rapid transit chart above when going through the big Global Mobility 2017 report released a few days back by the World Bank-led Sustainable Mobility for All project. It shows the current dominance of Europe.
Go deeper: The very lengthy report — which looks worldwide at transit access, safety, environmental effects and much more — is available for download here.
Here's a couple of takeaways from the "green mobility" section...