Hello again! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,094 words, ~ 4 minutes.
Good listen 2: At this moment in 1988, Tracy Chapman was atop the Billboard album charts with her self-titled debut that provides today's beautiful intro tune...
BP's decision to offload its Alaska holdings highlights the uncertainty around whether the state — once at the heart of U.S. production — will ever regain its crude mojo.
What's next: Hints of the answer will come when the Interior Department sells leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as soon as this year, after a 2017 GOP tax bill opened the region following decades of political battles.
Why it matters: It could hold over 10 billion barrels of oil in a state where the oil industry is a large part of its economic well-being. But, environmentalists strongly oppose drilling in the ecologically sensitive region.
The big question: While BP has signaled that it's done with Alaska, it's unclear how many other companies will look to buy leases in ANWR. Either way, any actual production would likely be at least a decade off.
The big picture: The state has lots of oil in other areas of the North Slope, including the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), which is one of the places where the state's biggest producer ConocoPhillips has acreage.
What they're saying: I spoke with IHS Markit analyst Kareemah Mohamed about the wildlife refuge and the wider future of Alaskan crude.
Turning to the future of Alaska overall, she doesn't expect a return to the "golden years" of huge output (see chart above).
The bottom line: "We would expect to see stable production for the next decade or so," she says. After that, it's impossible to say.
Go deeper: BP’s Alaska exit not a good sign for ANWR drilling (Washington Examiner)
The EPA is expected to unveil proposed rules today that are designed to ease Obama-era rules on methane emissions from the oil-and-gas business.
Why it matters: Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. The oil-and-gas industry is a significant source of emissions from wells plus natural gas pipelines, compressors and other equipment.
The intrigue: Oil companies aren't all on the same page. According to the New York Times, the powerful lobbying group American Petroleum Institute praised the forthcoming plan.
Pew Research Center data shows that public concern about climate change has risen over the last 6 years — but the angst isn't exactly shared across political lines.
Why it matters: The latest survey comes as Democratic White House hopefuls are floating expansive (and expensive) climate platforms, while the Trump administration is continuing efforts to unwind Obama-era policies.
What they found: The percentage of adults polled in July who agree climate change is a "major threat" to the well-being of the U.S. has risen significantly to 57%, compared to 40% in 2013.
Go deeper: Read Pew's full report here.
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Speaking of climate politics, Reuters reports: "U.S. presidential hopeful Kamala Harris’ campaign is finalizing a plan to tackle climate change that will center on cracking down on fossil fuel companies and protecting poor neighborhoods from the worst impacts of global warming."
Tesla yesterday rolled out an insurance line for vehicles in California and plans to eventually expand it to other states.
Why it matters: The electric automaker said it's "designed to provide Tesla owners with up to 20% lower rates, and in some cases as much as 30%."
The big picture: Bloomberg reports that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has "bristled for years at some Tesla customers’ complaints that they’re paying high insurance rates."
What they're saying: Jalopnik's Aaron Gordon writes that it's a "risky bet" in light of Tesla's wobbly finances.
Oil: "Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is set to allow the struggling state oil company to resume joint ventures with the private sector next year, a senior government official said, in what would be a reversal of his previous fierce opposition to the country’s energy reform," per FT ($).
Nuclear: South Carolina's The State reports that an abandoned and very expensive nuclear power project "could be revived by a group of South Korean and U.S. companies."
Greta: "Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City on Wednesday after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to call attention to the need for quick action to save the planet," Time magazine reports.