Situational awareness: "Russia has rejected a Saudi-led effort to deepen OPEC’s oil production cuts in response to the deadly coronavirus in China, cartel delegates said Thursday." (Wall Street Journal)
And at this moment in 1993, Digable Planets hit the top of Billboard's rap charts with today's cool-as-hell intro tune...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
This morning the oil-and-gas giant Equinor rolled out new climate plans that include a pledge to cut carbon intensity (that is, emissions per unit of output) by at least 50% by 2050.
Why it matters: The 2050 commitment covers not only emissions from its own operations, but the vastly larger pollution from the use of its products in the economy, known as Scope 3 emissions.
Where it stands: The Norway-based multinational also said that it plans to grow its renewable energy portfolio by a factor of 10 by 2026, targeting 4-6 gigawatts of capacity.
What's next: BP, a bigger global player than Equinor, will unveil updated climate plans next Wednesday, which, per Reuters, are also expected to include some kind of Scope 3 element.
Quick take: Equinor's announcement signals that addressing Scope 3 is quickly becoming the new table stakes at a time of growing pressure on the oil industry.
The sector has been expanding its investments in low-carbon tech and startups, but that remains a very small fraction of overall spending.
What they're saying: "Equinor's announcement substantially raises the bar for how BP's commitment will be judged," Andrew Logan of the sustainable investment advocacy group Ceres tells Axios.
"Anything that doesn't include a substantial commitment to lower Scope 3 emissions will be seen as falling short," he added.
An AI company with energy applications is emerging from stealth mode with $10 million from backers including VC arms of Chevron and the Malaysian oil giant Petronas.
Driving the news: Worlds, a spatial AI company being spun out of the firm Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, announced the Series A funding led by Align Capital.
The intrigue: It's the first disclosed investment from San Francisco-based Piva, the recently launched VC firm that's a Petronas subsidiary but is structured to operate independently from the Malaysian company.
What they're saying: Piva CEO Ricardo Angel, in a new blog post, said companies like Worlds can play a "critical part" in the energy sector's future.
"We’re seeing many corporations in verticals such as oil and gas, manufacturing and logistics, investing in hardware solutions often generating too much data without getting valuable insights," he writes, making the case that companies like Worlds can help make sense of it.
The latest Energy Information Administration weekly data shows that U.S. crude oil exports have averaged above — usually well above — 3 million barrels per day for 12 consecutive weeks.
Why it matters: The weekly data that runs through the end of January is a sign that 3 million-plus is the new normal for U.S. crude exports.
The intrigue: Politically, it raises the stakes of the White House race. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both called for ending U.S. oil exports as part of their climate platforms.
But, but, but: Yes I know the weekly data is noisy. But on a multiweek basis it is consistent with more complete monthly data, which arrives after a lag.
Exports averaged over 3 million barrels per day in November, the most recent period in the monthly tallies, as well as October and September.
Flashback: Legislation to remove heavy export restrictions was enacted at the end of 2015.
Climate: "Siemens has been criticised by its largest external shareholder for failing to consider properly the 'breadth of risks' it faces, as the German industrial group comes under intense scrutiny for its involvement in an Australian coal-mining project." (Financial Times)
Earnings: "Total SA’s fourth-quarter profit beat even the highest estimate as record production offset the impact of slumping natural gas prices and strikes at its French oil refineries." (Bloomberg)
More earnings: "Norway’s Equinor reported a smaller-than-expected drop in fourth-quarter core operating profits on Thursday as the startup of a major new oilfield partly mitigated the impact from weak European gas markets." (Reuters)
Shares of Tesla closed down more than 17% on Wednesday, shredding more than $27 billion in market cap value, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
But, but, but: Tesla’s stock is still up more than 60% since the beginning of the year.
Where it stands: Tesla is down almost another 4% in premarket trading.
Go deeper: Tesla shares crater 17% after coronavirus delays Model 3 deliveries (CNBC)