Good morning and welcome back.
Today marks the 1975 release of The Band's "Northern Lights — Southern Cross," so that album provides today's outstanding intro song...
Axios data wiz Harry Stevens has an informative feature that closely tracks the congressional contributions of 495 of the country's largest companies — including firms in the oil and power space.
The big picture: The story shows how the petroleum and coal industries (a rough proxy for "energy" in the chart above) heavily favor the GOP, while the utility sector leans Republican too but spreads its money somewhat more evenly.
Why it matters: America's wealthy companies are able to influence elections by financially supporting candidates whose positions align with their values — or who they believe can help their businesses. But even more often, they support both sides, ensuring access to whomever ends up in power.
By the numbers: Employees and PACs affiliated with Fortune 500 companies have given more than $180 million to congressional candidates in the 2017–2018 campaign cycle.
Click here to access an interactive version of the story that allows you to check total giving levels and party split of specific companies.
Photo: Cate Gillon/Getty Images
Shell's profit surged to $5.6 billion in the third quarter, up from $4.1 billion in the same period last year, the oil-and-gas giant announced today.
Why it matters: The haul is the latest sign of how the rise in crude oil prices is boosting the fortunes of the industry, although Shell didn't hit analysts' forecasts.
Where it stands: The company used the report to say it's rewarding investors by increasing its share buybacks to $2.5 billion between now and late January.
What's next: Exxon and Chevron, the largest U.S.-based majors, will report their Q3 results on Friday morning.
Go deeper: Reuters breaks down Shell's report here.
Axios' Amy Harder scooped last night ... Energy Secretary Rick Perry is heading to Eastern Europe next week to make a series of announcements, including a new liquified natural gas deal with Poland, according to an Energy Department official.
Why it matters: Perry’s trip, which includes Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and the Czech Republic, comes as the Trump administration is seeking to balance its conflicting goals of protectionist trade policies and American energy exports.
Details: LNG will be a big focus of the trip, but Perry is also expected to push American cooperation on nuclear energy, cybersecurity and coal. His trip includes a tour of a Ukrainian power plant that received a shipment of U.S. coal last summer.
Reality check: Countries and companies will almost always choose the cheapest natural gas, which is often Russia for much of Europe, given the cost of liquefying and shipping American gas overseas. Asia has been America’s bigger customer.
Another big deal in the oil patch: Encana Corp., a big Canadian firm with substantial U.S. operations, said Thursday that it's buying Newfield Exploration in a $5.5 billion stock transaction.
Why it matters: Per Reuters, it will make Encana one of the biggest shale producers in North America.
The big picture: It's the latest of several big deals in the U.S. sector this year.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Things have turned upside down in the closely-watched House race on the tip of Florida: Republicans are running an advertisement alleging that Democratic candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is beholden to “dirty coal money” and is blocking action on climate change, Amy reports.
Why it matters: The ad shows how climate change is becoming a political concern for the GOP in a district experiencing the real-world effects of it through more frequent flooding. It’s also one of the starkest examples of how climate and environmental issues are resonating a bit more this election than previous ones.
Driving the news: The race at hand is the swing district currently represented by 2-term Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who has parted from most of his GOP colleagues to introduce legislation taxing carbon emissions. Polling shows the race between him and Mucarsel-Powell is a toss-up.
The details: A narrator in the ad, sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, says Mucarsel-Powell's campaign is “flooded with dirty coal money. The very polluters that threaten our way of life in the Keys."
Reality check: The ad doesn't specify what "coal money" Mucarsel-Powell is tied to.
The big picture: The ad shows how electoral maneuvering is out of touch with reality.
Go deeper: Read Amy's full story in the Axios stream.
The number of people worldwide without access to electricity fell below 1 billion for the first time last year, according to newly updated International Energy Agency data.
Why it matters: Expanding essential energy services is a widely recognized worldwide need.
The big picture: Over 120 million people gained access last year, IEA said in releasing a snapshot of data in its upcoming annual World Energy Outlook.
Details: Here are a few snapshots from IEA's update...
But, but, but: Africa remains a major challenge.
Newly released federal data shows that U.S. crude oil production reached 11.35 million barrels per day in August.
Why it matters: U.S. crude production has been at record levels for a while. But this Bloomberg story captures how wild the August data is, noting the 2.1 mbd increase over August of 2017 is the largest year-over-year rise in U.S. history.
The intrigue: S&P Global Platts' Brian Scheid points out something interesting about the new Energy Information Administration figures: Colorado's production has now surpassed California's for the first time.
A solar farm system on the campus of Arizona State University in Phoenix. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images
Washington University in St. Louis' Aaron Bobick writes for Axios Expert Voices ... In next week's midterm elections, Arizona and Nevada voters will decide on ballot measures that would require electric utilities to invest in renewable and clean energy sources.
If passed, these initiatives would work toward statewide goals of 50% renewable energy use by 2030.
Why it matters: According to a special report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Oct. 8, stringent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to prevent potentially catastrophic impacts if the climate warms above 1.5 degrees Celsius. State and federal legislation is essential to reaching this global climate target.
To meet the goals outlined in the IPCC report, global industries — especially energy, construction and transportation — must make "unprecedented" changes to how they operate. In the U.S., this means increasing investment in renewable energy systems.
Reality check: Only 4 states have energy-focused ballot initiatives, and energy continues to be a relatively unimportant issue for voters, ranking behind the economy, security, health care and education.
Go deeper: Read Bobick's full piece in the Axios stream.