Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

HOUSTON — One of the world's largest energy conferences is focusing more than ever on new technologies helping big oil and gas companies cut costs and carbon emissions.

Why it matters: The spotlight on new tech underscores how the high-carbon parts of the energy industry are trying to embrace the future of low carbon and high tech. The extent to which this conference evolves reflects the very evolution of the sector itself.

Driving the news: The conference, called CERAWeek, features first-time interviews with top executives at Google and Amazon Services and also a head of a national laboratory coming for the first time, according to organizers. A technology hub housed inside the conference that began last year is more than triple its initial size.

Bill Vass, vice president of engineering at Amazon Web Services, will be here, and Google is sending its CEO of its cloud business, Diane Greene. Their presence reflects the growing digitization of energy companies.

“Within the Silicon Valley context, she [Greene] is equivalent to any of these big names in energy,” said James Rosenfield, IHS Markit executive and co-host of the conference. “She’s a household name in Silicon Valley, but when I mentioned her name in Houston, she’s less well known except to the IT people.”

I asked conference host and energy historian Daniel Yergin how many times in the past Google and Amazon executives have participated in the event.

“I think I would say a really long time, beginning this year,” Yergin replied with a slight chuckle.

The back story: Pronounced seer-a, CERA stands for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm founded more than 30 years ago by Yergin and Rosenfield in Cambridge, Mass. Since being acquired by IHS Markit in 2004, CERAWeek has grown to more than 500 speakers and thousands of attendees from 70 countries.

The event feels like the center of the global energy universe for a few frenzied days, with high-profile speeches and closed-door deal-makings alike.

The tech hub will include everything from a Formula E (for electric) race car to displays of digitization to augmented reality vertical taxis. There are also 12 events on blockchain, according to Rosenfield.

“We have brought down the average age of CERAWeek by 10 years because we have all these young people involved in startups,” he said.

The sponsors of the tech hub have doubled from eight in its inception last year and now include oil giants Saudi Aramco and Total.

Another tech hub backer is Maana, a Silicon Valley startup with patented technology that encodes human expertise and combines it with companies' data to make their operations run more efficiently, according to its chief marketing officer Azita Martin. Maana opened up a Houston office last year.

Between the lines: Several factors are driving oil companies, historically more conservative than Silicon Valley startups, to embrace high-tech changes. The oil-price collapse of 2014 is one of them, and the world’s move to lower-carbon technologies to address climate change is another.

“A change that might be driven by cost or efficiency has the collateral effect of carbon benefits,” Rosenfield said. “Equally, something that’s driven by climate, that could also have the collateral effect of changing how companies operate.”

The competitive nature of the transportation sector and oil demand, which includes electric vehicles, is also driving innovation. The CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, speaks Wednesday.

Yes, but: This is still Houston, and the oil industry is never going to be a rapid adopter of anything new, given that its operations are based on huge infrastructure that can’t be easily changed.

With the tech hub more than three times its 2017 size and a record number of speakers, the more than 3,500 attendees — itself another record — are bound to miss things.

“My absolute greatest frustration is I can’t go to everything,” said Yergin, who is doing most of the keynote interviews.

That record attendance comes amid a steep price tag that some energy executives complain is too high: $8,250 for the week. That’s $500 more than the past three years, according to a CERAWeek spokesman.

I guess that’s the price for Silicon swag.

Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.