9 min read

CERAWeek Day 4 Recap

Watershed's complimentary news roundup from Day 4 of CERAWeek 2023
CERAWeek Day 4 Recap

All this week, Watershed Analytics is posting complimentary news roundups of the major developments and sideline conversations from CERAWeek.

Subscribe to get the daily CERAWeek recaps and other Watershed briefings sent directly to your email.


EPA Administrator Focuses Remarks On CO2, Methane. Bloomberg (3/9) reports EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in his speech at CERAWeek that the US “is working with Louisiana and other states seeking to take the lead in overseeing and permitting injection wells to store carbon dioxide underground.” Regan said, “We’re working with our state partners to ensure that those who can safely deploy can do it in a timely fashion.” Reuters (3/9, Gary McWilliams) reports Regan also said new methane regulations “will go ‘further and faster’ because of funding available from the Inflation Reduction Act.”

New EPA Carbon Rule’s Impact “May Be Limited.” E&E News (3/9, Jean Chemnick) says EPA “is about to finalize a sky-high value for carbon that could be used whenever the federal government leases land to oil drillers or buys new mail trucks,” but its impact on policy “may be limited…without further legal and regulatory changes.”

Feds’ “Seemingly Contradictory” Strategy On Display In Houston. Politico (3/9, Arianna Skibell) reports “the Biden administration’s seemingly contradictory energy and climate strategy was on full display at the CERAWeek energy conference: try to pivot away from fossil fuels, but promote them for now.” To Politico, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm showcased “that paradox” in her remarks. The story refers to a piece in E&E News (3/9, Brian Dabbs), which also indicates that “despite Granholm’s comments commending the fossil fuel sector, she used much of her speech to champion a clean energy transition.”


“Orderly” Energy Transition Is Big “Buzzword” At CERAWeek. The Wall Street Journal (3/9, Carol Ryan, Subscription Required) writes that “one buzzword at [CERAWeek] is the need for an ‘orderly’ energy transition.” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth “warned that moving away from fossil fuels before renewable alternatives are ready to take over will lead to higher prices: ‘You have to be very careful about switching off system A too early.’”

  • Axios (3/9, Andrew Freedman) says “the energy transition is the common thread running through nearly every panel discussion and presentation at the big CERAWeek by S&P Global industry confab this week — but executives don't agree on what it means.” While fossil fuel CEOs say it means investing in cleaner technologies while still “producing more fossil fuels for decades to come,” to Biden Administration officials “it means making those fossil fuels as clean as possible, while pushing for more renewables as fast as possible.”

US-Europe Ties, Future Oil, IRA Dominate CERAWeek. The Financial Times (3/9, Myles McCormick, Justin Jacobs, Derek Brower, and Amanda Chu, Subscription Required) writes that “three of the biggest points of conversation” at CERAWeek have been tensions between the US and Europe on energy as the war in Ukraine drags on, questions about future oil sources, and the role of the Inflation Reduction Act in energy funding.

  • Inside Climate News (3/9, Nicholas Kusnetz) says that while “the past 12 months brought new climate extremes,” speakers at CERAWeek “were focused instead on the war in Ukraine and the painful reminder it delivered of the global economy’s persistent dependence on oil and gas.”

Shell CEO: Industry “Way, Way Behind” In Energy Transition. Upstream (3/10, Naomi Klinge) reports “Shell’s new chief executive Wael Sawan says the industry is ‘way behind’ in energy-transition and energy-security challenges.” Sewan said at CERAWeek, “There’s a lot to be excited about if one looks at the last few years and the progress that has been made in decarbonising and reducing emissions. At the same time, we are way, way behind where we need to be.”

ABS Chief Highlights Shipping’s Role In Energy Transition. Ship Management International (3/10) reports that “in a series of appearances” at CERAWeek, American Bureau of Shipping Chairman Christopher J. Wiernicki “underscored the pivotal role of shipping in driving the global clean energy transition.” Said Wiernicki, “It is ships that will be carrying the hydrogen molecule either as ammonia or other hydrogen carriers and shipping that will be carrying liquified CO2. Our industry will therefore be fundamental in supporting the emerging hydrogen and carbon value chains.”


US Reassures Commodity Traders About Price-Capped Russian Oil. The Financial Times (3/9, David Sheppard, Derek Brower, and James Politi, Subscription Required) reports “the US has privately urged some of the world’s largest commodity traders,” Trafigura and Gunvor “among others,” to “shed concerns over shipping price-capped Russian oil, in a bid to keep supplies stable and regain some oversight of Moscow’s exports.” Russia’s TASS (3/10) agency notes the Times story this morning.

EU Planning Navy Patrols To Protect Marine Infrastructure. The Financial Times (3/9, Andy Bounds, Subscription Required) reports “the EU is considering joint maritime patrols and naval exercises to combat Russian spy ships and protect critical marine infrastructure.” Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU’s environment and oceans commissioner, “said the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline showed the need for increased vigilance of European maritime activity in Europe.”

Ukrainian Anti-Russian Fuel Activist Denied CERAWeek Entry. The Independent (UK) (3/9, Louise Boyle) that Svitlana Romanko, a Ukrainian lawyer “who founded the war-torn country’s leading campaign against Russian fossil fuels, has been refused entry to” CERAWeek. Said Romanko, “On Sunday morning, I received a welcome email with logistics. …  Then at 11am, there was a two-sentence email which said my registration was not accepted and was cancelled. It did not have a signature.” She was later told by event’s “head of security that she was rejected for being an activist.”

Romanko, McKibben Blast “Big Oil.” Romanko and Bill McKibben, founder of Third Act, charge in the Houston Chronicle (3/9, Subscription Required), that “Big Oil’s conduct” with regard to the Ukraine crisis has “beyond hypocritical,” because “these companies helped Vladimir Putin build up the oil and gas regime that is funding his war.” Romanko and McKibben also argue that an improved energy situation in Europe “would upset the fossil fuel forces gathered in Houston this week.”


Granholm: US, EU Discussing Clean Technology Trade Deal. In an interview with the Financial Times (3/10, Derek Brower, Subscription Required), Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said “the US and EU were in talks about a free trade-style deal around clean technology…which could soothe European anxieties that the US’s $369bn in new subsidies for low-carbon energy would suck capital across the Atlantic.” Said the Secretary, “We don’t want to see any trade rivalry. And we’re in discussion with our EU counterparts about how to make sure we can do this in a way that lifts all.”

In Response To IRA, EU Announces Its Own Green Subsidies. The Financial Times (3/9, Javier Espinoza and Sam Fleming, Subscription Required) reports “Brussels will make it easier for EU member states to match subsidies being offered by the US in an effort to keep European companies in crucial sectors from moving operations outside the bloc.” The Times quotes “one person with direct knowledge of the plans” as saying, “This is quick and dirty money to match the Americans.”

Shell CEO: EU Must Stop “Depending On Luck As A Strategy.” Reuters (3/9, Ron Bousso) reports Shell Chief Executive Wael Sawan said at CERAWeek Thursday that “Europe should stop relying on luck for its energy security and build new natural gas import infrastructure to replace Russian supplies.” Said Sawan, “We need to move away from depending on luck as a strategy for our energy needs in Europe.”

Administration Officials, Executives Discuss “Responsibly Sourced” Natural Gas. Bloomberg (3/9) reports Biden Administration officials met privately with energy executives at CERAWeek on Thursday to discuss “a potential framework to govern the certification of so-called responsibly sourced natural gas. … Participants and observers included representatives from ConocoPhillips, EQT Corp., Project Canary, Sempra Infrastructure,” the UAE, and several European countries.

TC CEO: Keystone Operating Within Requirements Of PHMSA Order. Following the PHMSA announcement this week that “it would require TC Energy to reduce operating pressure on more than 1,000 additional miles (1,609 kms) of Keystone,” Chief Executive François Poirier told Reuters (3/9, Stephanie Kelly and Simon Webb) yesterday that “Keystone has already been operating within the requirements of the new order.”

House GOP Energy Package “Aimed At Countering” Biden Agenda. The Washington Examiner (3/9, Breanne Deppisch) reports House Speaker Kevin McCarthy “announced a major energy legislative package Thursday,” HR 1, or the Lower Energy Costs Act, “aimed at countering President Joe Biden’s energy agenda and facilitating greater domestic fossil fuel production.” The package “includes bills meant to speed up the federal permitting process, boost US liquefied natural gas exports, and more generally lower energy costs for people.”


Execs Call For Expansion Of Gas Production, Infrastructure. Natural Gas Intelligence (3/9, Kevin Dobbs, Subscription Required) refers to a “drumbeat from a parade of executives” at CERAWeek calling on the US to “meaningfully expand its natural gas production and delivery infrastructure to meet domestic needs while supporting increasing global demand for American exports.” The story features quotes to that effect by Williams’ Chad Zamarin, Chesapeake Energy COO Josh Viets and Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Scott Culberson, among others.

Executives See Ongoing Clean Energy Challenges Despite Federal Incentives. S&P Global (3/9, Mark Watson, Subscription Required) reports power sector executives said at a CERAWeek panel on clean energy investment that “federal infrastructure and clean-energy legislation enhances the energy transition investment opportunity,” but warned that “challenges remain in addressing supply chain, regulatory and labor constraints.”

“Regulatory Bottlenecks” Seen As Major Obstacle. In a story that also addresses the regulatory hurdles faced by industry in Mexico, Natural Gas Intelligence (3/9, Christopher Lenton, Subscription Required) reports that at CERAWeek, “one major theme was the growing difficulty in constructing new natural gas infrastructure in the United States due to regulatory bottlenecks.” Said EQT Corp. CEO Toby Rice, “We’re not asking the government for a dime,” but “the market right now is broken.”

Industry Critical Of Cap On IRA’s Aviation Fuel Carbon Provisions. Reuters (3/9, Stephanie Kelly) reports energy executives said at CERAWeek that “the five-year shelf life of US tax credits for lower-carbon aviation fuel,” included in the IRA, “is too short to anchor development of the nascent industry.” LanzaJet Chief Executive Jimmy Samartzis, for example, said, “Having a policy that expires at that five-year mark really doesn't help.” Meanwhile Devin Mogler, a senior vice president at Green Plains Inc, “said he expected the tax credit would be extended past 2027.”

NextEra Turns Attention To Hydrogen. Hart Energy (3/9, Velda Addison, Subscription Required) reports CEO John Ketchum said at CERAWeek on Wednesday that NextEra “is eyeing hydrogen as its next frontier for growth.” Said Ketchum, “Hydrogen is a perfect way to store renewable energy for use by companies in the power sector.”

RNG Focus Turns From “Land Grab” To Marketing. Reuters (3/9, David French) reports executives said at CERAWeek this week that “the land grab for the best sites to gather renewable natural gas (RNG) from landfills and dairy farms is largely over,” with developers now focusing on “marketing the fuel for uses including in transportation and power generation.”


Trinidad And Tobago In Dragon Gas Field Talks With Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Stuart Young told Reuters (3/9, Marianna Parraga) on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference that his country “has held substantive talks with Venezuela on developing the promising Dragon offshore gas field following a U.S. authorization to begin the long-stalled project.” Young “is planning a third visit this month to Caracas to talk with Venezuela's Energy Minister Tareck El Aissami and Pedro Rafael Tellechea, president of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA.”

Shell, Petrobras To Collaborate On Identifying Upstream Business. Upstream (3/10, Amanda Battersby) reports “Shell and Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras have agreed to collaborate on identifying new upstream business, decarbonisation opportunities and social and environmental initiatives.” Meeting at CERAWeek, “the companies’ respective chief executives Wael Sawan and Jean Paul Prates on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding for the agreement, which has a five-year term.”

  • Offshore Energy (3/10, Melisa Cavcic) quotes Shell CEO Wael Sawan as saying, “As Shell celebrates our 110th anniversary of working in Brazil, this exciting agreement reinforces both the significance of the country within our global portfolio, and our strong partnership with Petrobras.”

Libya’s NOC Planning Licensing Round In 2024. Argus Media (3/9, Aydin Calik) reports “Libya is gearing up to hold an oil and gas licensing round in 2024, the country's state-owned NOC chief Farhat ben Gudara said this week” at CERAWeek. The bid round “would be the first since 2007 and signal Libya's return to business after more than a decade of political instability.”

Petronas Wants Malaysia To Become Regional CCS Hub. Upstream (3/10, Xu Yihe, Subscription Required) reports Petronas CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik said at CERAWeek that “Malaysia will emerge as regional hub for carbon capture and storage and is forging international partnerships to make sure this happens.” Said Taufik, “The ambition is not only to serve Malaysia storage of high emission industries but also others in, in Asia particularly.”

PT Pertamine, Chevron Sign CCS/CCUS Agreement. The Chemical Industry Digest (3/10) reports “PT Pertamina (Persero) and Chevron New Energies International Pte. Ltd. (Chevron New Energies), have signed a Joint Study Agreement (JSA) to examine the feasibility of carbon capture storage and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCS/CCUS) in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.” The agreement “was signed on the sidelines of CERAWeek 2023.”

TES CEO: “Piggybacking” On Gas Infrastructure Key To Hydrogen Expansion. Natural Gas Intelligence (3/9, Jacob Dick, Subscription Required) reports TES CEO Marco Alverà sat at CERAWeek that “plans to build a global hydrogen market would accelerate decarbonization efforts” but need to work in tandem with existing natural gas infrastructure. Alverà said the solution for TES “would be ‘piggybacking’ on gas infrastructure, using carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestered in carbon capture projects to mix with its hydrogen produced with renewable electricity.”