Senate Shoots Down Offshore Drilling Bill
The U.S. offshore oil and gas industry almost had a victory in a congressional bill that would have expedited exploration and drilling permits in U.S. offshore plays, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium instated in the Gulf following the BP spill crippled not only oil and gas producers, but the several support businesses that serve as integral components in the oil and gas supply chain. However, the U.S. House of Representatives bill to expedite production in the region was not approved by the U.S. Senate.
The permit would have sped up the permit process for offshore licenses following the recently lifted moratorium. It would have also promoted the sale of canceled leases to bidding parties.
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The Senate verdict was ultimately 42 to 57—18 shy of the 60-votes necessary to approve the bill for further inquiry. While it was the Senate’s Democratic majority that ultimately saw the demise of the bill, five Republican party members crossed party lines to vote the bill down.
While congressional Republicans feel the bill would have helped reduce prices at the pump, Democrats believe that boosting domestic production will in the longrun have little impact on bringing down gasoline rates. Democrats also cite safety and environmental concerns as reasons for not approving the bill.
Louisiana’s Republican Senator David Vitter believes the bill didn’t go far enough to expand drilling into the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida and the Pacific coast, stating “[It] increases the burdens and requirements and hurdles of even the new Obama regulations that have been put in place since the BP disaster." Vitter, along with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (Democrat) both argue that the bill wouldn’t direct royalties from offshore drilling to those states where the drilling occurs.
Since June 2010, the Department of the Interior has issued 53 shallow-water permits, after new safety standards were imposed. 14 deep water permits have been approved since February 2011.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.