Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and First Nations peoples from California to Quebec.

 

Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and aboriginal peoples from California to Quebec.

New Media

Site C’s Slippery Slope

“This is an ongoing concern for me — the lack of separation between the reviewer and the entity being reviewed,” McCullough says. The lines get even blurrier, he suggests, when a key player in the regulatory process has deep ties to both BC Hydro and the Site C project itself.

West Coast letter to EIA re petroleum data collection

“High and volatile fuel prices are driving inflation, burdening our economies, and are having the effect of transferring millions of dollars from family budgets to surging oil company profits. West Coast consumers need to be confident that the markets are operating efficiently and fairly. To achieve this, I urge the EIA to utilize its existing data collection authority to collect additional detailed and timely data to ensure more transparent and accurately priced petroleum markets.”

New Articles

Whither Hydro-Québec?

High above René Lévesque Boulevard in Montreal looms the redoubt of Hydro-Québec — long one of the most secretive utilities in North America. While resource plans at other utilities in Canada and the U.S. can run to thousands of pages — including detailed studies of markets, technologies, loads and transmission — Hydro-Québec’s periodic Strategic Plans have slowly but surely shrunk to a minimalist report announcing their existence, their profound popularity and their contribution to the Quebec economy.

In March, the tiniest glimmer of information was released from la
forteresse d’Hydro-Québec.

Increasing U.S. Oil Production During Ukraine Invasion

Successful oil sanctions against Russia will cause less harm to the world economy if U.S. oil production ramps up. Unfortunately, the U.S. response to high oil prices has been slow and cautious. To meet needs in Europe, the U.S. may need to consider financing support for independent wildcatters in mid-continental oil fields to accelerate U.S. oil production.

One Tomb Raider Good: Two Tomb Raiders Better

The poorly drafted New York contract will probably face many of the same problems that the similarly drafted contract with Massachusetts has had in New Hampshire and Maine. The lack of transparency creates suspicions, the lack of co-operation creates enemies, and the lack of environmental substance creates opponents. All three problems are relatively easy to solve — however, I think we will find that if one tomb raider is good, two are better is the wrong model.

New Reports

West Coast Gasoline Price Excursions in September 2022

In September 2022, West Coast consumers saw the second highest gasoline prices in history even while global oil prices were falling.

Data from the federal Energy Information Administration and the California Energy Commission indicate that production did not decrease during the period of the high prices.

McCullough Research concludes that West Coast refineries’ explanations that unforeseen shortages cause gasoline price increases are questionable, considering that the usual practice is to build inventory to cover sales during operational shutdowns. The attached memo finds little evidence that a supply shortage caused the price spike.

Market surveillance and transparency assure efficient markets, yet the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission do not provide routine surveillance, and until the nation’s gasoline and oil markets are subject to the same procedures that are routine for all other energy markets, the West Coast is vulnerable to market manipulation.

Ensuring Transparency in Petroleum Markets

The economic impacts of the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine have surprised many. The rapid increase in oil prices reflect a legitimate concern that the world’s largest oil ex-porter – Russia – may restrict exports or be subject to international boycotts or embargoes. However, in many cases, public perceptions of the United States and its energy balance have lagged behind market developments. This has led to unfounded fears of a 1970s style energy crisis.

The most effective policy to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine is to displace Putin’s oil exports with enhanced U.S. production while protecting U.S. consumers from unnecessary price increases at the pump.

I have conclusions and recommendations in three areas: transparency, drilling, and windfall taxes

Russian Federation Actions and Intentions at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Project (ZNPP)

On Friday, March 4, 2022, Russian Federation troops reportedly shelled the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia NPP in Ukraine. A reactor was hit, as well as spent fuel storage casks, and a fire was ignited at the training center near the reactors. Soon after, Russian troops seized control of the grounds. As this is typed, troops are currently occupying the plant and, in some confusing fashion, supervising the plant’s opera-tors. Recently, there were reports that communications with the plant — including radio-activity monitoring — had been lost.