Overnight Energy: OPEC strikes deal to boost crude production | Pruitt sent one work email outside EPA in first 10 months | Perry, oil execs head to gas conference

Overnight Energy: OPEC strikes deal to boost crude production | Pruitt sent one work email outside EPA in first 10 months | Perry, oil execs head to gas conference
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OPEC TO BOOST OIL OUTPUT: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed Friday to increase crude oil production in a bid to stop price spikes.

But there's one big question: how much exactly output will increase.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters after the meeting that the deal was to make a "nominal" increase of 1 million barrels per day, Bloomberg News reported.

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu , though, said the deal is actually to boost output by 700,000 barrels a day in the second half of this year.

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And OPEC's final communiqué from the meeting that did not mention any specific volume amounts.

Trump's role: President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE has been repeatedly pressuring OPEC to increase production. He's blamed the cartel for recent increases in oil prices, which he argued have been artificial and fueled simply by countries' desires to get more money.

"Hope OPEC will increase output substantially," Trump tweeted early Friday. "Need to keep prices down!"

Senate Democrats have also called for OPEC to increase production, as well as blaming Trump's policies and his decision to ditch the Iran nuclear agreement for high prices.

Oil hit nearly $80 per barrel last month, sending gasoline prices in the United States above $3 per gallon in many areas for the first time in years.

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But what do the markets think?: The markets seemed to conclude that the OPEC deal either wasn't a significant enough boost or wasn't certain enough.

Oil prices had already started to increase before the OPEC announcement and they didn't go down afterward.

As of Friday afternoon, West Texas Intermediate crude is up about 4.7 percent for the day to $68.61.

Wood Mackenzie vice president Ann-Louise Hittle said the deal was an important show of unity for OPEC, which was able to keep Iran in line despite disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"Faced with an uncertain supply outlook for two key OPEC members – Iran and Venezuela – and pressure from the US government to address high prices, OPEC delivered an agreement that keeps Iran in the fold, despite its resistance to higher production," she said in a statement.

 

Happy Friday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

 

EPA SAYS PRUITT SENT ONE EMAIL TO AN OUTSIDE ADDRESS IN FIRST 10 MONTHS: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE sent just one email from his official accounts to an address outside the government in his first 10 months on the job, officials said.

The sole email was released recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Sierra Club that sought all of his external emails.

In the Sept. 1, 2017, email, Pruitt responded to a consultant with the Capitol Hill Consulting Group who had invited him to an event hosted by the American Council for Capital Formation.

Two months later Pruitt forwarded an email -- to an address the EPA redacted, citing personal privacy -- asking him to speak at an event.

The Sierra Club previously sued to get the email records after the EPA missed a deadline to produce them.

In a message first reported by Politico, EPA told a consultant for the Sierra Club that those were the only emails it found during the time period the group specified. The group is now asking the EPA to certify in court that Pruitt didn't send any other external emails during those 10 months.

"The idea that Scott Pruitt sent a single work-related external email during nearly a year leading EPA is absurd on its face," Justine Thompson Cowan, the Sierra Club's pro bono consultant for the FOIA litigation, said in a statement. "That's why the Sierra Club is demanding that EPA search Pruitt's personal email accounts for work-related communications, or certify definitively that he does not use personal email or secretive messaging applications like WhatsApp and Signal to circumvent records retention laws."

Read more.

 

THE WEEK THAT WAS: The past week featured some good news for Pruitt, while he and others in the administration kept chipping away at their deregulatory agenda.

Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofePentagon releases report on sexual assault risk Trump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Okla.), Pruitt's top Senate ally, met with him Tuesday, and came away with his fears about the embattled EPA head's spending and ethics scandals allayed.

"There are probably times when he displayed questionable judgment," Inhofe told reporters the next day.

"He's had a wake-up call," he added. "He came into Washington without knowing Washington."

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced that it will bring in Pruitt for a hearing sometime in August.

Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to roll back the Obama administration's policy on oceans and the Great Lakes, which were focused on climate change and conservation.

Pruitt proposed Thursday to formally declare that the EPA doesn't have to write new regulations meant to protect against toxic substances spills in waterways.

And Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeEnergy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills MORE got some good news when a federal appeals court rejected environmentalists' arguments that the Interior Department needs to better analyze the climate change impacts of its coal leasing program.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

Corporate executives and political leaders from around the world will convene in Washington, D.C., next week for the World Gas Conference, the premier annual event on natural gas.

Keynote speakers will include Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryPartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Overnight Energy: House panel approves park funding, offshore drilling bills | Green group putting M into races | Perry applauds Russia boosting oil production Perry welcomes efforts by Russia, OPEC to boost oil production MORE, his counterparts from numerous other countries and leaders from Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co. and other big companies involved in various parts of the gas supply chain.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will take advantage of the international event with a hearing Tuesday on "The Shifting Geopolitics of Oil and Gas."

The House Natural Resources Committee will meet Wednesday to vote on five bills on energy production on federal land and offshore.

The Natural Resources Committee's energy and mineral resources subpanel will hold a Tuesday hearing on three bills dealing with offshore wind.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet Tuesday for a hearing on four high-ranking nominees for Department of Energy jobs.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

A 31-car crude oil train derailed in northwest Iowa Friday, causing oil to leak and spurring evacuations, the Associated Press reports.

United States officials are asking Japan to stop importing oil from Iran, Bloomberg News reports.

Massachusetts's Senate approved a green energy bill, but without a provision that would have established a "home energy scorecard" for houses that are for sale, MassLive.com reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Friday's stories ...

- EPA commissions coin celebrating response to 2017 hurricanes, wildfires

- OPEC strikes deal to boost oil production

- EPA: Pruitt sent just one email to an outside address during first 10 months

- Tesla to close a dozen solar offices in nine states: report

- Trump administration tightens media access for federal scientists: report