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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.


12-17-14 Alaska Tightens Its Budget Belt

17 December 2014 10:35am

Alaskanomics, by Caroline Huntley

Governor Walker proposes reduced state capital budget amid falling oil prices

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 08:39 AM PST

Another Payment to the Administration's Environmental Supporters?

Sen. Murkowski Responds to Obama's Withdrawal of North Aleutian Basin from Five-Year Leasing Plan

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Energy, Congress, North Aleutian, Bristol Bay, lease sale, Obama, Jewel, Photo by Dave HarbourWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), today commented on President Obama’s decision to withdraw Alaska’s North Aleutian Basin from potential oil and natural gas activity.

“Given the lack of interest by industry and the public divide over allowing oil and gas exploration in this area, I am not objecting to this decision at this time,” Murkowski said. “I think we all recognize that these are some of our state’s richest fishing waters.  What I do not understand is why this decision could not be made within the context of the administration’s upcoming plan for offshore leasing – or at least announced at the same time.”

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday announced the administration was withdrawing the federal waters of the North Aleutian Basin, located off the Alaska Peninsula, from consideration for oil and gas leasing for an indeterminate period of time. The prohibition will remain in place until lifted by the Obama administration or a future administration.

Murkowski also expressed her strong concerns that the Obama Administration is still dramatically out of step with Alaska’s most pressing needs. 

“It is incredibly frustrating that this administration looks at Alaska – with oil production at a fraction of the level it could be at, and with low oil prices about to force steep across-the-board budget cuts – and decides that conservation is our most pressing need,” Murkowski said. “We are not asking to produce everywhere – but right now, we are not being allowed to produce anywhere.  Despite strong support, we are seeing development blocked in the Chukchi, the Beaufort, in NPR-A, and on the Coastal Plain. What we need are decisions to open lands and waters in Alaska, not the familiar and frustrating pattern of shutting everything down.”

The withdrawal will prevent the federal waters of Bristol Bay from being offered for oil and gas leasing under the Interior Department’s next five-year plan for development of the Outer Continental Shelf, which is expected to be released in a matter of weeks. The Interior Department said its prohibition does not affect commercial fishing or other potential economic activity in the region. Interior previously dropped the North Aleutian Basin from its 2012-2017 plan, so today’s announcement largely represents the continuation of an existing policy.

“I also believe the Interior Department must continue to invest in baseline environmental research to determine the health of fishery and crab resources in the region so that future administrations can make informed decisions,” Murkowski said.

Governor Bill Walker, Alaska, Budget cuts, oil tax, sales tax, personal income tax, Photo by Dave HarbourtGovernor Bill Walker (NGP Photo) discussed his FY2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) budget proposal at yesterday’s Anchorage Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  Having been in the office only two weeks, Governor Walker submitted a $5.3 billion operating budget developed by his predecessor, former Governor Sean Parnell. Walker has not endorsed this budget and his administration is working on its own version. The Walker administration did announce a capital budget of $106 million, pared down from the $220 million capital budget Parnell submitted. With oil prices lower than expected, Walker hopes the decrease in the capital budget will help stretch the state’s dollar and weather a projected $3.5 billion budget deficit for FY2015. Even with the lower capital budget, the state is looking at a similar budget deficit for FY2016, assuming oil prices remain low. Walker, however, pointed out oil prices do swing and is optimistic about the future of Alaska and the opportunities ahead. “We live in one of the most resource-rich states and one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” said Walker. “We don’t have a resource problem. We have a distribution problem. We need a distribution system in place to get our resources to Alaskans and the world market.”

Governor Walker’s team will spend the next few weeks reviewing all capital projects and the operating budget before submitting its final revisions by February 18. At the luncheon, Walker requested the public’s involvement during the budget process. The administration plans to solicit public input on ways to prioritize spending, cut waste and address any inefficiencies as it puts budget plans together.

“I’m confident that together, we Alaskans can manage our way through it,” Governor Walker said. “We need to develop a smart plan so that our children and grandchildren can have stability 30 years from now. We want a plan in place that will not just get us over the hump now, but provide a strong future for decades to come.”

Writing for the Alaska Dispatch, Lisa Deemer writes, "President Obama on Tuesday declared Bristol Bay “a beautiful natural wonder” and designated its salmon-rich waters indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing.

"Environmentalists say the move provides significant protection not just for the iconic Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, but for crab, herring, halibut and groundfish, including the lucrative pollock fishery. And salmon returning to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers pass through the waters that had been considered for drilling."

We would only add that this is yet another long term pay off to the administration's environmental constituencies.  -dh

Oil & Gas Online  

Significant growth in the global middle class, expansion of emerging economies and an additional 2 billion people in the world will contribute to a 35 percent increase in energy demand by 2040, according to a new report released today by ExxonMobil.

As demand increases, the world will continue to become more efficient in its energy use, according to the 2015Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040. Without efficiency gains across economies worldwide, energy demand from 2010 to 2040 would be headed toward a 140 percent increase instead of the 35 percent forecast in the report.

ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy projects that carbon-based fuels will continue to meet about three quarters of global energy needs through 2040, which is consistent with all credible projections, including those made by the International Energy Agency. 


12-16-14 Green Policies May Not Control Climate But Could Bankrupt Countries

16 December 2014 9:03am

Letters to the Editor, by Thorpe Watson PhD.  

The author, Dr. Watson, is demonized by some special interests involved in activist agendas.  We believe his voice should not be muted.  Instead, since many trillions of dollars and the future of many countries is at risk, all voices should be heard and considered by critically thinking taxpayers.  -dh

The History of World World Temperature...for reference of our readers.  -dh

Politicians are now urging us to “fight against climate change”, a phenomenon that has been happening since the beginning of time. This letter examines the authenticity of the challenge taking into account the enormity of the task and the proposed solution relating to the restricted use of carbon-based fuels.

Apparently, the term “global warming” is no longer fashionable because of an increasing awareness of the “warming pause” 18 years ago.

The global-warming narrative had been relying on the 1976 to 1996 decadal warming period, one of the four, naturally-occurring climate cycles. However, some alarmists still use the natural recovery of temperatures since the Maunder Minimum - 1645 to 1715 - as support for their global-warming, alarmist message.

Is this “fight” the ultimate expression of mankind’s arrogance? Or are Canadians being duped into accepting a carbon tax under the false premise that it will stop an ever-changing climate?

Politicians are proposing to fight climate change by restricting the use of carbon-based fuels. This task to stabilize the planet’s climate requires the suppression of four, naturally-occurring, climate cycles.

The decadal – 20 to 40-year cycles. It appears that we are now in a cooling cycle. The last cooling cycle occurred during the period 1940 to 1976.

The millenial – roughly, 1,000-year cycles. Assuming that we have just passed the peak of the Modern Warm Period, we are now experiencing the coolest of the six (6) warm periods since the end of the last glaciation 10,000 years ago.

The glacial-interglacial – 100,000-year cycles. We are now approaching the end of the Holocene Interglacial, which followed the Wisconsin Glacial Period.

The ice age – 150 million-year cycles. The current Ice Age is known as the Holarctic-Antarctic Ice Age and was preceded by five ice ages of variable durations. Ice ages have occurred during 17 per cent of the planet’s existence; that is, the planet is usually free of polar ice caps.

Green energy policies are now being adopted by governments allegedly to stabilize the planet’s climate; that is, “to fight against climate change”.

Such “green” policies discourage the use of carbon-based fuels in order to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (“CO2“). CO2 is an essential plant food and is as important as oxygen and water in sustaining life on the planet. Consequently, these policies are really anti-green. Clearly, CO2 is not a pollutant!

The CO2 content of the atmosphere is a fraction of that contained in ancient atmospheres. Our air/ocean store of CO2 has been severely depleted by natural processes to form carbonate rocks such as limestone. The consumption of all known coal, oil, and gas deposits will not materially replenish this store.

Furthermore, Canada’s contribution to the world’s CO2 emissions is an insignificant 1.5 per cent. The world would not even notice a complete shut down of Canada’s economy. It might notice Canada’s consequential return to an impoverished medieval lifestyle.

In the meantime, China would overwhelm our minuscule CO2 reduction by continuing to commission one or more coal-fired power plants per week.

Ontario provides us with ample evidence that the climate-change/global-warming narrative must be denounced. This province is on the “green” road to bankruptcy.

A carbon tax will simply accelerate the destruction of its economy.

In conclusion, there is no evidence that so-called green energy policies will stabilize the planet’s ever-changing climate. Tragically, Ontario’s self-induced, economic suicide will be a futile gesture.

Thorpe Watson PhD



12-15-14 Federal Endangered Species Decisions Faulty

15 December 2014 10:07am

Federal Endangered Species Decisions Faulty

Congressman Doc Hastings, Endangered Species Act, ESA, Peer Review, Photo by Dave HarbourHouse Natural Resources Committee majority staff released a report today that questions the independence and accountability of  the peer review process in recent Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions.  The report entitled, “Under the Microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species Act listing decisions” studies the federal government’s peer review process for 13 different ESA listing decisions made by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) since July 2013.  The report found numerous examples of potential bias and conflicts of interests with the peer reviewers and a lack of transparency and consistency in the peer review process. 

The decision of whether or not to list a species under the Endangered Species Act has significant implications for the economy and livelihoods of impacted communities and private landowners.  As such, these important decisions must be based on sound science that has undergone an independent peer review.  This report raises troubling concerns about the lack of independence of the peer review process and whether many current, upcoming or recently finalized listing decisions, such as the White Bluffs Bladderpod in my Central Washington district, are scientifically sound,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo). 

12-12-14 Another Northwest Passage: An Arctic Gateway Project? *** White House Overreach Continues

12 December 2014 12:28pm

Consider liking us for more regular alerts on our NGP Facebook Page.  Follow us on Twitter.  -dh

Dave Ramsay, NWT, Northwest Territories, gas pipeline, oil pipeline, mackenzie valley pipeline, Alaska, Photo by Dave Harbour

Petroleum News by Gary Park.  Arctic Gateway, a sweeping initiative to explore ways to move oil and natural gas from Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska to markets in the Asia-Pacific region, will likely be an underpinning of a standalone energy strategy being drafted in the NWT, said Industry Minister Dave Ramsay (NGP Photo).

(See our earlier report, "Another Northwest Passage May Be Viable.  -dh)

Scroll Down For Yesterday's Reports On White House Energy, Etc. Overreach documenting an illogical, harmful attack on American family budgets

Tim Bradner, Governor Bill Walker, AGDC, State Budget, Medicare, Photo by Dave HarbourJournal of Commerce by Tim Bradner (NGP Photo).  On the Alaska LNG Project, another priority, Walker said: “We have met with — and probably again also in the next 30 days — the AK LNG sponsors. We have met with the ADGC (Alaska Gasline Development Corp.) leadership and some of the board members and some of the outgoing administration and had a debriefing with them,” Walker said in the briefing.

Calgary Herald by Mario Toneguzzi.  A new RBC report says slumping oil prices will be a drag on Alberta’s economy in 2015.

Here's a rich source of information on energy regulation: The Cruthirds Report.

NAESB Board of Directors meeting – The North American Energy Standards Board held a Board of Directors meeting in Houston on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.  There were 50 +/- folks in the room, as well as a large contingent on the phone.  As noted in our last report, I was the featured speaker for the meeting and provided wide-ranging remarks on issues and challenges facing regulators and the industry.  Topics ranged from the DOJ’s investigation of Entergy, the Georgia PSC’s $200+ million “gift” to the Southern Company’s shareholders in the Plant McIntosh affiliate abuse case, the sometimes corrosive political influence exerted by some incumbent utilities and the associated ethical challenges for regulators, and the dire need for better gas-electric process harmonization.  Presentation.


The following Advanced Energy for Life article highlights the White House's illogical and harmful attack on America's Constitution.  Meanwhile, keep our 2012 warning commentary in mind as you consider the nexus joining all of these overreach issues -- which provide pretext and precedent for omnibus federal control.  -dh

In his Harvard days, Barack Obama studied under law professor Laurence Tribe. Perhaps the future President spent too much time at the law review and missed the part about limited powers. We say that because Professor Tribe delivered a constitutional rebuke this week to the Obama Administration that is remarkable coming from a titan of the liberal professoriate.

Mr. Tribe joined with the world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, to criticize the “executive overreach” of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. In joint comments filed with the EPA, the professor accuses the agency of abusing statutory law, violating the Constitution’s Article I, Article II, the separation of powers, the Tenth and Fifth Amendments, and in general displaying contempt for the law.

The Clean Air Act doesn’t give the Administration the authority the EPA claims....

As Obama Champions Carbon Tax In Low Price Oil Era, Harper Turns Away From Carbon Taxing.  (Note that in the same timeframe, the White House is illogically killing the Keystone XL project that would provide economic stimulus to both the U.S. and Canada.  -dh)

Calgary Herald, by Stephen Ewart.  

Sure it’s “crazy” talk, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actually being up front about his assessment of climate policy and the oil industry.

Agree with Harper or not, it’s a change from his government’s long history of over-promising and under-delivering on environmental policies and Canada’s global commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However blunt, the prime minister is being unusually honest.

He’s clearly backing away from earlier — always improbable — climate rhetoric.

With the oil price free fall threatening the $60 US threshold, Harper told the House of Commons this week he has no intention of imposing a carbon tax on a nationally important industry, even as Canada falls further behind GHG commitments and the next round of global climate negotiations kick off.


12-11-14 Obama Is SUCCEEDING In His War On Conventional, Reliable Energy Sources

11 December 2014 9:08am

"Obama's Successful War on Conventional Energy Sources"

Investors Business Daily Editorial

WSJ Op-Ed by Congressman Kevin Cramer.  

Pushback against the Obama administration’s complex Clean Power Plan—which would reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30% in 2030 from 2005 levels—has mostly focused on its staggering cost. NERA Economic Consulting, for instance, estimates the plan will increase the nationwide average price of electricity 12% to 17% over 15 years. But a pair of recent reports present an even more ominous picture. Not only will electricity cost more, Americans might not be able to get it when they most need it.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), a regulatory authority that monitors the U.S. and Canadian power systems, released a study on Nov. 12 concluding that the long-term reliability of the U.S. grid in some areas is already at risk. Because of rapid shifts to renewable and natural-gas generation, combined with closures of coal-fueled power plants due to existing Environmental Protection Agency regulations, “reserve margins” in the Midwest, New York and Texas have reached dangerously low levels—meaning an increased likelihood of brownouts and blackouts in the coldest weeks of winter and the hottest days of summer.


We've chastised President Obama many times for failing to live up to promises he made when running for the office. So in fairness, we want to credit him for fulfilling one of them: his pledge to raise energy costs.

In early 2008, candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that "under my plan ... electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Obama was referring to his plan to cap greenhouse-gas emissions, which would, among other things, effectively choke off coal as an energy source. He was just as fond of high gasoline prices, telling CNBC in June 2008 — as gas prices shot up to $4 a gallon — that he "would have preferred a gradual adjustment."

Six years later, and Obama has succeeded.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the energy price index has been higher than the overall Consumer Price Index since December 2010 — 46 straight months and counting.


Why the big reversal? Despite Obama's alleged "all of the above" energy policy, he's declared virtual war on conventional energy sources.

Read Complete Story At -- And Subscribe To -- Investor's Business Daily

Kenai Peninsula Clarion Editorial

The Ambler road. The Juneau road. The Knik Arm bridge. The Susitna Dam. The Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP), known colloquially as the “bullet line.” The large-diameter natural gas pipeline.

Alaska has no shortage of capital-intensive megaprojects in the works, but now the state is scrambling to find funds to cover the basic needs for state operating expenses. As oil prices continue to dip, the fortunes of Alaska’s megaprojects are waning precipitously. 



12-10-14 US Alienates Canada For No Good Reason

10 December 2014 8:58am

Alaska’s Oil Reserves Decline for Third Straight Year; Gas Reserves Down Sharply

US Alienates Canada For No Good Reason!

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 01:08 PM PST

By Blythe Campbell

On December 4, The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued its annual report on U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves for 2013. “Proved reserves” are estimates based on existing economic and operating conditions.

U.S. proved reserves of crude oil increased for the 5th year in a row, to 36.5 billion barrels, with 5.5 billion barrels of new discoveries exceeding adjustments and production of 2.9 billion barrels. North Dakota’s proved reserves have passed the Federal Gulf of Mexico, and are now second to Texas among the states.

For the third year in a row, Alaska’s crude oil and lease condensate reserves declined, with 186 million barrels of production, and significant downward revisions. There were 123 million barrels in positive changes due to upward revisions, acquisitions and field extensions, but no new field discoveries or new reservoir discoveries in old fields. However, Alaska still is in 4th place (behind Texas, North Dakota, and the Gulf of Mexico) at 2.9 billion barrels of proved reserves, or about 8% of the U.S. total.

U.S. natural gas proved reserves increased significantly – to a new record of 354 trillion cubic feet – with 96% of new discoveries coming from extensions to existing fields. EIA says that an increase in natural gas prices contributed to the increase in reserves. Pennsylvania and West Virginia accounted for 70% of the increase in reserves this year with continued development of the Marcellus shale gas play. Shale gas now makes up more than 40% of the U.S. natural gas reserves.

Alaska’s natural gas proved reserves declined from 9.7 billion cubic feet to 7.4 billion cubic feet – a 24% decrease. Production of 289 billion cubic feet was dwarfed by downward revisions of 2.4 trillion cubic feet. EIA attributes this significant reduction to a decline in “associated-dissolved natural gas proved reserves, the result of deteriorating well performance in certain crude oil fields.” On the positive side, though much less significant, acquisitions and extensions added 366 billion cubic feet, and there was 1 billion cubic feet of new reservoir discoveries in old fields.

The EIA’s data in this report is based on a 12-month, first-day-of-the-month average West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot price of $97.78 per barrel, and a natural gas spot price at the Louisiana Henry Hub of $2.66 per MMBtu. Production data are estimates.

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