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      This is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaskan and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. We update it daily for you. It is the most timely and complete northern energy archive 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 name others existing before 2001.  -dh


October 2009 Archives

Gas Pipeline Q&A

17 October 2009 3:11pm

Dan Fagan and Dave Harbour Discussed 'All Things Oil & Gas' Last Friday (Hour 2)

Alaska Dispatch by Rena Delbridge.  Tuesday night, State Pipeline Coordinator Mark Meyers and Division of Oil and Gas Director Kevin Banks will answer gas pipeline questions at Begich Middle School.  

Respectfully, Is The Federal Administration Crazy?

16 October 2009 7:34am

Don't Forget to Write the Feds Today for Alaska's Sake (Click Here)!

Juneau Empire by Pat Forgey.  Murkowski (NGP Photo) wasn't re-elected, but was he right?

Today's story in progress and will be released by this weekend....

This morning on CNBC Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not focus on the tremendous domestic oil and gas potential of Alaska and the Lower 48, on- and off-shore.  Instead, he focused on three energy policy 'drivers': reducing dependence on foreign oil (i.e. not by producing more of our own), creating more green jobs and global warming.  The way he is approaching  this whole energy issue is perfectly consistent with the way an irresponsible Administration is proceeding as well.  I used the term, 'crazy', above because the totally illogical and suicidal energy policy that this country is adopting has to be that or a more devious, intentional effort to strip America of her wealth, her way of life and, indeed, her national security.  Alaska's energy policies are also irrational.  

In short, both Alaska and America will will economically wither until dramatic energy policy reversals occur.  Let me explain.


U.S. Energy Policy.  


Alaska Energy Policy.

Mackenzie Pipeline Never Been Closer - American Readers: Please send in those two letters today!

15 October 2009 6:45am

NGP Photo by Calgary Herald.  Despite years of delay, an Arctic pipeline has "never been closer" to fruition, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) said Wednesday.  ... Inuvik Mayor Derek Lindsay said he doesn't want to see any further delays. Local businesses are banking on a pipeline to kick-start the economy.  Lindsay is counting on his support for the project to help him get re-elected in a civic election next week. He lived in Inuvik after the last attempt at the pipeline fell through and said he's hopeful for a positive outcome this time.  "I don't want to see that happen again, it crippled this town for 10 years," he said. "This JRP thing is long overdue. . . . I don't want to see us go backwards, for God's sake. Once the pipeline gets the green light, there'll be a lot more activity in town and in the Beaufort (Sea).    


Many Alaskans Have Cared to Act!

Comment -dh:  This week we have warned of Federal government threats to the economies of the United States and Alaska...and given you information on how to weigh in.  Please weigh in.  If the legal record is strong with your comments on the importance of domestic energy in general and OCS in particular, it will be harder for bureaucrats to create new, restrictive rules.  Remember, that without future OCS throughput the life of TAPS is prematurely shortened and a future gas pipeline's throughput is compromized--not to mention the rather immediate hit on Alaska's economy discussed yesterday and over the previous week (scroll down) in more detail.  Here's how to be involved.  Below, is how several of our thousands of readers have become involved:

Big Chance To Weigh In On Future Of Alaska's Economy and Lifestyle! In Canada, Government Delay is Also Part of the Problem

14 October 2009 12:21am


By Marie H. Buchinski, Kelsey J. Drozdowski, and Celeste M. Hutchinson
In Canada, the federal, provincial and territorial governments have assumed a role in the development and operation of various energy projects, particularly those that have the potential to impact the environment. This separation of jurisdiction between the levels of government, arising in part from the division of powers under the Constitution Act, 1867, has demonstrably contributed to regulatory delays regarding project approvals because of the sometimes difficult task of coordinating the review of the project amongst the levels of government, and even within one particular level of government....   ***  NNS by Guy Quenneville. In what the GNWT is calling "a big step forward," the NWT Chamber of Commerce has successfully pushed three key NWT infrastructure developments with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which will now lobby for those projects - as well as reforming the NWT regulatory regime - with the federal government.   (Alaska could learn from their NWT neighbors.  -dh)



Last week I wrote about Federal threats to Alaska's economy and America's way of life...and how you can join me in acting to stop the threat.

This week my corporate, government, education, Alaska Native, youthful, disabled and retired friends should be feeling a certain presentiment, a foreboding coolness in their bones: and it is not the chill of winter...yet.  I'll explain.

Don't you agree it is indisputable that TAPS throughput is declining toward zero at a rate of about 4-7% per year?  And, our State's operating budget is  rising and almost totally dependent on oil and gas tax and royalty revenue?  And, without ANWR, without a big new discovery, without a gas pipeline in the next few years and without a miracle, Alaska will be facing an economic meltdown...unless we experience a dramatic, successful OCS exploration program, with a 37.5% revenue sharing provision like Gulf of Mexico states enjoy? 

Here's what might be causing those chills, that sense of foreboding: two Federal actions whose comment periods close in a week could shut down that OCS potential, leaving Alaska high and dry, half depopulated and destitute within a decade.  One envisions the once proud, independent 49th State becoming a ward of the Federal government before its 60th Anniversary.

Yesterday, I sent a personal email like this to every member of our Legislature, our Governor and our Congressional Delegation (NGP Photos: Governor Sean Parnell and Senator Lisa Murkowski (above), Senator Mark Begich (above-r) and Congressman Don Young (r)).  It will be interesting to see who responds.  Meanwhile, anti-domestic energy advocates are sending comment letters in by the hundreds to these agencies.

If you agree with me, it is essential that you add your TWO brief letters (email format) to the record of these TWO PROCEEDINGS AS INDICATED BELOW (Scroll down under the 'Read More' link).  Then copy your letter into the comment section below...or email it to me.  (NGP Photos, reader Mary Ann Pease and the Alliance's Graham Smith, who just dispatched a letters)
Keeping the faith for a prosperous Alaska!

Investors Business Daily Supports OCS - Reader Makes Points

13 October 2009 7:09am

Retired Joint Pipeline Office geologist Joe Dygas gives us this O&G Journal tip and editorial remark:  Oil and natural gas are indispensable in a growing world energy market, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to make gas roughly half of its total production by 2012, its chief executive officer said on Oct. 8.   “This is not merely a shift in our portfolio. Increasing natural gas production and transportation by liquefying it and shipping the LNG to global markets means that more natural gas will be available to displace coal as the fuel for power plants,” Peter Voser said in an address at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Dygas' Comment: Note Shell's production to be 50% gas by 2012. Industry is clearly ramping up its gas production both in US [lower 48] and overseas. Alaska' s politicians fail to understand the competition they are dealing with while they waste time.)

IBD Debunks NOAA's OCS Advice

Environment: With much of the world still feeling the sting from last year's oil shock, a group of federal scientists is encouraging Washington to limit offshore drilling. Its counsel would best be ignored.  

10-12-2009. Beware Beelzebub's Enticements! With Sen. Lindsey Graham Caving In and NOAA Weighing In, the Cumulative Attack On Alaska-US OCS Domestic Energy Gains Momentum!

12 October 2009 6:29am

Two Federal agency threats to our way of life require our letters TODAY.  Please write, and send us a copy here.

LA Times, by Jim Tankersley and Josh Meyer. The federal government's top ocean scientists are urging the Interior Department to drastically reduce plans to open the coast to offshore oil and gas drilling, citing threats to marine life and potentially devastating effects of oil spills in Arctic waters. The recommendations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are informal and not binding. But if adopted, they would restrict development in some of the nation's most resource-rich untapped offshore areas and mark a significant departure from the pro-drilling policies of the George W. Bush administration. They also give added -- and official -- weight to environmentalists' concerns.   (Commentary: With NOAA ‘informally’ weighing in against OCS energy exploration and production the cumulative harm against America’s economy and national defense is increased.   ***   Politico.  The insidious nature of the anti-domestic energy bloc is awesome, we conclude, after today noting that Sen. Lindsey Graham has joined with Sen. John Kerry to propose a 'Cap and Trade' approach that will supposedly allow more oil and gas and nuclear development.  Presumably, the President's and Congress' withdrawal of the OCS moratoria areas a year ago should produce more domestic energy, too, except that the cumulative, administrative actions we have described work in symphony to thwart any meaningful, new domestic energy production.  One would warn Senator Graham to not be rope-a-doped into this Faustian bargain which will surely produce higher costs for the oil and gas industry and consumers and result in even less domestic development.  However, the promised support for oil and gas and nuclear will surely be blocked, after cap and trade passes, when the cumulative effect of the administrative actions we identify is even more fully focused against domestic energy production.  Beware Beelzebub's enticements.  -dh)
P.S.  Bloomberg.  Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental advisory group to aid policymakers.  Soros, 79, also will establish the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based organization to which he will donate $10 million a year for 10 years.  “It will be part advisory service, part policy developer and part watchdog,” said Thomas Heller, who is heading the initiative. Heller is a professor at Stanford University Law School in Stanford, California, whose expertise is in energy law and regulation and environmental law.  Its goal is to look after the public interest as policies and programs are created to address climate change. The group will work in the U.S., Europe, China, India and Brazil, he said.  (We add to our list of cumulative attacks on domestic energy this new initiative and wonder if American companies are matching Soros' $100 million investment with support for pro-domestic energy advocacies.  We fear not.  -dh)   
Alaska Dispatch, by Rena Delbridge.  Cook Inlet Region Inc. proposes coal to gas plant.

Retired Alaska Economist Comments on Alaska Gasline Inducement Act

09 October 2009 10:42am

Alaska Dispatch by Rena Delbridge.  A complex deal between the state and TransCanada Corp. to spur construction of a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline has done little to make the project more commercially viable and could put the state at financial risk, a former state petroleum economist says. Speaking at an oil industry gathering Thursday in Anchorage, Roger Marks (NGP Photo) said

Hundreds of Citizen Responses To Federal Government Assaults On Domestic Energy Are Pouring In -- Pro-Energy Opinions Needed!

09 October 2009 9:09am

1.  Clean Air Act Permit - EPA - Shell.  (Please comment here prior to October 20

Example: 10-8-09.  Rick Braun, Anchorage.  Sirs:  I thought the comment period had closed already, but since it is still open I wish to say that the permit SHOULD be issued and soon.  The exploration of the Chukchi Sea by Shell can be done safely and will result in significant  additions to our state's economy and the nation's energy resources. Both are vital.  I do not see any need to restrict Shell's ship operations by monitoring measures that are not applicable to all the other ships operating in the Chukchi Sea area.  I also do not see how you can separate the emissions by Shell from all others in the Sea and those being born on the winds from surrounding landmasses. So the only point to denying the permit is to obstruct exploration. Why would you do that when the state and the country needs jobs and energy?  Please issue the permits.

2.  Testimony for White House Ocean Task Force.   (See all previous comments and add your comment here before October 17)

Cumulative Federal Actions Threaten Alaska and the Nation!

08 October 2009 4:15am

Updates to "cumulative effects":

  • 03-15-10.  Governor Sean Parnell's (NGP Photo) Battles with the Federal Government
  • 12-23-09.  Sullivan and Young Fight Beluga Designation
  • 12-08-09.  Alaskan and American Consumers are Endangered Species
  • 12-16-09.  Council on Environmental Quality Interim Framework for Marine Spatial Planning (Ocean Policy).


Dateline, Biloxi, by Dave Harbour.   Last week I editorialized about how current  Washington attacks on domestic energy are cumulative, and threaten the economies of Alaska and the country.  This week, I appeared before the IOGCC (Scroll down to see meeting reports) in my volunteer role as a member of the Board of Advisors of Consumer Energy Alliance.   In that presentation, I stressed to commissioners the much broader effect energy shortages and higher prices have on consumer budgets than the immediate pain felt with the arrival of higher utility and gasoline bills.  The impact on American families of bad energy policy is felt indirectly as trucking, airline, farm, seafood and vitually every other product and service begins to pass on higher energy costs to the family bill payer.  
I concluded with this:
I close with this example of the challenge we face to America’s way of life.  It is the challenge of defying death by a thousand cuts.
Initiative after federal initiative seem contrived to be more than the honest effort of well intentioned administrators.   You be the judge.
In this year alone…consider this:
 Last April, Interior Secretary Salazar traveled to Ocean City, New Orleans, Anchorage and San Francisco to personally conduct MMS 5-year plan lease sale hearings.  Believe me, it was full court press.  Environmental activists were all dressed up and picketing and so were our domestic energy supporters.  I testified along with others who took the Secretary on faith that after receiving the comments, he’d timely act to approve a lease sale program.  Since the September 21 deadline, we’ve heard only that the Secretary is in no hurry….  His decision could stop OCS exploration in its tracks or seriously hogtie it--even though the Congress and President over a year ago removed drilling restrictions in response to $147/barrel oil.
In August, a White House Ocean Policy Task Force, created by the President, visited Anchorage and held a hearing.  I again testified that the President had given this group the responsibility of developing an Ocean policy—virtually the most comprehensive and complex natural resource policy in the history of America—within 9 months.   A hastily developed “ocean policy” could establish zones where no oil and gas activity could occur virtually without debate and without the Consumer Energy Alliance and other watchdog groups, consumers would not likely know – or agree with – the values which their tax dollars or increased energy costs would pay for.
In September, an EPA group visited Alaska to take testimony on whether it should grant a Clean Air Act permit to Shell Oil.  I testified as a former regulator that having read all of the pleadings I was convinced that the EPA would be derelict in not immediately issuing the permits.  I testified that extending the comment period and further delaying the process could delay by a year Shell’s 2.3 billion dollar investment into Alaska OCS exploration.  I testified that extending the comment period could jeopardize the due process rights of those who responsibly testified on time.  All 20 witnesses that day testified in favor of immediately granting the permits.  Last week, the EPA announced that it was extending the comment period in response to a petition for extension.  The petition BY A GROUP KNOWN AS “EARTH JUSTICE” began:
“On behalf of Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon Alaska, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund (organizations), we hereby request an extension of the October 5 deadline for written comments to your office’s proposed air permit for Shell’s exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea.”  
I anticipated such a tactic and wrote in my September 25 testimony to the EPA: 
In beginning I wanted to express appreciation for the logical and fair course Mr. Albright set when, in answer to my question a few moments ago, he said that, “Just because we make changes in the permit requirements based on information gained during this comment period doesn’t mean we will have another comment period.”
As a former regulator, I sympathize with your desire to make sure the public interest is served and believe that extending this comment period or creating a new one would raise serious ‘due process’ questions. We all had the same opportunity to comment. At some point, for all potential commenters the deadline comes and goes and we either have or have not responsibly responded. It would be unfair to those who timely responded to learn that we might have had more time to prepare our testimony. 
Add to the above three initiatives… litigation by anti-domestic energy advocates within environmental groups and oil industry property tax recipients in the North Slope Borough.  Add another barrier by global warming advocacies to limit domestic oil and gas activity by designating as endangered species, polar bears, walrus and whales—which are never attacked by the U.S. oil industry but which are annually killed by subsistence hunters.  And we haven’t even mentioned the cumulative additional pressure of low carbon fuel standards or cap and trade legislation…or other big legislative proposals not directly attacking energy producers….but affecting them and their consumers.
Yes, beware the cumulative effect!  After all, how many times can this grandfather come out of his cave and testify?  How many times can company resources support exhaustive commenting  activity?  Will citizens grow weary of our ‘calls to action’ to ‘write your congressman’ when those calls come so much more frequently now than ever before?  Will opponents to a reasonable American Domestic Energy Exploration and Production effort win by using their political power to bring upon the rest of us a slow 'death by a thousand cuts', a continuous, well funded, environmental extremist-governmental juggernaut that continually keeps the private sector on the defense and off balance?
I won't apologize for giving my U.S. readers this call to action.  I know it is an inconvenience to write one or two letters.  But if you thought your family's security or nation's economy could hinge on whether you wrote a letter or not, you'd write, wouldn't you...especially if you knew that either one of the bureaucratic initiatives below could stop OCS in its tracks and bring Alaska ant the country to their knees, economically? 
I believe the situation now to be that serious.  Anti-domestic energy advocates have superb grassroots and networking capability as noted above...and their well funded representatives now--for the most part--are controlling Washington.
CALL TO ACTION!  Here's what to do today: write two letters, noting the deadlines below:
THANK YOU!!!!           dh 

IOGCC Ends with Resolutions - Governor Perry Takes IOGCC Leadership - BC and Alberta Review Incentives -

07 October 2009 12:01pm

Biloxi Round-up, by Dave Harbour (NGP Photo, with Arnold Jackson of Danbury Resources).  The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission was born in an age of intense emotional and economic dissent over a half century ago, at the dawn of the modern American oil and gas industry.  Authorized by an act of Congress to help states better coordinate the efficient removal of energy resources, the IOGCC today carries on a proud tradition of coordinating best practices among its over three dozen oil and gas producing states' members.   Below, the Dallas News quotes remarks made by the new IOGCC President, Governor Rick Perry of Texas. The philosophy Governor Perry brings to IOGCC for his 2009-2010 term is consistent with Governor Brad Henry's (NGP Photo-l) 2009 approach, noted here, " The IOGCC advocates for environmentally-sound ways to increase the supply of American energy. We accomplish this by providing governors of member states with a clear and unified voice to Congress, while also serving as the authority on issues surrounding these vital resources.  The Commission also assistsstates in balancing a multitude of interests through sound regulatory practices. Our unique structure offers a highly effective forum for states, industry, Congress and the environmental community to share information and viewpoints to advance our nation's energy future. We stand dedicated to securing resources needed to ensure our nation's energy, economic and national security."  North Dakota Commissioner Lynn Helm (NGP Photo-r) with support from Executive Director Mike Smith NGP Photo-l) conducted the business meeting wherein the resolutions adopted were generally consistent with the leaders' philosophy.  They included positions in support of oil and gas research initiatives, Congressional action in support of hydrocarbon development in ANWR, education of students in petroleum sciences, regulatory approvals for long-term natural gas pipeline and sgtorage agreements, among other actions.  (Scroll down for earlier stories.  More coming Thursday and Friday....)

Dallas News by Elizabeth Souder.  The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a voice against climate change legislation, named Gov. Rick Perry chairman (NGP Photo with IOGCC Associate Executive Director Gerry Baker).  Perry, who doubts humans contribute to climate change, has used the issue to campaign for reelection. In a speech to IOGCC members in Biloxi, Miss., he called a climate change bill being considered by Congress "the single largest tax in the history of our nation," and warned the bill would trigger massive job losses and inflation.He said: "It is great to be here in Biloxi, in the company of people who have a clear understanding of energy based on science and experience, not assumptions and paranoia."

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  After a year of numerous royalty changes from governments in both Alberta and British Columbia, researchers at investment bank Peters & Co. felt the time was right to revisit, reassess and update.Their verdict is . . . B.C. still has the more attractive royalty regime on comparable Montney formation horizontal Dawson-type wells.  Alberta has brought in Band-Aides aplenty to help the oil and gas sector after its new royalty framework started at the worst possible time last January. There's the optional transitional royalty program, a drilling incentive program that pays $200 per metre on qualifying wells until April 1, 2011, and a new well royalty reduction.