December 2009 Archives
More Perspectives: Joint Review Panel on Mackenzie Project - Cairo Report #2 - Also, Kudos to Chuck Gray of NARUC
National Journal by Chuck Gray (NGP Photo). NARUC strongly supports improved energy efficiency as the first option for achieving greater energy security, but conservation alone will not be enough to address anticipated demand. To become truly energy independent, Congress and the Obama Administration will need to keep all options on the table—efficiency, renewables, fossil fuels, natural gas, and nuclear. All of these fuels have domestic components, and all must be considered if we are going to wean ourselves from inhospitable foreign energy sources. (See our February 2010 story, 'After The Moratoria Report')
Fox News. International Frontier Resources Corporation, (TSX VENTURE:IFR) today reported that the Joint Review Panel ("JRP") report on the Mackenzie Gas Project ("MGP") was issued on December 30, 2009. The report concludes that the proposed gas pipeline should go forward as it "would deliver valuable and lasting overall benefits for a sustainable future for Northern Canada". The MGP as described in applications to the National Energy Board ("NEB") entails the construction of a 1220 kilometer pipeline connecting gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta and Central Mackenzie Valley to northern Alberta. The pipelines initial capacity would be 1.2 BCF/D; the pipeline is being designed for the possibility of future expansion to 1.8 BCF/D. The JRP report has been filed with the National Energy Board who are expected to make a decision on whether the MGP project can go forward by September 2010. A copy of the report can be obtained at www.ngps.nt.ca.
I nicknamed my security handler, Amad, President Obama (NGP Photo). Turns out, he's famous among the police and other security professionals for just that reason. Amad is a great representative of his country.
Globe and Mail by Nathan VanderKlippe. A decades-old northern dream has taken a major step ahead after the panel that was assigned to review the Mackenzie Valley natural
12-31-09 Cairo Report. Upon arrival at Cairo--after a long but pleasant Egypt Air flight from NYC--found security tight. Many uniformed and ununiformed security personnel all talking intently on headsets to each other, automatic and semiautomatic pistols and mini-guns open and concealed behind bulging suit coats. We are reminded everywhere that folks are trying to live normal lives amid a dangerous world. Egypt copes well with the challenges facing it. America's leaders better wake up, accept this reality and act accordingly. Guides, security detail and citizens are great. Nice hour-long briefing last night before dinner with Dr. Zahi Hawass (Photo with Billy Harbour). Gave him Alaska gifts. He once took the Alaska Inside Passage voyage and was quite animated about his trip. Got great autographs and photos and stories.
On December 24, 2001 we wrote an editorial satirizing the human greed and mismanagement that was interfering with gas pipeline project advancement.
1. International News. This Northern Gas Pipeline began operations this week (...but it is not serving Canada or the U.S.)!
ADN by Don Hunter. Two of the state's top politicians Tuesday said the state should finance an aggressive round of scientific research of Cook Inlet's beluga whales to counter a federal conclusion that the whales are endangered and need special habitat protections. Congressman Don Young (NGP Photo-r) and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo-l), speaking at a joint news conference at City Hall, also said they are asking the government to extend for 60 days a comment period on designating critical habitat for the whales. The Anchorage Assembly earlier unanimously passed a resolution asking for the extension on comments, which now is set to expire Feb. 1. (The Beluga designation is another Obama administration attack on Alaska's economy. See our evaluation of the cumulative effect of the President's economic death by a thousand cuts. -dh
Alaska Dispatch by Jill Burke. "Don't take the word of the federal government, that's the worst thing you can do," U.S. Representative Don Young, R-Alaska, told a group of reporters and Alaska Native business leaders Tuesday....
Washington Post (12/21) reports, “Now -- after a year in which a climate-change summit in Copenhagen fell short of most expectations, and with a climate bill stalled in the U.S. Senate -- the EPA might shoulder more of the burden for an administration with historic environmental ambitions. It has already laid plans to tackle greenhouse gases, smog, "mountaintop" coal mining, and the long-running fight to save the Chesapeake Bay. But the difficulties of dealing with coal ash illustrate why such problems can linger unsolved. "I don 't think I've ever seen this many major proposals coming out this quickly," said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, who headed the EPA's air-pollution efforts under Bush, and works for the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. "They're going to need lots of staff. They're going to need an enormous effort, the likes of which I think they've never seen, in such a short period," said Eileen Claussen of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and a former EPA staffer.
KTUU Anchorage (12/22) reports, “It seems like every few weeks there's been a new twist in what has become a long, litigated process. The Outer Continental Shelf in question is the area 20-70 miles off Alaska's north and west coasts, where offshore drilling proponents say there is potentially 25 billion barrels of oil on tap and another 130 trillion cubic feet of gas. This year, the process of tapping these resources began with senate confirmation of the man who will oversee activity on the OCS. (Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was confirmed in January and promised to visit Alaska as he shaped the nation's policy on oil and gas drilling. Almost immediately, he put OCS drilling on hold, saying he needed more input from communities affected by exploration.
Oil Tax Debate Coming - Wagoner Ponders Bullet Line - Cook Inlet Has Gas; Deliverability Still A Concern
1. Alaska Dispatch by Rena Delbridge (NGP Photo). Some lawmakers say there's a limit to the amount of taxation the oil industry -- which provides 90 percent of the revenue to Alaska's state treasury -- will tolerate. There's a line, they say, and if the state crosses it, oil companies will no longer be willing to keep reinvesting their profits in developing Alaska's resources. That line -- so fine it's invisible -- could be the centerpiece of debate in the legislative session that starts Jan. 19.
2. Radio Kenai by Joe Nicks. Last week, Senator Tom Wagoner of Kenai participated in the special hearing about in-state natural gas and the questioning of the state’s In-State Gasline Chief Harry Noah, who is resigning from the Parnell Administration. Wagoner said he needs more questions answered about the price of natural gas from a bullet line to this region, before he would support it.
3. ADN by Elizabeth Bluemink. Despite recent public debate about future natural gas shortages in Southcentral Alaska, the Cook Inlet area contains enough known natural gas to supply the region's energy needs for a decade or longer, according to a new study by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
2. Slave River Journal by Shawn Bell. In the shadow of the Joint Review Panel's imminent decision on the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline, the GNWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment presented a dire picture of the Mackenzie Valley without a pipeline to proponents in Calgary last week. "I want to provide you with a mental picture of this small town[Inuvik]," Bob McLeod (NGP Photo) said in a Calgary speech on Dec. 13. "It is a town where equipment is idle and silent. It is a town where hotel rooms are empty and coffee shops are closing. It is a town where too many men and women sit idle, too, waiting for something to happen, waiting for the boom to come. That boom was supposed to come with the construction of the Mackenzie Gas Project. But now, on the eve of a New Year, optimism in the MGP has waned." Other links:
Americans Overwhelmingly Favor OCS Development - Inuvik, NWT Doldrums...Pending Mackenzie Joint Panel Decision - Alaska Gas Civil War?
We Continually Focus On U.S. OCS (with revenue sharing) Because Of The Greatest Prospects For New Production Supporting Oil And Gas Transportation Systems And Alaska's Economy! We Keep Another Steady, Concerned And Objective Eye On The Leadership Required To Meet the Awesome Tax, Regulatory And Fiscal Challenges Which Are So Critical To Onshore Investment As Well. -dh
1. Houston Chronicle. A new Rasmussen Reports survey that found roughly seven out of 10 U.S. voters support offshore oil drilling. According to the poll, just 20 percent oppose drilling for oil off the coast of the United States, while another 12 percent of respondents were undecided. The data matches earlier findings by Rasmussen in November 2008. "The American public understands full well that energy stability and security and economic strength and prosperity are underpinned by access to reliable supplies of oil and gas," said Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research. The "report not only reinforces what most of the American people already believe, but should also serve as a wake-up call to the administration, which should move forward aggressively with a commonsense five-year offshore energy plan."
2. Governor Parnell Continues the OCS Battle. The State of Alaska today intervened in federal court to support the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) decision not to list the ribbon seal as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS had concluded that evidence does not support an ESA listing of the ribbon seal, and the state has moved to support that decision against attack by environmental groups. “Today’s intervention in the ribbon seal case is part of our broader strategy of protecting jobs and responsible resource development from environmental groups’ misuse of environmental laws like the ESA,” said Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo).
3. Pipeline Blog. INUVIK, Northwest Territories (NGP Photo-author in Inuvik-2002) - Driving by industrial yards along Inuvik’s icy Navy Road, Jackie Jacobson, an aboriginal guide, hunter and politician, pointed out fleets of idle trucks and clusters of unused oil field equipment.They are the tangible evidence of an economy in limbo, waiting for one of the world’s biggest unbuilt energy projects — the C$16.2 billion ($15.3 billion) Mackenzie natural gas pipeline — to get underway. After decades of setbacks, work on the pipeline has not started, and it’s not entirely clear it ever will. “If there’s another big delay, I think there are a lot of businesses in Inuvik and the Northwest Territories that could fold,” said Jacobson. “There are a lot of people invested into this project.”
4. Alaska Dispatch, by Rena Delbridge. The czar appointed by Gov. Sarah Palin in February to develop plans and permitting for instate natural gas pipelines that the state would sell to a private developer says he needs to spend more time at his Oregon cherry orchard -- which is on target to process three million pounds of fruit this year. But his halfhearted explanation to lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday quickly segued into talk about the "civil war" that Alaska's lawmakers and governors have wrought as they throw millions at a handful of plans, projects and proposals that promise reliable, affordable energy. Harry Noah charged that the "civil war" has set the stage for battles and political infighting between those different groups charged with hitting an awfully similar finish line. ... Rep. Mark Neuman of Wasilla and Craig Johnson of Anchorage called the hearing after another Rep. Jay Ramras, a Fairbanks Republican running for lieutenant governor, fired off a lengthy letter to Gov. Sean Parnell, effectively publicizing a rich drama of the in-fighting Noah described, but also denied between himself and key state department leaders. Ramras' concerns zeroed in on what he described as a battle between those who favor a large-diameter natural gas pipeline through Canada, and those who are set on an in-state bullet line. Noah acknowledged there's not enough demand in Alaska to warrant both. * ADN by Sean Cockerham. Harry Noah said Tuesday he's quitting as the governor's in-state gas pipeline chief amid frustration over a civil war between competing plans for Alaska's energy. He said he concluded the state is "wrapped around the axle." ... Wasilla Republican Sen. Charlie Huggins (NGP Photo) said it looks like Noah is a "casualty of the civil war," and his resignation is a problem for the effort to get North Slope gas to the Railbelt. Anchorage Republican Rep. Craig Johnson said an in-state gas pipeline is the top priority for his constituents, and a replacement for Noah is needed soon.
5. FMC's Overview Of Significant Developments In The Canadian Energy Industry. Article by Doug Black, Q.C., Bill Gilliland, Alex MacWilliam, Miles Pittman, Anne Calverley, Rich Miller, Claude Morency, Cyrus Reporter, Ron Stuber and Jerry Farrell.
Breaking News: Cook Inlet Gas Plant Interruption of Service for Fairbanks With Unknown Impacts On Southcentral Consumers....
Anchorage's Mayor, Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo), began his administration this summer with a goal of addressing energy supply issues. His hard work and planning will pay off when any sort of disruption of service occurs. This particular disruption may have more effect on Fairbanks natural gas customers than those in Southcentral Alaska, but highlights the importance of emergency preparations. -dh