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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


2011 Archives


31 December 2011 9:23am

ADN/AP.  Three independent oil and gas companies are drilling new wells and another independent submitted more than 90 bids in a near-record Cook Inlet lease sale in June, the Peninsula Clarion reported Friday. The increased exploration is creating business for the companies that support the oil and gas explorers. Those businesses do everything from drill wells to dispose of waste. Al Hull, from Petroleum Equipment & Services, Inc., said his outfit has felt the increased demand. "This is the busiest I've seen it in a long time," he said.  

Fairbanks News Miner, by Dorthy Chomicz.  A state panel has determined the value of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to be $8.6 billion for 2011, up from a previous figure of $7.9 billion. The increased assessment will mean more money from the pipeline for the Fairbanks North Star Borough (NGP Photo, 10-5-11, Fairbanks Pick-up.  Comment: We use this photo to remind ourselves that the way to sustain the TAPS economic lifeline is to bring on new production from ANWR, NPR-A, Arctic OCS and from less oppressive tax treatment of legacy fields.  -dh), but the exact amount is uncertain at this time.   “Our area has historically been in the vicinity of 7.5 percent of the value of the pipeline,” borough assessor Patrick Carlson said.  Carlson estimated the valuation should increase the value of the total taxable revenue in the borough by $55 million, based on the portion of the pipeline that passes through the borough.


30 December 2011 9:02am


Alaska Dispatch by Jill Burke.  On Wednesday the U.S.Governor Sean Parnell, ESA, Endangered Species, Critical Habitat Fish and Wildlife Service's Alaska region celebrated the act's anniversary with a brief "Happy Birthday!" message on its website, and credited the law with the successful recovery of a handful of animals in Alaska.  But nearly four decades after the act became law it's become a source of ongoing and sometimes escalating   tensions between the state of Alaska and federal regulators.  De-listing species is something Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) likes to see. Regulating more animals under the Endangered Species Act isn't. He's distrustful of the process and has long questioned whether animals up for review truly meet the criteria. "It's easier to prevent a problem than to correct it. To this end we're manning the watchtower and looking for risks of unwarranted attempts to bring a species under the ESA regulatory umbrella," he said in a November speech to the Resource Development Council.
Anchorage Press by Mike Dingman (NGP Photo).  Mike Dingman, Anchorage Press, by Dave HarbourNow that Parnell has re-evaluated his opinion on oil taxes, he has gone to war with the State Senate to pass a reduction in the form of House Bill 110, which is a complete overhaul of the oil tax system. Last session that bill came to a screeching halt in the Senate and is now sitting idle in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.*** In both state and local government we have come to a crossroads. Ideologues on both sides would say it's a battle of good vs. evil, but I think it's simply a time when we, as a nation, will decide which direction we are headed. Heading into the direction of more government control is a dangerous path, and one we will not likely recover from. When we give up our liberties to government, we rarely ever see them returned.  Take this time to contemplate the future-the future of the state, the municipality and your future and think how the actions of both entities will affect your future. Reflect on where we have been and where we are headed. Consider what it is you want from your government, and what you want your government to expect from you. Share those opinions with those you love, those you trust-those in your inner circle. Inspire and foster debate among those close to you and inspire them to do the same.  Write to your representatives, call them or send them an email. Keep them informed, write to them regularly and let them know what you think. No matter how hard your elected officials want to work on your behalf, they can only represent the values of their constituents if they know what those values are.  Then go for a walk and enjoy the snow, drink a cup of cocoa and sit by the fire. Watch the snow fall to the ground and disappear into the untouched expanse. Breathe the fresh, clean air, and appreciate the land where we live. We are, after all, truly in a winter wonderland.  Reflect, get involved and help foster discussion that will lead Alaska into a prosperous direction for the upcoming year and into the future.  (We think Mike Dingman might be among those we will remember as 'the adult in the room'.  -dh)


AP: Federal judge blocks California low-carbon fuels rule, saying it favors in-state producers A federal judge moved Thursday to block California from enforcing its first-in-the-nation mandate for cleaner, low-carbon fuels, saying the rules favor biofuels produced in the state. The lawsuit challenging the state regulations, which were adopted as part of California's landmark 2006 global warming law, was filed in federal court last year by a coalition that includes the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and the Consumer Energy Alliance.

The Houston Chronicle: Help Houston Celebrate Its First Energy Day Festival Since its founding, Houston's success has been connected to the responsible development of energy. This began in 1901 with the discovery of oil in nearby Beaumont and continues today as we lead the nation in renewable energy development. Over time a clear trend is noticeable: Houston is quite literally "the tip of the spear" when it comes to the U.S. energy industry.
The Houston Chronicle: Eagle Ford gas boom luring builders - The housing business remains emphatically average across the major cities in Texas, as home builders continue to pull themselves up from the recession’s lows. But in many small South Texas communities, where oil and gas drilling is booming, housing — of any sort, be it RVs or single-family homes — can’t be added quickly enough.
UPI: Nebraska outlines route for Keystone XL - Nebraskan environmental regulators said they outlined a map for pipeline company TransCanada delineating areas the Keystone XL oil pipeline should avoid. Nebraska has objected to a proposal from TransCanada to build Keystone XL through the state's Sandhills, an area containing the Ogallala Aquifer.
AJC urged President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline construction as a vital step for strengthening energy security, particularly crucial following recent threats by Iran to block a major oil supply channel. "As if to emphasize the need for urgent action, just this week, in direct response to pending U.S. economic sanctions, Iran threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz--a move that, if carried out, would have profound economic and strategic consequences," Harris wrote.
Toronto Sun: Trump Fired Up Over Keystone Pipeline Delays
The White House-delayed Keystone XL pipeline proves Canada’s government trumps America’s, says The Donald. Contacted by the Sun, colorful U.S. billionaire Donald Trump bemoaned what he calls his country’s lack of leadership on a vital economic lifeline. “It’s an outrage our president isn’t approving the Keystone pipeline,” he said through a spokeswoman who reached Trump in Florida.
Most folks don’t realize the depth of the economic problem that fuels cells pose for mass adoption.  Often there are price quotes running in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  That’s because the catalysts of choice are the noble metals platinum or palladium.  These are very rare metals, more so than gold and have considerable market presence already in the automotive field.
Fantastic — renewable energy ‘investment’ is still being touted as a stable job creator in Europe Reuters (12/29/11) reports: Companies have announced plans to invest almost 2.5 billion pounds in renewable energy projects in the UK this year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said on Thursday…The plans could potentially create almost 12,000 jobs, DECC said, and compare with estimates from various consultants of around 2.1 billion pounds for the previous year…"Renewable energy is not just helping us increase our energy security and reduce our emissions. It is supporting jobs and growth across the country," Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said.
Do you think Iowans will support Newt “Mr. Ethanol” Gingrich in four days? It looks like he can also be “Mr. Wind” Politico (12/29/11) reports: Ethanol and wind are getting the bum's rush in the Iowa primary…Energy issues — historically ethanol but increasingly wind — used to be a centerpiece of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, providing a national platform for a state that prides itself on excelling in renewable energy…But the vast cornfields and wind-swept plains of the Hawkeye State, while important to the local economy, have taken a back seat this year…In the past, ethanol was a hot topic in the Iowa caucuses, but in 2011, most of the GOP field came out against ethanol subsidies and greater numbers of Iowans seem to agree with them as larger, more pressing issues such as the economy and the budget take over.
You say you want an energy revolution? North Dakota is still looking ripe The Globe and Mail (12/29/11) reports: Kim Lindsay looks up at the gleaming steel of Precision Drilling Corp.’s (PD-T10.550.141.34%) Rig 560, dusted in snow and towering above the North Dakota prairie, and smiles…“This is hot off the press – been out a month,” said Mr. Lindsay, a U.S. manager with the company. The yellow paint on the rig’s Caterpillar engines is unsullied. The technology is state of the art, with a driller operating a joystick in front of rows of flat-panel monitors that look like something out of NASA mission control. Built in Canada, the rig was trucked across the border to drill for oil.
Canada surpassed the U.S. in economic freedom, but will they also surpass the U.S. in energy production? If they do, will greenies still threaten to move there? Pro Reublica (12/29/11) reports: Early last year, deep in the forests of northern British Columbia, workers for Apache Corp. performed what the company proclaimed was the biggest hydraulic fracturing operation ever…The project used 259 million gallons of water and 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. It was "nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America," Apache boasted… The record didn't stand for long. By the end of the year, Apache and its partner, Encana, topped it by half at a neighboring site.


29 December 2011 8:17am


Energy crises: SNGPL shuts gas supply to Punjab industry indefinitely.  The Express Tribune.  Fertiliser sector not to be affected, but APTMA threatens street protests if gas not resumed. SNGPL blames CNG stations for aggravating the gas load shedding problem for domestic consumers. LAHORE: The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) issued ... 

Oilsands operators boost spending plans for 2012.  Montreal Gazette, By DAN HEALING, Postmedia News; Calgary Herald December 29, 2011 12:00 AM ... US State Department regulatory delays to the Keystone XL pipeline designed to ...
News Max: Rasmussen: 53% Favor Keystone XL Pipeline.  A majority of voters continue to favor the building of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas that congressional Republicans are prodding President Barack Obama to approve in legislation passed last week. Republicans see the pipeline as a job creator, while Democrats view it as an environmental risk. 
The Hill: Greens say President Obama has no choice but to kill Keystone XL pipeline.  Republicans who lobbied aggressively for a measure to force President Obama to make a speedy decision on the Keystone XL pipeline have ensured the project’s demise, environmental groups say. The activists said Obama will be forced to reject the pipeline — which would carry oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast — under a measure in the two-month payroll tax cut extension that requires the administration to make a decision on the project within 60 days.
Baltimore SunPipeline provision in tax cut deal threatens Maryland coastline.  By attaching provisions in favor of a gigantic tar sands oil pipeline to the payroll tax cut legislation, Congress seems intent on putting Maryland's coasts in peril. The Keystone XL pipeline, which is proposed to run from Alberta in Canada to Texas, would not only put vast areas in the West in danger of oil spills, it would also harm coastal states by accelerating fuel exploitation and global warming.
AP: Oil hovers below $100 after US supplies soar.  Oil prices hovered below $100 a barrel Thursday, with a report showing a jump last week in U.S. crude supplies countering concerns about Iran's threat to block a key Middle East oil shipping route. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery rose 29 cents to $99.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.98 to settle at $99.36 in New York on Wednesday.
The Houston Chronicle: Gas prices rise before the New Year
Gas prices rose in Houston after declining to near the sub-$3 per gallon mark last week. The average price of gasoline rose to $3.06, up 3 cents from the week before, according to AAA gas gauge. Texas saw prices also rise 4 cents to settle at $3.09, and the national average is up 4 cents to $3.25.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., the most active U.S. oil and natural-gas driller, agreed to sell a pipeline subsidiary to an affiliated partnership for $865 million. Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP will buy Appalachia Midstream Services, owner of 47 percent of a 200-mile gathering system in the Marcellus Shale formation, according to a statement today. The system transports more than 1 billion cubic feet a day and has 15-year contracts with gas producers.
The "If you mandate it, they will build it" mantra fails Congress yet again Wall Street Journal (12/28/11) reports: Hopes for a surge in production of alternative biofuels are falling flat, and the U.S. expects to continue to rely on corn- and sugarcane-based ethanol to meet a national mandate for renewable fuels in 2012…The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that a tiny fraction—less than one-tenth of 1%—of renewable fuels required to be used in the U.S. next year will come from cellulosic biofuel, based on projected production volumes, despite a congressional target that the fuel made from plant stalks and other inedible materials account for more than 3% of the total…The agency sets volume requirements for renewable fuels every year to implement a 2007 law that requires refiners to use increasing amounts of renewable fuels in gasoline…Cellulosic fuel, which can be made from plant waste such as corncobs, is still far from being able to meet volume mandates laid out by Congress, the EPA said Tuesday, confirming a draft analysis it had published earlier this year. Instead, the agency will require refiners to use other types of advanced biofuels, including sugarcane ethanol, to meet the national standard. 
If you cut off the head, two will grow in its place Chicago Tribune (12/28/11) reports: A resurgent green movement is launching a multi-pronged counter-attack against the shale oil and gas boom in the United States that could slow, though ultimately not stop, development…Building upon their unexpected success in the battle against the Keystone XL pipeline, a renewed onslaught from environmentalists is putting the shale industry on the defensive while adding to costs, limiting expansion and potentially scuttling major projects…"I think it's the totality of what's going on all at once, that's the biggest concern," said Barclay Nicholson, a lawyer for the Washington-based Fulbright & Jaworski law firm, which has represented companies involved in shale development.
The only thing new about natural gas production in New York is the debate on natural gas production. In other words, we’ve been producing natural gas for a long time New York Times (12/28/11) reports: In the heated debate over fracking in New York, it is often forgotten that conventional natural gas drilling has been taking place in the state for decades…hemung County, a place I write about in Wednesday’s Times, has been a leader in gas production in the state and is now poised to become a leader in exploration of the Marcellus Shale. 



28 December 2011 8:36am

Vote Here on Beaufort Sea Exploration (Inuvik Drum, right hand column)

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  (Canada is safe haven for oil investment.)  U.S. State Department regulatory delays to the Keystone XL pipeline designed to take oilsands crude to Texas refineries and a lengthening regulatory process for the Northern Gateway pipeline to the B.C. West Coast represent a risk that could hurt oilsands growth....

Calgary Herald by Dina O'Meara.  The pace of development of vast shale gas reserves in northeast-ern British Columbia accelerated Tuesday after Quick-silver Resources closed a $125-million US deal with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. to build up infrastructure in the Horn River basin.

Smart Planet by Chris Nelder.  The questionable economics of shale gas.

(Wasilla) - Representative Wes Keller, R-Wasilla (State Photo), today announcedRep. Wes Keller R-14 he will file a resolution that sends Washington a message, and asks the other states to join and support organization of a limited authority national constitution convention. The subject of the convention would be to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires approval from a majority of the state's legislatures before the federal debt limit can be raised.  "The timing of the resolution could not be more critical with the federal government spending more and more money that it does not have," Keller said. "The administration just announced Tuesday that it needs another $1.2 trillion. There seems to be no incentive to live within our means. If some control is not put in place this country will be facing the same situation as Greece and Italy. That is a price we cannot afford to pay."  (See this related, 1997 story!  -dh)



27 December 2011 9:11am


Anchorage Daily Planet by Tom Brennan (NGP Photo-l).   I was just wondering what Santa Claus might Tom Brennan by Dave Harbour, oil taxeshave put under the Christmas treeSenator Gary Stevens by Dave Harbour, Alaska State Senate, Alaska oil taxes for Senate President Gary Stevens (NGP Photo), the Kodiak Republican who became mightily miffed when the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Resource Development Council gave him an “F” on their annual report card for legislative performance.

Alaska Dispatch.  AGIA's arbitration out-clause too unlikely to consider


The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the $430,000 grant will pay for having Northern Economics Inc. study the costs of building a distribution system. The study also will identify who is best suited to build and run a system. The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly said the study comes out of concern that plenty of attention has been spent on getting natural gas to the borough but too little on how to get natural gas into homes.  Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2011/12/26/2234368/fairbanks-borough-oks-gas-study.ht...


26 December 2011 11:38am

ProPublica by Lena Groeger.  A bill to strengthen pipeline safety regulations passed the House and Senate last week and now awaits President Obama's signature. 
Gas utility 'advises' people to skip lunch.  The News International.  Domestic consumers of natural gas are losing their right to use the cheap fuel gradually, mainly because of an unfair treatment meted out by the gas utility. Domestic consumers of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline (SNGPL), especially residing in the provincial....

12-25-11 Christmas Day - Praise God!

25 December 2011 10:07am

Accepting the Christmas Story -- as the shepards did -- is the first step toward peace in this life and everlasting life later....  -dh

PNA via ADN by Kristen Nelson.  The volume of North Slope crude oil production may be going down but prices are going up and that means higher state oil revenues.http://tracking.technodesignip.com/?action=count&projectid=642&contentid=17524&referrer=-&urlaction=...


24 December 2011 9:13pm

From the Anchorage Daily Planet.  Each Christmas over the years, veteran Alaska newsman Bill Tobin (NGP Photo, formerly Editor of the Anchorage Times) offered his own Christmas tree to readers. In his memory, we offer it today, below:







                                                      This Eve

                                                 Of Christmas,

                                              We Once Again

                                             Decorate A Little

                                       Tree To Say Thanks To

                                 All Of You Who have Blessed

                                 Us With Your Friendship Over

                            More years Than We Care To Count.


                                                    As These

                                              Have Unfolded,

                                           More And More We

                                       Have Come To Realize

                                       That The World Is Filled

                                    More By Goodness Than It

                                    Is By Evil, And That A Smile
                             Goes Much Farther Than A Frown.

                                                    We Are

                                              Reminded That

                                           It's Better To Light

                                     One Little Candle Than

                                 It Is To Curse The Darkness,

                               And That Mostly Has Been The

                           Mission Of This Little Corner Of The

                    Times For All These Years That We Have

                    Been Enriched By The Opportunity To Be

                     With Faithful Readers, Week After Week.


                                               At Almost

                                        Every Christmas

                                  We Have Offered Here

                            The Holy Prayer Of St. Francis

                         Of Assisi, And With Joy We Do So

                   Again, In Hopes It Reflects Simple Ways

                 We Each Could Help Build A Better World:


                                               Make Me

                                       An Instrument Of

                              Your Peace. Where There

                            Is Hatred, Let Me Sow Love;

                          Where There Is Injury, Pardon;

                    Where There Is Doubt, Faith; Where

                There Is Despair, Hope; Where There Is

          Darkness, Light; And Where There Is Sadness,


                                                O Divine

                                           Master, Grant

                                       That I May Not So

                              Much Seek To Be Consoled

                       As To Console; To Be Understood

                    As To Understand; To Be Loved As To

                 Love; For It Is In Giving That We Receive;

            It Is In Pardoning That We Are Pardoned, And

                                       It Is In Dying That

                                          We Are Born

                                           To Eternal


                                                                                   - William J. Tobin


23 December 2011 7:16am

The Houston ChronicleGasoline may rise above $4 as plants shut down.  Gasoline prices may rise above $4 a gallon next summer as refineries along the U.S. East Coast close, reducing fuel supply, said Edward Morse, New York-based head of commodities research at Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

Getting more oil from Canada, already the largest U.S. crude supplier, would reduce reliance on the Middle East and could make up for expected future shortfalls from Mexico and Venezuela.
Industry analysts Thursday predicted the US Environmental Protection Agency's newly issued Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule, issued late Wednesday, would cause the retirement of roughly 50 GW of coal-fired power plants in the coming years with a subsequent uptick in demand for natural gas form the power sector.
U.S. News and World ReportEnergy Prices Soared in 2011
The year of 2011 had few fond memories for energy consumers. Drivers paid the highest portion of their income in gasoline since 1981, and electricity bills have climbed $300 over the past 5 years. Here are some other lowlights of the past year.


22 December 2011 7:25am

Winter Solstice by Dave Harbour, Chapel by the Sea, Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, Sunset, AlaskaToday we resume our active role in publishing this webpage.  Faithful readers will note that over the past two months, NGP has presented daily weblinks generally following issues affecting northern energy projects in Canada and Alaska.  Having completed his most recent government assignment, the publisher now returns to his other pursuits, including news and editorial writing for this and other media outlets.  Good to 'see' you again!  -dh  (P.S.  Yesterday we documented Winter Solstice with a hundred photos from a number of Anchorage venues.  We posted one here with the Alaska Dispatch, another here with the Anchorage Daily News and shall post others here.

E&E Publishing.  More than 20 years after sinking itsCurtis Smith by Dave Harbour, Shell, Chukchi, Beaufort Sea first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships.  If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay.In preparation for that project, the company is already gathering information for what Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith (NGP Photo) described as "probably the largest environmental impact statement in the history of North America."

ADN/PNA by Eric Lidji by Dave Harbour, Petroleum News Alaska, Cook Inlet ExplorationEric Lidji (NGP Photo).  Buccaneer Alaska would like to drill as many as eight wells around Cook Inlet next year, if it can get the necessary financing, the company said recently.

News Miner by Matt Buxton.  At its meeting last Thursday, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved a $430,000 state grant to pay for the feasibility study of a natural gas distribution network in the borough.  The grant to Alaska-based Northern Economics, Inc., will go to studying the costs of building a distribution system and will identify who is best-suited to build and run a system, whether it’s private, public or some mixture of the two.   The study comes out of the concern that, while plenty of attention has been spent on getting natural gas to the borough, not much — if any — has been spent on how to get natural gas into homes, said Borough Assembly Presiding Officer Diane Hutchison.