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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


21 December 2011 11:14am

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  A countdown is expected to begin within days on a process that could result in Chinese PetroChina taking 100 per cent ownership of a joint venture oilsands project in northern Alberta.  Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. reported Tuesday that it has received Alberta order in council approval on the MacKay River project it is proposing to build with its 60 per cent partner, PetroChina, and is awaiting final endorsement from Alberta Environment.


20 December 2011 10:50am

CTV.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has warned American officials that his government is "serious" about selling Canadian oil to Asian markets, after a U.S. political fight put the Keystone XL pipeline project on hold.  Harper made the comments in an exclusive interview with CTV News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, which will air in its entirety on Boxing Day at 7 p.m.

AP/ADN by Dan Joling.  Conoco Phillips has received a federal permit that will allow the oil company to build bridge and pipeline crossings over Alaska's Colville River and gain access to leases within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

12-19-11 (Personal News Update)

19 December 2011 6:09am

Northern Gas Pipelines was born in 2001.  In 2003, our publisher joined the Regulatory Commission of Alaska for the five-year remaining term of a departing commissioner.  In 2008 he created this new webpage, linked to the archives of the old (Search both archives by entering search terms in the upper left column).  On October 3, 2011, he once again took leave from the gentle readership to fulfill a public sector assignment.  Readers will find regular entries of links below that maintain the chronology of the archives, but no new editorial commentary until this week.  On December 16, 2011, the author completed that assignment and today he once again resumes control of this webpage.  -dh 

Nunavut - Scoop It.  The Shtokman field, one of the biggest natural gas fields in the world, is located way up north in the Barents Sea, 650 kilometers north of the Kola Peninsula on the northwest coast of Russia.  The gas company behind Shtokman -- owned by Russia's Gazprom, French Total and Norwegian Statoil -- expects to make a final decision in December or January on whether to invest tens of billions in the gas field. The gas will be extracted from the sea and transported to the small Russian fishing village of Teriberka, where a gas plant will be built.  From there the gas will be sent south to the large Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, and then on to the European market. Portions of the gas will be cooled and shipped via the Northern Sea Route to Asia.  According to Shtokman, there are 3.9 trillion cubic meters of gas in the Barents Sea north of the Kola Peninsula. That's enough to provide the entire world with gas for a year. The gas field was discovered several years ago. The gas companies' investment would be $36.2 billion, with the Shtokman field up and running in 2016.  (Also, Dispatch)



ADN/AP By NATALIYA VASILYEVA.  Rescue workers are searching for 49 men in freezing, remote waters off Russia's east coast after their oil rig capsized and sank amid fierce storms.


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel was attacked for the 10th time since the beginning of the year.  Sunday's attack did not stop the flow of gas on the line near El Arish in the Sinai Peninsula because it had not yet been restarted following an attack on Nov. 28. The explosion reportedly was detonated by remote control.




18 December 2011 11:12am

ADN by Sean Cockerham.  The Alaska Senate is about to enter a bruising debate over whether to slash how much Alaska taxes oil companies, with Senate President Gary Stevens calling the governor's tax cut plan a giveaway that could cost the state billions with little in return.  

Peninsula Clarion by Molly Dischner.  New natural gas contracts will allow ConocoPhillips' liquified natural gas plant in Nikiski to resume exports next year, a company spokesperson said Thursday.  "We expect about four cargos in the second half of the year," said ConocoPhillips spokesperson Natalie Lowman.


17 December 2011 7:00am

Public Radio.  Communities across the state are pouring over Governor Sean Parnell’s new budget proposal. One project that wasn’t included in the capital budget is the South Peninsula Pipeline, a project that would bring natural gas into the Homer area for the first time.


16 December 2011 11:08pm

ADN.  A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell received federal approval FridayCurtis Smith by Dave Harbour, Shell, Alaska OCS, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi for drilling exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast but with conditions that raised concerns with the state's congressional delegation.  ...   Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith (NGP Photo) said the company is evaluating conditions outlined in the approval, including the stipulation that potentially limits the drilling season.  "We are concerned this unwarranted restriction could severely impact our ability to deliver a complete Chukchi program," Smith said in written comments. 


14 December 2011 7:48pm

 WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2011 - Today the Obama Administration’s Interior Department conducted the first offshore lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since the tragic explosion and oil spill that occurred nearly 20 months ago. With just 17 days left this year, the Administration narrowly avoided making 2011 the first year since 1953 without an offshore lease sale.  

“Acting out of political expediency, not economic necessity, the Department of the Interior finally held the first offshore lease sale of this year. However, don’t be fooled—this Administration has delayed and canceled multiple lease sales that were previously scheduled,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo). “In spite of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that could be created by opening up more offshore areas to energy production, this Administration has repeatedly stood in the way.
“House Republicans have passed three offshore energy bills that would guarantee lease sales that the Obama Administration has delayed or canceled as well as open up the most productive areas of our Outer Continental Shelf for American energy production. While I’m pleased to see this lease sale carried out, the Administration must take immediate action to resume the other sales they’ve delayed and canceled.”


13 December 2011 12:07am

The Wall Street Journal question of the day asks:
 Should we approve the Keystone XL pipeline?  
Alaska Dispatch by Amanda Coyne.  Independent oil and gas analyst Pedro Van Meurs (NGP Photo) is no stranger to trying to help Alaska get its huge reserves of natural gas to market.  He's been trekking north for about 15 years now. He's worked for two governors and has sat through hours upon hours of legislative committees, listening to the seemingly endless partisan bickering over Alaska's taxation policy. The pinnacle may have come in 2005-06, when then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, with Van Meurs's help, introduced a plan to get Alaska gas to market that involved locking in oil taxes for up to 45 years.  Among the results of that push: a monumental federal investigation into Alaska political corruption and the ascension of Sarah Palin.  In short, Van Meurs has been a key player in one of the most tumultuous chapters in Alaska's young history.  Despite all of that, Alaska's vast natural gas reserves still remain buried under the Arctic tundra, thousands of miles from any market. And, according to Van Meurs, that's where the gas likely will stay.

A dead duck?
Unless Alaska takes "extraordinary methods" -- steps that Van Meurs doesn't think Alaskans have "the stomach for" -- the decades-old dream of a large diameter pipeline running from the state's North Slope south to tidewater or into Canada is, in his words, "a dead duck."  He said this on Dec. 7 at a meeting of the Anchorage Chapter of the United States Association for Energy Economics, where Van Meurs gave a truncated version of a two-day legislative seminar he had earlier provided to Alaska lawmakers.  Van Meurs has much to say about Alaska’s tax scheme -- namely that it needs to be revamped -- best explained by Dermot Cole in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.   But his death-of-the-gasline pronouncement last Wednesday was perhaps the most dramatic point.  
He said the market in the Lower 48 will be flooded with shale gas. And before long, the Asian market, which Gov. Sean Parnell recently said Alaska should exploit, will be flooded with gas from Russia, Australia and Canada.  "I can't believe that any country would be crazy enough," to commit to buy Alaska's gas at the price it will need to make it to market through a large-diameter pipeline, Van Meurs said, adding that at least 15 other liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects were vying for Asian markets.  Unless Alaska taxpayers were willing to largely subsidize a line -- or take other extraordinary methods -- the state simply cannot compete with other markets, he said.


12 December 2011 4:42am

ADN commentary by Paul Jenkins.  High taxes cut the flow of Alaska's lifeblood: oil  Read more: http://www.adn.com/2011/12/10/2212663/high-taxes-cut-the-flow-of-alaskas.html#ixzz1gK87U3S4


11 December 2011 8:04am

Alaska Dispatch.  Natural gas should be flowing from Buccaneer Energy’s first Kenai Loop well in a few weeks, according to a report in the Peninsula Clarion. Production will come from an onshore site not far from WalMart, with the gas being sold to Enstar.  Buccaneer Energy, an independent oil and gas company from Australia, has focused on the Kenai Loop project since July of 2010. “This project holds significant upside for the company,” Buccaneer’s Chief Executive Officer Curtis Burton said during a Wednesday teleconference.