Miss a day
Miss a lot


      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


January 2012 Archives

1-31-12 Taxpayers Pay For Enviro Attacks On Economy

31 January 2012 2:34am

Yesterday the EPA announced it is seeking public input on two draft waste water discharge permits for oil and gas exploration activities in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.  The comment period closes March 30, 2012.

Fairbanks News Miner by Dermot Cole: The Army Corps of Engineers has submitted a draft Environmental Impact Statement to the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed 737-mile gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Cook Inlet.

On Wednesday, February 1st the Natural Resources Committee will hold a Full Committee markup on the energy portion of the American Energy Infrastructure & Jobs Act, legislation to link new American energy production with high-priority infrastructure projects.  

President Obama put his own political need to keep the votes of environmentalists ahead of the country's needs when he killed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline ("White House says no to oil pipeline," Jan. 19). The pipeline would have created tens of thousands of badly needed jobs, and it would have been a reliable source of energy from a friendly country.

Taxpayers Pay For Enviro Attacks On Economy
Scores of public employees in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and around the world are using their official titles and organizations to urge the Obama Administration to stop Alaska's Arctic energy exploration programs.
Dave Harbour
Pew LogoThe PEW Environment Group writes on its webpage that, "In 2009, more than 400 scientists signed a letter to the President asking for a time-out on oil and gas development in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. This letter was extremely well received and contributed to the Obama administration’s decision not to offer new oil and gas leases and to temporarily suspend exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean.  Download 2009 Letter".
(Here is our documentation for characterizing the Obama administration and environmental activists as ‘allies’.)


That while Alaska continues to support free speech, we financially support messages consistent with the policies established by Alaska’s Constitution, the Legislature and the Administration. 

That certain University of Alaska Fairbanks research funding be cut.

That any state Wildlife funding for the North Slope Borough be cut.

That any state funding for the Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska at UAA be cut.

That funding for certain inappropriate Alaska Department of Fish and Game activities be cut.


This current letter referred to a June 2011 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report, “An Evaluation of the Science Needs to Inform Decisions on Outer Continental Shelf Energy Development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska.”
Readers will note that the letter lauds 62 recommendations flowing from the study.  These recommendations include gathering further physical and biological environmental research in the Arctic, studying certain aspects of the ‘life history’ of important species, creation of new data management systems, etc.
But the letter doesn't simply laud USGS work.  A careful reading shows that it urges a violation of the rule of law, the regulatory process, and outright rejection of the permitting process.  The existing permitting process applying to Alaska is already the most stringent in the world.  It is reasonable.  And, it is underway following the good faith issuance of leases to lessees in return for billions of dollars in bonus bids.  
The letter concludes by UNREASONABLY recommending that no “new oil and gas activity in the Arctic Ocean” be authorized until the Administration follows through, “…on its commitment to science by acting on the USGS recommendations.”
In short, the federal government should pour hundreds of millions of dollars into Universities of Alaska and California while most major economic activity grinds to a halt and the US Government defaults on its obligations to lessees.
And, grind to a halt, it will, for production from federally controlled lands in the Arctic provides a great deal of the prospective new production to extend the life of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and support the national security of our country.  In fact, the Alaska Arctic provides the greatest potential for new domestic oil finds anywhere in America.
Without Shell’s 2012 Beaufort and Chukchi exploration moving forward, a loss of momentum could derail the projects for decades and irreparably harm America’s economy and Alaska’s survival as an independent state.  Without a transfusion from Shell’s exceptionally well planned effort, TAPS owners will at some point decide that the diminished production fails to justify continued operations.  Without TAPS, Alaska loses well over a third of our entire economy and the government loses nearly 90% of its general fund.
We’ve noted that at virtually all federal environmental hearings since the Obama Administration took control, University of Alaska professors have turned out  to encourage a stop to oil and gas activity until the government funds a massive, ecological baseline research program, presumably operated by them and benefitting them. 
We now connect the dots between those hearings and this month’s letter, signed by many of them.  It is an environmental activist strategy which, in large part, we pay for with public dollars funneled through Academia.
Our remedy is to encourage our elected leaders not to pay for activities that debase our economy and threaten the lifestyles of our children.
Since some of this activism also emanates from private university professors, the remedy in that case deals with withholding voluntary university contributions not restrictions of public funding.
Yet, we do not hear thesePat Gamble, University of Alaska, Photo by Dave Harbour ‘scientists’ are being concerned about the economy that sustains them. 
In any case, we urge the President of the University of Alaska, Pat Gamble (NGP Photo), and his chancellors to work with the Legislature to cut public funding for programs detrimental to the future of Alaska and her children.
Surely we all support academic freedom inside the ‘academy’ just as we support freedom of speech throughout our society.  But citizens also have the freedom not to fund unreasonable voices raised in unison against our society’s economic survival, due process and the rule of law. 
Upon analysis, the "573 scientists" named in the letter include some private and some public employees:  Several dozen who work for environmental groups; a whole bunch working for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; scores working for universities around the world; several dozen Canadians; one who works as a wildlife biologist for the North Slope Borough; one working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; and one who apparently works for the Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska, University of Alaska - Anchorage.
The PEW authors try to cover for their letter signers by saying, "The scientists who have signed this letter have done so in their personal capacities. Institutional affiliations are provided only for identification purposes, and do not imply any institutional position on Arctic Ocean policy."   However, anyone signing a politically charged letter like this -- which ends up being used by the White House to support an energy policy decision -- surely knows that his or her name would mean nothing without the reputation of his or her institution and title attached to the name.  
These folks can say whatever they want on their own time.  We think most readers will agree, however, that we are not obligated to support their outrageous, anti-Alaskan economic activity with our public dollars while they cloak themselves the good names of our institutions.
No, we shouldn’t fire Alaskan or California or Canadian public employees for using free speech, but neither should we be stupid enough to fund their budgets with public dollars they employ to destroy our economy and way of life.




30 January 2012 2:47am

Steve Forbes Wows Alaskans!

Alaska Dispatch by Alex DeMarban.  Apocalyptic natural-gas nightmare still a concern for Southcentral Alaska

Petroleum News by Kristen Nelson.  House plan combines existing bills, wraps ANGDA into AGDC with same board

This January 2012 message from the Chairman of the Retired Public Employees Association, Bob Doll, reflects why it is critical now to both cut government spending and improve the investment climate leading to sustained economic growth, as Steve Forbes advocates below.  The State of Alaska owes $4 billion to the Teachers’ Retirement System and more than $6 billion to the Public Employees Retirement System.  Those debts  represent deposits which the state should have made into PRS/TRS, but did not, and interest which it should have earned on the trust funds, but has not.  As bad as it may be at the moment, the state’s obligation will only increase in the years to come.  Entire message/  (Comment: One wonders why the public hears of no bills in the Legislature to completely pay off PERS/TERS liabilities with over $10 billion in current state savings accounts--and thus free our children of that debt.    -dh)

Factbox: Enbridge pipeline to the Pacific: facts and issues - Reuters - (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc's Northern Gateway pipeline is aimed at opening up lucrative overseas markets for surging Canadian oil sands production, but it has become highly contentiousLarry Persily, Federal Coordinator, By Dave Harbour as Ottawa and the oil companies that support the project seek to fend off opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.

From Larry Persily (NGP Photo), the Federal Coordinator's office: The public can offer input on the environmental impact statement for the proposed $32 billion to $41 billion Alaska natural gas pipeline project during seven meetings scheduled between Jan. 30 (TODAY) and Feb. 13. 

Forbes Notes

Dave Harbour
Dan Sullivan, Anchorage Mayor, by Dave HarbourLast week the Anchorage Economic Development Commission (AEDC) convened one of the largest luncheon meetings in Anchorage's history as Mayor Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo) and publisher Steve Forbes gave 1500 patrons a lot for their money.
After Sullivan revealed exceptionally strong statistics comparing Anchorage's quality of life with that in other cities, Bill Popp (NGP Photo), President Bill Popp, AEDC, by Dave Harbourand CEO of AEDC noted that AEDC forecasted 1,100 jobs would be added to the Anchorage economy. “We were a little off but happily so, as we expect that Anchorage will end the year with about 1,500 new jobs added to the economy,” stated Popp. “Last year was Anchorage’s second year on the growth track since 2009. As we move into 2012 all signs indicate that this trend will continue.”
Forbes (NGP Photo, with Junior Achievement members) entertained the audience with a non-stop barrage of commentary targeted to Alaska's particular ecomic challenges and America's general economic roadblocks.  He later autographed his books after posing for this photo with the students.
On Alaska, Forbes said that the State had the worst energy tax structure in the world -- except for North Korea.  "With a sustainable tax structure," he said, "you attract investment and get the hay while the haying is good".   "If we get a change in November, maybe ANWR will be opened and not just be a place reserved for mosquitoes."
On America.  "This is not the 'new normal',"  Forbes said, "it is the 'new abnormal' and there is no excuse for it.  I love the Washington excuse," he said, "that if you have a financial crisis 'the economy will be slow'."  He described the stability a gold standard gives an economic system.  He spoke of the rising value of gold during the last decade as compared with the relative stagnancy of stock values--due the increased liquidity provided by the Federal Reserve and overall government spending.

HOUSTON, TX: Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), has partnered with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association andColorado Farm Bureau to host the upcoming 2012 Colorado Election Energy Summit being held on February 6, 2012 at the Colorado School of Mines.  The event will be the first in the U.S. presidential race to discuss the importance of responsible energy development for the nation’s economic future and move towards increased energy security. This release not only announces the event, but also welcomes presidential candidate Rick Santorum as a featured, and confirmed, guest.

Huffington PostAlaskan State Representative Submits Resolution To Turn Central Park Into Wildlife Refuge - Republican state representative Kyle Johansen (NGP Photo) Kyle Johannsen, Ketchikan, ANWR, Central Parksubmitted this hilarious resolution Monday to the state legislature asking the federal government to, "declare Central Park to be a wilderness area and to prohibit any further improvement or development of Central Park unless authorized by an act of Congress." (Comment:  Rep. Johannsen does have a point, as from the Alaskan point of view, members of Congress from northeastern states who regularly oppose natural resources development in Alaska do not have to deal with a substantial percentage of their home states locked up as national parks, wildlife refuges, national monuments, national forests or wildnerness areas like Alaska does.  - AG)




29 January 2012 9:25am

ABC News: Boehner: House Will Likely Attach Keystone Approval to New Jobs Bill - Speaker John Boehner says that the House will try again to tie approval for the Keystone pipeline project to a new jobs bill being introduced next week
The News-Tribune: Ian Urbina Untapped natural gas estimates lowered by 40 percent - The difficulty and uncertainty in predicting natural gas resources was underscored last week when the Energy Information Administration released a report containing sharply lower estimates in the Lower 48.
Juneau Empire: Pat Forgey Low taxes for more oil: Will it work this time? - The drilling in Cook Inlet, and the big finds already announced, are part of a legislative effort in recent years to use tax credits to have the state pick up much of the cost of new exploratory drilling.
Fairbanks Daily News–Miner: Ross Adkins Propane, a bridge to gas: Obtaining 'wasted' product from Slope could be the key - Harold Heinze, the outgoing CEO of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, says that there is an abundance of propane on the North Slope readily available for use.
Oil Online: Oil majors launch spill response program - The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) announced the formation of the Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Program (JIP) at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway.


28 January 2012 11:37am

Fox Business: Conoco To Shut Down More Natural Gas Output In '12 Due To Lower Prices - Conoco Phillips (COP) said Wednesday it plans to shut in only a small portion of its natural-gas production in Canada and the lower 48 states due to lower commodity prices as the bulk of its production is tied to oil liquids output and is still profitable.
AOL Energy: Margaret Ryan No More Slow Boat To China For US Liquefied Natural Gas - Widening of the Panama Canal, due to be completed in 2014, will allow most LNG tankers to transit the isthmus and make natural gas from Gulf of Mexico ports "instantly economic" to transport to high-price Asian markets.
Industrial Fuels and Power: Ian McInnes The Arctic – gold rush tempered by harsh corporate realities - Climate change is opening up one of the last frontiers for hydrocarbons on our planet. The Arctic could hold around 25% of undiscovered oil and gas reserves and the fact that the ice is retreating for whatever reason means that the region could be set for rapid change and development as exploration, production and infrastructure will have an inevitable, irreversible impact. (Comment:  The Arctic will be opened for exploration for hydrocarbons regardless of what the climate does. - AG)
Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects: Bill White  The three worlds of natural gas prices - Buyers of natural gas pay a vastly lower price in Europe than they pay in Japan. In the United States, the natural gas price is vastly lower yet. This wild disparity in prices is a relatively new phenomenon.


26 January 2012 7:39pm

Energy Digital:  The return to the gulf - But according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (NGP Photo), the new five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), including frontier areas such as the Arctic. In addition to the Gulf, offshore drilling in Alaska will recommence under the supervision of the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). 
Fairbanks Daily News Miner: by FDNMstaff Lawmakers share alternative vision for oil tax reform - At the start of the first full week of the 2012 legislative session, Democratic lawmakers are outlining what they see as meaningful tax reform on oil producers, an issue that will be a key focus of this year’s session.
Digital journalNancy Houser  China and Canada meet for Keystone XL pipeline partnership - Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing for a return visit to China, to meet with China's ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, in two weeks. On the table will be Alberta's vast oil reserves and Canada's Keystone XL pipeline, both vital to China's growth and booming economy.
KTUUJason Lamb  New In-State Natural Gas Pipeline Legislation Introduced in Juneau House - Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) and Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) have introduced the legislation that would, in part, turn three current legislative bills into one, in an effort to address Alaskans' energy needs.
Herald–TribuneMatthew Daily  State: 'Serious' questions on GOP pipeline bill - A Republican bill that would strip President Barack Obama of his authority to decide on a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline raises "serious" legal questions, the State Department said Wednesday in objecting to the bill.  (Comment:  This means that this plan is real and the House may very well proceed with legislation forcing the Obama administration to approve Keystone XL. - AG)

1-26-12 It's All About "Investment Climate" in Alaska and Canada

26 January 2012 8:33am

See How Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver Supports Greater Investment

See Senator Cathy Giessel's Investment Climate Commentary

See Steve Forbes' Alaska Investment Climate Commentary

See CEA Energy News Links - Congressman Doc Hastings Says Obama Rhetoric Wrong

Alaska Airlines Is Ejecting Passenger Prayer Cards!
Alaska Dispatch Commentary

Alex Gimarc, ACES, AGIA, by Dave Harbour, Alaska oil taxes

Invest in Alaska?

Commentary by

Alex Gimarc


Some Alaska Legislators are working furiously to counterbalance Governor Sean Parnell’s call for a cut in taxes on oil production from the North Slope. 
Hollis French, Alaska State Senate, by Dave Harbour, ACES, AGIAEarlier this week, Senator Hollis French (NGP Photo) gave a floor speech expressing his views on a repeal of the ACES tax on oil produced from North Slope oil fields.  In the speech, he demanded that the producers specifically provide a list of all projects that they are unable to do under the existing tax structure.  Along with that list, they are to provide how much each project will cost and how much oil it is intended to produce.   
Essentially, French proposes burying the producers under yet another requirement to provide a pile of paperwork detailing what they want to do an what they expect to get out of new projects.  After creating the paperwork, the producers are expected to show up, hat in hand, and await a ruling from on High.   (Cartoon by Chad Carpenter, for this webpage, 1-27-12)
Is this the way to treat those who invest in Alaska?  Senator French is tempting the producers to take their investment dollars – and taxes and royalties paid to the State of Alaska – elsewhere.  Senator French is simply making it more expensive and risky to invest in our state.
Not to be outdone, Representative Les Gara (NGP Photo) isLes Gara, Alaska State House of Representatives, ACES, AGIA proposing legislation that will get the State into the business of industrial planning in the oil patch.  He has proposed the Alaska Oil Production Enhancement Act, which has provisions that require the producers to make new investments in the State in return for tax cuts.
Industrial planning has never worked.  It will not work on the North Slope either.  
Fortunately, Representative Gara’s legislation has little chance of making it through the House. 
Unfortunately, Senator French’s worldview represents the majority view in the Senate, which does not bode well for any hope this session of rolling back the ACES economic disaster or encouraging a greater degree of investor confidence in our state.

Sen. Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo), R-Anchorage, yesterday addressed the State Senate about the just-released jobs study by Juneau-based McDowell group, which comparesSenator Cathy Giessel, ACES, AGIA, Alaska oil taxes Alaska North Slope job numbers with production.
“The McDowell report confirms that, yes, employment numbers are up on the North Slope, but unlike in past decades, production per worker is way down,” Giessel said. “At peak production of more than 2 million barrels per day in the pipeline, the ratio of what each worker produced was 200,000 barrels per year. Now, the ratio has dropped to 27,000 barrels per worker per year. In other words, it takes nearly eight times as many workers to produce that 200,000 barrels of oil.
“The argument that all is well on the North Slope, based on employment numbers, is specious,” Giessel said. “Production is what brings wealth to state government. Production is declining by 7-8 percent per year. Our focus must be on increasing production. Increased production brings with it more job opportunities for Alaskans, in good-paying jobs.”
Senator Giessel also noted that, even though North Slope job numbers are up a modest number, other oil producing areas have added tens of thousands of jobs. She cited Alberta, where tar sands production is fueling a huge boom, has 60,000 openings.
“This is oil that would have filled the Keystone pipeline, if the Obama administration had not rejected that project,” Giessel said. “The pipeline itself would have generated tens of thousands of construction  and operating jobs.”
The study, requested by the Senate Labor and Commerce committee, was paid for by the Senate Finance committee, at a cost of $175,000. Find the McDowell report here:
Listen to Sen. Giessel’s comments under Special Orders here:

Steve Forbes, Alaska oil taxes and economy, publisher forbes magazine, by Dave HarbourYesterday, at the Annual Anchorage Economic Development Corporation economic forecast luncheon, Forbes Magazine publisher, Steve Forbes (NGP Photo),  said, "The Alaska energy tax structure is (among) the worst in the world; I could only find one worse, North Korea."  We will provide a more detailed report of that meeting tomorrow.  -dh




Calgary Herald by Rebecca Penty.  Ottawa is moving quickly to mandate expedited reviews of new industrial projects in Canada.  Legislative and regulatory changes, including strict timelines for assessment, will be introduced this year, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Wednesday, a commitment that drew support from industry and the Alberta government but criticism from environmental groups.  Warning that lengthy reviews cause investment dollars to leave Canada, Oliver told a Calgary business audience he wants "expeditious" assessments of economy-boosting mining and energy projects, and is working to eliminate overlap of environmental reviews.

Consumer Energy Alliance National Energy Policy News Links:
Oil & Gas Journal: SOTU: Obama pledges to open more offshore acreage, promote gas **David Holt & CEA mentioned in article**
US President Barack Obama will direct his administration to open more than 75% of the nation’s potential offshore oil and gas resources for development, he said in his 2012 State of the Union address. “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will do everything it can to safely develop this energy,” he added.
Big Government: Obama’s State of the Union Energy Claims Undercut by Record **Op-ed by David Holt**
Tuesday’s State of the Union address is noteworthy because it appears to signal a change in the Administration’s approach to US energy development. If so, this is welcome news. Truly embracing an “all of the above” energy strategy that allows for the robust development of our oil and natural gas resources in the immediate term would boost economic development, lessen our dependence on hostile oil regimes, and save American consumers from record-high fuel costs.
Observer-Reporter: Shale group encouraged by Obama mention **CEA mentioned in article**
The region's largest natural gas trade group has expressed optimism about President Congressman Doc Hastings, Obama, Energy Policy, Alaska oil and gas, OCS, by Dave HarbourObama's support of shale gas production he mentioned Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address. Prior to the president's address, Kathryn Klaber, president of the Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, which has nearly 300 members from the natural gas drilling, production and supply chain, told reporters from the news and trade media she was pleased Obama was including natural gas as part of a strategy to make America energy independent.

Meanwhile, Congressman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo-r-above) says Obama's Rhetoric is not matched by action.


1-25-12 In State Gas Pipeline Group Meets Tonight In Anchorage - Alaska Airlines Ejects Prayer Card

25 January 2012 7:41am

Dan Fauske, AGDC, ASAP, Alaska Instate Gas Pipeline, AGIATONIGHT!  Anchorage: January 25, 2012, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Crowne Plaza, mid-town Anchorage at the corner of International Airport Road and C Street.  A project overview and update will be provided by Dan Fauske (NGP Photo) and members of the ASAP team will be present to answer Project questions.  The public is encouraged to attend and learn about the ASAP project. Refreshments will be served.

Comment: Today, Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines Logoannounced it has unilaterally canceled its over three decade long tradition of providing prayer cards for meals.  It did not query its customers in general nor its 'Gold' members for their opinions.  One wonders if Alaska Air's esteemed Alaska advisory groups weighed in.   Its reasoning lacks logic and common sense and could become a classic text book case of a marketing and public relations disaster, a 'pr boomerang'.   (If it had only said, "We're eliminating the prayer card because to counterbalance rising fuel costs we were forced to cut many non-essential operational expenses like this," the management would have at least had the appearance of honesty.)   Here is a link.   Here is a link to the Alaska Air Prayer Face Book page established several years ago by Pastor Kent Redfern, Muldoon Community Assembly (NGP Photo)  -dh

ADN/AP.   Rep. Les Gara (NGP Photo) Introduces Oil Tax Bill. Les Gara, Alaska House of Representatives, Oil Taxes, ACES, HB 110 Oil companies would need to invest in Alaska before getting a tax break under legislation proposed by an Anchorage Democrat.The measure, HB231, would provide tax breaks for exploration in new fields, investing in processing facilities and increasing well-related expenditures.

ADN by Becky Bohrer.  House Speaker Mike Chenault and Rep. Mike Hawker see the bill as empowering the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC, which is leading the effort to advance an in-state line. The measure, among other things, would incorporate three existing bills, including one establishing a fund for pipeline work.  Chenault and Hawker have supported an in-state line as a way to help meet energy needs in Alaska's most populous region. Chenault, R-Nikiski, said this bill, HB9, would not sanction a project, but rather would allow AGDC to get to the sanctioning stage, the point at which the Legislature would say build it, or don't.  Dan FauskeAlaska Governor Sean Parnell by Dave Harbour, Oil Taxes, AGDC, AGIA, ACES, OCS, State of the State, Alliance, AGDC president, said he's hoping for sanctioning by 2015. The group is aiming for a year-long open season, or period of courting gas producers, seeking commitments, beginning next January. On this timeline, and assuming the project gets the go-ahead, the goal is for first gas in the fall of 2018.  This comes as Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) seeks to jump-start efforts to advance a major line that would carry gas from the North Slope to market.   *    See Dispatch Story by Alex DeMarban.  


Time Business: Michael Sivy The unlikely green alternative to the Keystone pipeline? Railroads  - Whichever side is right in this argument, one beneficiary is clear: Railroads. Quite simply, some of the oil that would have been moved through the pipeline will now have to go by tanker car. If oil is more expensive or less available in some places, that will encourage the use of low-sulfur coal. Either way, it means more hauling business for the Big Rails, especially Burlington Northern, now owned by Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway.   (Comment:  this is the first of what I expect to be many articles defending cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The largest problem with rail, other than the sheer expense of hauling oil, is that the capacity to haul the sheer volume of heavy crude from Alberta in heated tank cars simply does not exist.  And when the more efficient, low cost solution of a pipeline to Texas is eventually approved, the new heated tank cars will no longer have product to carry. - AG)

CBC News: Pipeline only the start to supplying Asia, report says  - A new report prepared for the province by the University of Alberta's China Institute suggests the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will be only a first step in meeting the surging demand in Asian markets.

Reuters: Nichole Mordant and Jeffery Jones Ottawa sees itself as protector of oil sands benefits  - As about 50 protesters demonstrated noisily outside, Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, said in Vancouver that "environmental and other radical groups" are indiscriminately opposing any and all large industrial projects and are using Canada's regulatory system as their main battleground.  (Comment:  The action of continuing political battles in the courts and regulatory agencies by environmentalists has been called "lawfare.." - AG)

Wall Street Journal Market Watch: Bill Mann New route for Alberta oil: Northward?  - The Mackenzie, Slave and Athabasca Rivers could bring oil and pipeline equipment from the Arctic or Hudson Bay right into the heart of Alberta, where the oil sands are. There’s only one hitch — a series of four Slave River rapids up by the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.


The Hill: Obama speech steers clear of Keystone pipeline rejection, Solyndra failure  -  President Obama made no mention in his State of the Union address Tuesday of his decision to reject the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline or the federal loan guarantee to failed solar firm Solyndra.Obama rejected the pipeline last week under a GOP provision in December’s payroll tax cut law that required a decision on Keystone by Feb. 21. 

The Hill: Obama’s offshore drilling pledge re-states existing plan  -  President Obama’s State of the Union speech endorsed expanded offshore oil-and-gas drilling but didn’t alter existing administration plans that energy companies and Republicans complain are too narrow. Obama, in his speech, called for continued increases in U.S. oil production. “Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil-and-gas resources,” Obama said in the Capitol.
AP: Natural gas price rebounding from 10-year low  -  Natural gas prices are rebounding from 10-year lows as producers cut back and colder weather forces homeowners to turn up the heat. The price of natural gas futures rose Tuesday for the third straight trading day, adding 3 cents to finish at $2.55 per 1,000 cubic feet. The futures contract dropped as low as $2.32 on Thursday, the lowest since Feb. 25, 2002.
Bloomberg: Obama Stance on Fossil Fuel Angers Industry  -  President Barack Obama is taking credit for higher U.S. oil and gas production and lower imports, angering industry groups and Republicans who say he is working against domestic energy production. American energy will be a major theme of Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress tonight, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said in a briefing yesterday.
In his final State of the Union address before the 2012 election, President Obama did not shy away from some of the same energy and environmental issues that Republicans have said would be among his greatest weaknesses this fall. Obama referenced both his stalled climate change initiative and the bankrupt Solyndra solar energy company last night while chiding Congress for inaction on a host of energy issues. 
President Obama made the case Tuesday night for producing more of the United States’ energy supplies domestically in pursuing an “all-of-the-above” approach to further bolster the economy and national security. Speaking to a joint session of Congress in his third State of the Union address, Obama called for policies that harness a mixture of fossil-fuel and alternative energy resources.
The Houston Chronicle: State Department official defends Keystone rejection  -  A top State Department official today will blast a Republican bill that would circumvent the administration’s denial of a permit for Keystone XL and hand approval of the pipeline to a different agency. Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, the point person on Keystone XL, will defend her department’s rationale for recommending against a permit for the pipeline before a House panel, according to written testimony.
The Houston Chronicle: Big Oil had good 2011, despite 4th-quarter slump  -  After gangbuster results earlier in 2011, giant integrated energy companies are set to report lackluster fourth-quarter earnings starting Wednesday, and it has a lot to do with the price of oil in London. “The fourth quarter is going to be poor,” said Mark Gilman, an oil and gas analyst with the Benchmark Group. “The refining side is going to see very poor results.”

1-24-12 - The Alaska Oil & Keystone Debates Are Alive & Well - N.D. Commissioner Headed to FERC

24 January 2012 7:47am


Politico.  North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark (NGP Photo-r) is being nominated for an opening on FERC.  Sen. John Hoeven tells Jack Dalrymple, Tony Clark, FERC, North DakotaThe Associated Press that President Barack Obama will nominate Clark later Monday.  Clark would have to be confirmed by the Senate to take the job. FERC has five members; the commission now has one opening that's reserved for a Republican.  The agency regulates interstate oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and sales of natural gas and wholesale electric power.  Clark's term on the North Dakota commission ends this year, and he's not running for reelection. If he resigns before his North Dakota term ends, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (NGP Photo) will appoint his successor.  *   See Bismarck Tribune Story by Dale Wetzel.  President Barack Obama on Monday nominated North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark for an opening on a federal regulatory board that oversees natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and the reliability of the nation's power grid.  (Comment:  Your author has had the pleasure of knowing Commissioner Tony Clark for a number of years.  He is highly respected by his colleagues and currently serves as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).  He represents a state with varied natural resources, including oil and gas production, expected to surpass Alaska's declining output within a few years, and is sensitive to Canadian-American energy relationships.  -dh)

ADN/PNA by Westly Loy.  The topic for the day is Point Thomson, a heavyweight legal struggle between the state and the oil giant for control of a lucrative oil and gas field on Alaska's North Slope.  The Alaska Supreme Court is ready to hear oral arguments from the two sides, with West High School in Anchorage as the venue. The justices occasionally take their proceedings out of the courtroom and into the community under an initiative called "Supreme Court Live."

Brad Keithley Op-Ed (NGP Photo-L).  In an interviewBill Wielechowski, Alaska Senate, tax debate, tea party, ACES published in this week’s PetroleumBrad Keithley, ACES, Oil and Gas Taxes, Alaska News (“Wielechowski remains critical of HB 110 “), Senator Bill Wielechowski (NGP Photo) argues that, under their state oil & gas leases, producers are required to undertake additional drilling when they can make a “reasonable profit.”     This repeats an argument I first heard the Senator make repeatedly at a debate earlier this monthCathy Giessel, Tea Party Debate, oil taxes, ACES, Alaska State Senate with Senator Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo) and which he then repeated in a subsequent, extended exchange on Facebook  following that debate.  (“The leases … say they must produce, drill, develop when they can make a reasonable profit.”).  The problem?  The leases which cover the vast majority of the existing North Slope fields don’t say what Senator Wielechowski says they do.

The Hill: Ben Geman CRS Report: Congress can require Keystone pipeline approval
The Jan. 20 CRS legal analysis notes that while the executive branch has historically handled the approval of border-crossing facilities, it doesn’t have to be that way. “[I]f Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce,” the analysis states.
Calgary Herald: Rebecca Penty TransCanada considers new plans: Keystone pipeline may be built in stages in U.S. first
TransCanada Corp. is considering building U.S. portions of its Keystone XL pipeline and later seeking approval of an Alberta link to circumvent the Obama administration's rejection of the $7-billion project.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Jim Efstathiou Keystone XL pipeline seen moving ahead on alternative route
TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline still will move ahead with an alternate route after President Barack Obama’s decision to deny a permit, investors, public officials and analysts say.
Toronto Sun: Simon Kent Harper will clear the decks on oil
Harper’s government recognizes venture capital follows opportunity and unless Canada can ensure the development and sale of product from the oil sands, it will be left behind.
Startribune.com: Canada's oil: What goes around
Soon after President Obama chose to delay a U.S. decision last year on a proposed Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline called Keystone XL, Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, warned that his country would not be left at the altar.



23 January 2012 8:37am

Frank Reed, Muktuk Marston, Bob Atwood, Atwood Mansion, by Dave Harbour, Past Chamber Chairmen Picnic 2008Point of Personal Privilege.  We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of our friend, mentor and sometimes protégé Frank Reed (NGP Photo).  More coming later today....  -dh

ADN by Flip Todd.  Frank Metcalf Reed, 99, who arrived as a babe-in-arms on the banks of Ship Creek in 1915, died Sunday, Jan. 22, at Providence Hospital after a sudden bout of pneumonia. He had probably lived in Anchorage longer than anyone, even serving his World War II enlistment as a naval liaison officer helping young seamen transiting the town on what is today Elmendorf Air Force Base.Mike Chenault, Alaska Speaker of the House, ACES, AGDC

ADN Op-Ed by Representatives Mike Chenault and Mike Hawker (NGP Photos-r).  We applaud Gov. Parnell for recognizing the potential for an Alaska gas pipeline project unlike any we have seen on the table, a hybrid of multiple plans committed Alaskans have worked on for many years. We believe this alignment -- of stakeholders, of goals, of work done to date -- is the elusive answer to Alaska gas.

We also commend the governor for acknowledging theMike Hawker, AGDC, ASAP, Alaska House of Representatives tremendous value AGDC brings to this new, aligned process. Since the Legislature created AGDC almost two years ago, the organization has doggedly advanced an in-state line, delivering high-caliber work and meeting milestones laid out in a transparent, statutory framework. The momentum is strong.
National Journal: Denial Huge Blow to American Workers **Comment by David Holt**
While not entirely a surprise, the President’s decision to not approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that has the potential to create 20,000 immediate jobs and to deliver 700,000 barrels of oil per day to US markets, is extremely disappointing. But more than that, it’s a huge blow to American workers who were looking forward to, and even desperate for, the jobs that the project would provide.
Continued high oil prices are expected to boost fourth-quarter earnings of ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips. However, profits of the three-largest U.S. oil companies by market value will be capped by sluggish results from their refining arms and depressed prices for natural gas. The three oil giants will post billions more in profits than they did in the fourth quarter of 2010, thanks to higher oil prices.
Wall Street Journal: Oil Fields Gushing in the U.S.


22 January 2012 9:57am

Sisters Alexis and Raylee MoorePersonal note: The Frontiersman featured a photo-story we provided which included photos.  Enjoy.  -dh
Fairbanks Daily News Miner: Matt Buxton A developing science might be key to extending the trans-Alaska pipeline's life
A fledgling technology that was presented to the Senate Resources Committee in Juneau on Wednesday might be the key that could more than double the commercially developable oil on the North Slope.
Tacoma News Tribune: Wesley Loy Alaska Supreme Court to hear Point Thompson case
"Here's a road map to a gas line in Alaska's interest: First, these companies need to agree to resolve the Point Thomson litigation," Parnell said. "If no settlement in the state's interest can be reached with all parties, the state will fight for Alaska's interests at the Alaska Supreme Court hearing on Feb. 8 in Anchorage."
NY Daily News: Robert Bryce How fracking lies triumphed
Amid the ongoing battle in New York and elsewhere over hydraulic fracturing, one thing has become clear: The pro-drilling side is losing the public relations fight.
Canada Free Press: Duggan Flanakin and Redmond Weissenberger Keystone Kops halt US-Canada pipeline, and target another
“The rationales for rejecting the project are nothing but dissembling, red herrings and hot air,” CFACT policy advisor Paul Driessen commented. “They are as credible as a Keystone Kops movie.”
Digital Journal: Kessavan Unnikrishnan Rare Arctic seal spotted lounging on Seattle Dock
White ribbon seal, a seasonally ice-bound species, lives mostly in the northern waters off Alaska and Russia. Biologists say that there has never been a recorded sighting south of the Aleutian Islands except for a ribbon seal found on a beach just 200 miles north of Los Angeles in 1962.  (Comment:  a cold water seal showing up in Seattle is not an indicator of a warming Arctic - AG)