January 2012 Archives
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.
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.
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.
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 contentious 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.
Huffington Post: Alaskan State Representative Submits Resolution To Turn Central Park Into Wildlife Refuge - Republican state representative Kyle Johansen (NGP Photo) submitted 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)
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.
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.
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 journal: Nancy 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.
KTUU: Jason 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–Tribune: Matthew 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)
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TONIGHT! 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 announced 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. 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 Fauske, 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.
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."
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.
Point 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.
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.
Personal 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)