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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


2013 Archives

12-31-13: Busy Year For Energy Consumers

31 December 2013 10:34am

新年好!     よいお年を!     새해 복 많이 받으세요!​     Bonne Année!     Feliz Año Nuevo!​     С Новым Годом!     سنة جديدة سعيدة!​     Buon anno!     מזל ניו יאר​     Bagong Taon Happy​!    

Happy New Year! 

New Years Eve Energy Clips From Consumer Energy Alliance

David Holt, Consumer Energy Alliance, Fuelfix, Photo by Dave HarbourFuelfix: Top 5 Ways Energy Production Benefited Consumers in 2013, by David Holt (NGP Photo).  It’s been a busy year for U.S. energy production with consumer prices on the decline due to increasing domestic supplies of natural gas and oil. Here are the Top 5 energy related news stories that benefit consumers in 2013.

Consumer Energy Alliance’s The Energy Voice: Act 13 and Pennsylvania’s Economic Future.  The Keystone State made headlines a week before the Christmas holiday when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down several key provisions of the State’s Act 13, which Governor Tom Corbett signed into law in February 2012.  In its 4-2 decision, the Court declared portions of the law unconstitutional and puts shale gas development zoning rights back in the hands of local municipalities and counties.Natalie Joubert, Consumer Energy Alliance, Keystone, Dave Harbour Photo

Consumer Energy Alliance’s The Energy Voice: Keystone XL and Environmentalism.  Listen to CEA’s Vice President for Policy, Natalie Joubert (NGP Photo), talk about the benefits of Keystone XL, and the interaction between energy production and environmental protection.

National Geographic: Ten Biggest Energy Stories of 2013.  Thanks to the fracking revolution, in 2013 the United States surged past both Saudi Arabia and Russia to regain its spot as the world's top energy producer. Above, water pools near an oil pump outside of Williston, North Dakota. (See related story, "U.S. Edges Saudi Arabia, Russia in Oil and Gas.")

The Hill (blog): Study: Majority don't understand fracking.  Hydraulic fracturing may be a hot topic of debate, but few know what the term "fracking" actually means, according to a recent survey. The poll, gathered by researchers at Oregon State, George Mason and Yale universities, found that more than half of those surveyed reported knowing little or nothing of fracking. And nearly 60 percent of the 1,061 respondents had no opinion on the subject, the Casper Star-Tribune reports

Fuelfix: North Dakota poised for another hiring blitz.  The Bakken Shale is driving another hiring surge in North Dakota, with one oil field services company planning to hire 300 new workers by the spring, according to the Bismark Tribune.

Washington Post (blog): Vaclav Smil’s graph of the year: The natural-gas boom.  Time has its "Person of the Year." Amazon has its books of the year. Pretty Much Amazing has its mixtapes of the year. Buzzfeed has its insane-stories-from-Florida of the year. And Wonkblog, of course, has its graphs of the year. For 2013, we asked some of the year's most interesting, important and influential thinkers to name their favorite graph of the year — and why they chose it. Here's Vaclav Smil's.

Beaver County TimesShell officials: Recent extension for cracker plant will likely be the last.  Last week’s land option extension granted to Shell Oil Co. regarding the proposed $2.5 billion petrochemical plant in Potter Township will likely be the company’s last, Shell officials said. But the company isn’t saying just how long this extension — its third — will be.

New Philadelphia Times ReporterCarroll County employees get 3 percent raises.  The pay raise applies to staff members of some, but not all, county elected officials. "Our sales tax is up," county Commissioner Thomas Wheaton said. "That is where we are really making the money. There are more people working here." Carroll County's sales tax is one percent. With the Utica Shale reaching into Carroll County, this area has attracted activity from petroleum exploration companies, such as Chesapeake Energy.

12-30-13 Drones Are Coming - High On Cook Inlet O&G Exploration

30 December 2013 11:23am

Calgary Herald Editorial: "...times are so good that some jobs are going begging. Statistics Canada recently noted that job vacancies in Alberta stood at 52,800 in the third quarter of 2013."

Alaska Dispatch by Alex DeMarban.  A subsidiary of Alaska's wealthiest homegrown corporation is expanding its footprint in Cook Inlet to support increasing industrial activity there, a sign that more good things may be on the way for the resurgent oil and gas basin in Southcentral Alaska.  Joe Lo Sciuto, president of ASRC Energy Services Response Operations, thinks so. An expected “renaissance of production” has prompted the spill response company to, among other things, join forces with Foss Maritime to build a special $15-million landing craft that can haul equipment and people for the industry.

ADN/AP by Michelle Rindels.  The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.  Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the research sites, providing diverse climates, geography and air traffic environments, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.


12-29-13 Governor Frank Murkowski Opines On Pipeline

29 December 2013 5:24pm

Alaska Dispatch, by Frank Murkowski (NGP Photo).  

Alaska Governor, Frank Murkowski, Gas Pipeline, Dave Harbour PhotoI urge that we not continue to fund overlapping energy projects.

Over the last several years the administration and the Legislature have authorized the following:

1. $557 million has been expended over the last nine years on consultant fees and reports;
2. In the last session the Legislature approved $355 million for the in-state bullet line on top of $72 million from former years;
3. The Legislature committed $332.5 million in grants and loans to truck North Slope gas to Fairbanks; and
4. The Legislature appropriated $95 million to advance the Susitna dam.

While these funds are not all appropriated, they amount to $1.3 billion, a good portion which has already been spent.  (Read More....)



28 December 2013 12:24pm

Platts, by Tim Bradner (NGP Photo).  Alaska will withhold an Tim Bradner, Platts, Journal of Commerce, Alaska, gas pipeline, Dave Harbour Photo​offer of special state fiscal terms for a large North Slope gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas project until companies working on the project reach agreement on terms among themselves to proceed with the project, a spokeswoman for Governor Sean Parnell said Friday.


27 December 2013 2:00pm

Petroleum News by Eric Lidji.  State regulators are allowing a Eric Lidji, Petroleum News, Photo by Dave Harbournew municipal utility to offer natural gas service to sections of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and have rejected a similar application from Fairbanks Natural Gas LLC, the privately held distribution utility in the region.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has given the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility the go ahead ....  The RCA said it made its decision “in the context of the entire project.” With that in mind, the RCA said it denied the Fairbanks Natural Gas application because the utility “failed to demonstrate a viable build-out plan for the proposed expanded service area.”


26 December 2013 2:24am

Calgary Herald: "Winter woes today are nothing compared to 100 years ago."

...In 1912 Calgary consumers starting burning gas, delivered by pipeline arrived from the Bow Island field.  By 1921 natural gas was flowing through a pipeline from the Turner Valley field, southwest of Calgary.


25 December 2013 5:54pm

"All I Want For Christmas!"

Or, "The Loss of Self Reliance"

On December 24, 2001 we wrote an editorial satirizing the human greed and mismanagement that was interfering with gas pipeline project advancement.

In those days, Alaskan leaders and their supporters were engaged in the beginning of a decade-long fest of spending gluttony and tax increases to support self gratification of one generation at the expense of those to follow.   -dh

12-24-09 (Christmas Eve):  Gas pipeline news this week is light as all gas pipeline stakeholder thoughts turn to home.  Before news afresh begins breaking after the holidays, perhaps it would be well to spend a quality moment or two reflecting on where we've been this year and where we wish to be in 2002.  After all, our millions of individual decisions in the coming year will produce some grand, cosmic formula revealing the future of northern gas pipelines.  -dh

"All I Want for Christmas"

Dear Santa:

I'd like an Alaska gas pipeline for Christmas. 

It should be in place, producing money by 2004, please, in time to supply 1/4 of Alaska's $1 billion+ budget deficit; and let our politicians balance the rest without increasing my taxes or reducing my services. 

I'd like the pipeline to be 'diversified', too.  It should go to a Fairbanks 'HUB' (where I'd like a new petrochemical industry established by someone for some market). 

I'd also like someone to put an inexpensive gas distribution line to every home in Fairbanks. 

To be fair, I'd like someone to take propane from the HUB and ship it to 230 Alaska villages at a reasonable cost, somehow. 

Then, I'd like someone to build a line from the HUB on down to Valdez and arrange for Tokyo Gas to sign a 20 year, "take or pay"  contract at a price high enough to pay for the pipeline as well as another petrochemical facility in Valdez. 

To take care of my friends in Southeast Alaska, I'd like propane and maybe LNG to be provided by barges or small cryogenic tankers to all our coastal citizens at a reasonable price, by someone. 

Since Southcentral Alaska may be running short of Cook Inlet gas, I'd like someone to build a branch of the pipeline from the Fairbanks HUB down to Anchorage.  See, that would displace enough gas that the Kenai Peninsula would retain adequate supplies for its residential / industrial users for another 20 years. 

Lastly, I would like for most of the gas to move from the HUB on down the Alaska Highway to make sure that the folks in the Lower 48 have plenty, but I'd want to make sure there were enough liquid gasses in the high pressure line that we could profitably supply Alberta with some of the petrochemical feedstock she needs to be supportive. 

Oh, and I almost forgot, please make the price of gas high enough so we can afford subsidies, generous rights-of-way payments to 10,000 landowners, and still have plenty of money for our state government and please build a separate Mackenzie Valley Pipeline for Canada. 

And, I'd rather not have the gas produced at all unless it's done my way. 



P.S.  If you have money left over, could we have some to invest as equity in the gas pipeline and would you please make sure we get at least a 12-15% return on our investment?

Dear Wishing:

All fathers, including Father Santa, instinctively want their children to have all that they wish for. 

However, one responsibility a father has is to lovingly tell his children that we don't always get everything we wish for at Christmas.  Sometimes, you get a present you think you'd rather not have and it turns out the be the best one after all.  (See P.S., below.)  I don't know if that will be the case this year, but on this Christmas Eve, I can now divulge your gifts.

1.  You will be blessed--more than most--with another year of freedom and life in the wondrous North.

2.  You will be given intelligence, courage, friends, armaments and vast resources.

3.  You will be given the freedom to break your own trail, to direct your own future path in the wonderful frontier before you.

4.  You will be blessed with the politicians that you, yourself, choose to help lead the quest.

5.  The above, basic gifts will enable you through your own wisdom, ingenuity and integrity to successfully confront your challenges.  Success, the greatest gift, will be highly savored for you will have earned it and you will pass this knowledge to your heirs.  Your failure, also shouldered by your children, will only come with misuse of the gifts.

My greatest hope for you is that you embrace the true spirit of Christmas, use well what you have been given, make good decisions, treat everyone with respect, teach your own children well, and endeavor toward 'endless progress'. 

Obtained as you have so presumptuously wished, the presents you requested would not delight you, would not eliminate the fundamental budget problems you have created, would shackle free enterprise and deliver the generations following you into debt and misery.  They represent a child's irrational thinking, depending as they do on the imprudent acts of others and requiring no effort or risk on your part.



P.S.  One Christmas long, long ago, I asked for a new bicycle and a 410 shotgun.  Being a poor 11-year-old did not prevent the dreaming.  After a humble family service around our Nativity scene, wise Father gave me a snow shovel and a box of shotgun shells, my only presents.  I did not appreciate these gifts at the time, but by spring I had earned enough from snow shoveling the neighbors' driveways to buy a new bike and a used shotgun.  To this day, I love my Father as much as I respect him; and, he has never worried that I would ever confront a reasonable challenge I could not overcome.  That year I emerged into the real world, began absorbing the true Christmas message and took the first small steps toward a lifelong appreciation for free enterprise.  (Additional reference: Voice of the Times, by William J. Tobin)


12-24-13 Remembering Bill Tobin and The Anchorage Times At Christmas

24 December 2013 8:38am

Globe & Mail by Jeffrey Jones.  Imperial Oil Ltd. told regulators the estimated cost of its long-delayed Mackenzie Valley Project has surged more than 40 per cent to at least $20-billion since its last tally almost seven years ago, and that it has no idea when North American gas markets might turn around to rescue the project from limbo.  (See our related commentary)

In Tomorrow's Commentary, We will Bring Readers Our Historic Gas Pipeline Christmas Commentary: "All I Want For Christmas"

Remembering Bill Tobin and The Anchorage Times At Christmas

Bill Tobin, Anchorage Times, Dave Harbour PhotoOn Christmas eve, we remember how our friend, Bill Tobin (NGP Photo), used to include this Christmas Tree every year on the Anchorage Times editorial page, courtesy of Publisher Bob Atwood.  We appreciate the editors of the the Anchorage Daily Planet for carrying on the tradition and reprint Bill's Christmas Tree below as a tribute to our great Alaska predecessors and as a commitment to honor and propagate their pioneering spirit.


Editor's note: Each Christmas over the years, veteran Alaska newsman Bill Tobin offered his own Christmas tree to readers. In his memory, we offer it today:



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

Anchorage Daily Planet Editorial: We can highly recommend a recent editorial in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner to provide a clear explanation of the difference between Alaska’s old, failed tax system – Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share – and the new reform that tax-and-spend advocates are pushing to get rid of without even understanding what they are trying to do.



23 December 2013 2:44am

E&E Publishing.  In 2008, Statoil was awarded 16 leases in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. But with little supporting infrastructure, offshore exploration in Alaska is still in its infancy. Meanwhile, Statoil's drilling is much more active in Newfoundland, even with the challenges of ice and harsh weather.


22 December 2013 12:26pm

Petroleum News.  The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is aiming to choose a private-sector partner for its Interior Energy Project at an upcoming meeting in January 2014.  The staff of the public corporation is “running parallel tracks,” according to Executive Director Ted Leonard.  ... At the December meeting, the board heard presentations from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. and the Alaska Railroad Corp., as part of due diligence efforts.  ... AIDEA is currently weighing turnkey proposals from MWH Americas Inc., Pentex Alaska Natural Gas Co. LLC and Spectrum Alaska LLC.