|Related Photo Cutline, Journal of Commerce, by Tim Bradner. Alaska Gasline Development Corp. President Dan Fauske (NGP Photo) said the change in the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project to increase the capacity to a 36-inch diameter and use high-strength steel could allow up to 2.6 billion cubic feet per day to be shipped. That improves the economics of the project compared to previous restrictions that limited it to no more than 500 million cubic feet per day. (Bradner's is one of the most informative, thorough, readable gas pipeline updates we have seen. Kudos! -dh)|
Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner. A year ago there was a lot of complaining about state money being wasted on the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project, the little brother to the big North Slope gas pipeline project. ... But a funny thing has happened. The project has morphed. Little Brother pipeline isn’t little anymore. It has grown up.
Video: Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso discussed the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33), that will speed up the approval process for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries which do not have free trade agreements with the United States. Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute issued letters of support for S. 33 in advance of today’s hearing.
|Calgary Herald by Dan Healing. A consortium including Calgary-based midstream and energy firm Altagas Ltd. has taken possession of the proposed Douglas Channel LNG project through a plan of arrangement that ends a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act process. (Alaskans will note the consortium includes investors from Asian and European market areas. -dh)|
Shell Gears Up For 2015 Chukchi Exploration Season!
World Energy News by Joseph Keefe. Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.
Robert Dillon (NGP Photo) of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reports this afternoon that, "Shell CEO Ben van Beurden today told a conference in London that Shell would drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this summer.
"Shell has invested nearly $6 billion in leases and exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska’s northern coast," Dillon said. "The Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, and 30 percent of undiscovered natural gas deposits, so the potential for Alaska is immense. Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 221 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the federal government."
Dillon said the resources are "critically important to the nation, state and continued operations of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)" in terms of domestic oil supply and jobs.
Shell aims to restart Arctic drilling this year – CEO (Reuters)
LONDON Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:25am EST
Jan 29 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell is planning to restart oil drilling in the Arctic this year, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said on Thursday.
The oil company suspended its Alaskan drilling programme in 2014 to rein in costs and in the face of fierce environmental opposition.
Van Beurden said he aimed to restart the campaign this year, pending approval of the necessary permits and the conclusion of various legal challenges.
"Yes, we are minded to drill in the Chukchi Sea," he told reporters at a conference in London.
Houston Chronicle. The board of the state corporation expected to be a key player in efforts to advance a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska is trying to determine how it can operate if members do not sign confidentiality agreements. ... Dan Fauske (NGP Photo), president of the gas-line corporation, also known as AGDC, said a confidentiality pledge is needed because information is shared between the two gas-line projects being pursued by AGDC — the liquefied natural gas project and a stand-alone in-state gas pipeline — to reduce costs.
11-7-14 Alaska Governor Acts On Gasline And Legislators React - President Makes Preemptive Attack On Keystone XL
ADN by Dermot Cole. Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo) took a major step toward revising the way the state is dealing with a proposed gas pipeline by removing three members of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board and instructing two commissioners not to sign a secrecy pledge proposed by the Parnell administration. (Comment: We do not know enough about all the circumstances to comment on the rightness or wrongness of the Governor's action or legislative reactions. We do observe that decision makers in a time of fiscal crisis would probably be well advised to bend over backwards to be cordial and considerate in their interactions. The fiscal challenge descending upon Alaska and her citizens will be difficult enough to confront with a united team and much harder to resolve successfully if we are divided. -dh)
Calgary Herald by Stephen Ewart.
Commentary: Preemption of Due Process and Erosion of the Rule of Law.
We have seen the current, Administration consistently erode the rule of law.
The EPA has acted to preemptively kill an Alaska mining project, on valid Alaska state leased ground, before the proponents filed for the first permit, on the basis of an EPA-imagined development scenario, before any public hearings, findings of fact or legal record could be assembled.
This is a horrible infringement on America's constitutional protection of due process and the rule of law which it protects.
The precedent the EPA is trying to establish could provide hostile federal agencies with a new tool for stopping state, municipal, agricultural, recreational, mining, commercial fishing, manufacturing, transportation, home building projects on federal, state, municipal or private land...anywhere, anytime.
Similarly, the Administration has sought, unsuccessfully, to block development in Alaska by proclaiming vast areas should be protected for certain species when the populations of those species are increasing (i.e. Steller Sea Lion, Polar Bear.)
In the case of Keystone, the President has blocked State Department approval of the project following valid, due processes which cleared the project.
Now, when the Congress seems poised to introduce Keystone enabling legislation, the President announces intent to veto any such legislation. This is more clear and present evidence of willful disdain for the spirit if not the precise definition of due process.
Through such action in the energy business, together with evidence in other federal jurisdictions (i.e. Overreaching Executive Orders, Justice Department-selective enforcement, IRS-targeting non-profits, State Department-Benghazi, etc.), one must conclude the country is dangerously close to losing constitutional freedom and the rule of law reputation for which it was once so well regarded.
Energy company shareholders are among the most affected by a dilution of due process when the rule of law is replaced by rule of men with political agendas.
The White House warned Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama would veto a new Congressional bill to have the Keystone XL pipeline built arguing there is a well-established process to review the controversial cross-border project.
Almost seven years after filing its application for a 830,000 barrel a day oil pipeline, TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling expressed exasperation over the latest setback.
“The review process for Keystone XL has been anything but well-established. We are well over the six-year mark reviewing the final phase of Keystone with seemingly no end in sight,” Girling said in a statement after... (More here)
Canadian Press/Global News. Alberta’s premier remains hopeful about the Keystone XL pipeline despite word that U.S. President Barack Obama may veto the project. Prentice says he will travel to Washington within the next month to let people know that Keystone is in the best interests of Canadians and Americans alike.
Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) says there is broad public and political support in the United States for the pipeline that would carry Alberta bitumen to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Globe & Mail. Quebec’s energy regulator is giving the thumbs-up to TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline, calling the plan “desirable.”
The $12-billion pipeline between Alberta and New Brunswick aims to connect western crude with eastern refineries and new markets across the Atlantic.
TODAY'S Energy In Depth News Links:
Weds., January 7, 2015
- EID-National: API’s State of American Energy address and report underscore bright future ahead – if policy-makers do their job (1/6)
- EID-Illinois: Unlike New York, Illinois is helping its economically challenged regions by moving forward with shale (1/6)
- Guest post from BakerHostetler: Cuomo’s decision on HF doesn’t appear to be based on science – or the law (1/6)
API chief focuses on oil exports, KXL in annual address. E&E News (subs. req’d). Throughout his remarks, Gerard touched many times on the need to move forward in approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Describing that approval as "low-hanging fruit," he expressed disappointment at news that the White House said it would likely veto a KXL approval bill introduced yesterday by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). "The American public is frustrated and confused by this indecision," Gerard said. "They say to themselves, 'Wait a minute, there's 42,000 jobs here and we can't make a simple decision?' So, longer-term, I believe Keystone is ultimately going to get done."
Democrats must respect the power of oil and gas. Houston Chronicle, op-ed. Oil and gas is no longer a game reserved for Texas wildcatters. Shale can be found easily in blue states and red states, and politicians all along the aisle should have trouble finding bad news in fracking's gifts of job growth, affordable fuel and strength abroad.
Industry benefits from transparency about HF fluids. The Oklahoman, op-ed. Baker Hughes, an energy firm in Houston, is about to make history. It just pledged to disclose the chemical makeup of its hydraulic fracturing fluid. Fracking fluids are safe. And the public deserves to know what goes into them. That’s why I firmly support fracking disclosure laws.
Oil prices will recover, but market could behave chaotically. Houston Chronicle. In a balanced market, however, the oil industry simply cannot produce all of oil the world needs for $50 a barrel or less. That's the good news for Houston, but the bad news is that companies will be under intense pressure to produce oil as cheaply as possible because, since November's OPEC meeting, the world lacks a regulator, or swing producer, to stabilize the market. If left to its own devices, the invisible hand of the market will be stirring a pot of chaos in 2015.
U.S. oil production will be falling by end of 2015. Reuters, column. In the short term, U.S. oil production is set to continue rising because there is still a backlog of wells waiting for fracturing crews and completion after the record drilling during the first ten months of 2014. In North Dakota, for example, there were around 650 wells waiting on completion services at the end of October 2014 because drillers had outpaced completion crews, according to the state's Department of Mineral Resources.
Low oil prices leave U.S. shale players cautious. UPI. Energy companies working in U.S. shale basins announced plans to trim capital programs for 2015 because of the steep decline in oil prices. The price for West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, dipped below the $50 mark for the first time in more than five years Monday. Globally, oil prices have lost half of their value since mid-June 2014, forcing major oil and gas companies to cut back on spending for this year.
Anti-Cuadrilla group's leaflet misleading, says watchdog. The Independent. In a setback for the anti-fracking lobby, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that sections of the leaflet from the Residents Action On Fylde Fracking (Raff) protest group misinterpreted scientific data around shale gas extraction and exaggerated the size and scale of planned fracking operations in the region.
Junior explorer pulls plug on Ukraine. UPI. The economic climate in Ukraine is no longer conducive to continue investing in shale natural gas opportunities, producer JKX Oil & Gas said Wednesday. "The board of JKX has decided that the combination of Ukrainian Government-imposed restrictions on selling its gas to industrial clients and the punitive rate of gas production tax requires the company to suspend its planned 2015 capital investment program in Ukraine until the economic parameters for investment improve," it said in a statement.
Protests Hit Southern Algeria Over Shale. Associated Press. Protests in Algeria's remote and sparsely populated south over efforts to exploit the country's vast shale gas reserves spread to the regional capital Tuesday, the state news agency reported.
New report calls for better oversight of injection wells. Bakersfield Californian. In a report with strong implications for Kern County's oil industry, an environmental activist group called Tuesday for changing the process for exempting aquifers from federal groundwater protections. An oil industry trade group, the California Independent Petroleum Association, was dismissive of the report, noting there is no evidence of waste being injected into drinking water supplies.
5 things to know as the Colorado legislative session begins. Associated Press. Colorado lawmakers begin the 2015 session on Wednesday. Here's a weekly look at what's coming up: Fracking - Another big debate involves whether any new regulations are needed over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Gov. John Hickenlooper assembled a task force to look at how to settle land-use clashes among homeowners, local governments, and the energy industry. The task force's charge is to give lawmakers recommendations, but whether anything happens remains to be seen.
Windsor braces for industry slowdown. The Coloradoan. While many Northern Colorado residents are enjoying the country’s falling gas prices, Windsor officials say the anticipated slowdown in tax revenue from oil and gas companies will hamper them this year. Those companies will likely scale back their operations around Windsor, Town Manager Kelly Arnold said during a work session Monday. Fracking activity in the area may not pick back up until 2016.
What new fines would have meant in Windsor spill. The Coloradoan. An oil and gas operator who spilled 7,500 gallons into the Poudre River last year would have faced 15 times the financial penalty under a new fine structure passed this week. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved a maximum penalty of $15,000 a day for "the most egregious violations" in a Monday hearing — up from a previous maximum fine of $1,000 per day.
Oil price plunge imperils La. jobs — but when? The Advertiser. In Louisiana, initial claims for unemployment insurance in mining — many oil and gas jobs are recorded as mining — totaled 227 in December, higher than in any previous month but not much higher than claims recorded in January 2014. Guarisco said oil and gas employment appeared to remain robust in December, as many oil and gas jobs must be done no matter the price per barrel.
Denton anti-HF activists to make appearances in St. Tammany Parish. Times-Picayune. Two people whose efforts helped enact a ban on fracking in Denton, Texas, will be in St. Tammany Parish this weekend for a party and a symposium about hydraulic fracturing. The citizens group Tammany Together is putting on the events.
Penn students jump into the shale fray with a new technology. NPR. One of the pressing questions regarding fracking is whether or not the chemicals used to help pry the gas from tight rock formations like the Marcellus Shale leaks or migrates to drinking water supplies. Imagine if you could determine whether fracking caused ground water contamination using a thin strip of single carbon atoms. That’s what two seniors studying at both the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school and its bioengineering department, are trying to do. Teddy Guenin and Ashwin Amurther are finalists for a $5000 prize through the University.
Analyst predicts gasoline rebound despite oil's plunge. Tribune-Review. Gasoline prices likely will rebound over the next few months and rise above $3 per gallon by May, despite the continuing drop in global oil prices, a national analyst predicted Tuesday. Oil prices driving much of the pump price dropped by half because of increased supply from shale producers, tepid global demand and a decision by exporters such as those in the OPEC cartel to push prices down by maintaining production.
US Forest Service accepting comments on Va. pipeline path. Associated Press. Friday's the deadline to comment on a proposed natural gas pipeline whose route includes the George Washington National Forest. The multi-billion-dollar pipeline is proposed by Dominion Resources and other energy companies. It would run from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina. The proposed $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline would transport natural gas collected through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
Shale is proving beneficial. The Star Democrat, LTE. In her guest comment, “Fracking may prove to be harmful to public’s health,” Rebecca Rehr presents the potential hazards of hydraulic fracturing without balancing them with the benefits. Of course there are health and environmental hazards to extracting oil and gas from tight shale and other rock formations. However, horizontal drilling and fracking have dramatically increased U.S. production of oil and gas, leading to benefits both here and globally.
Natural Gas Price Plummets, But Tax Still a Wolf Priority. Philadelphia Magazine. States that depend on energy resources to power their economies and budgets are tightening their belts as the prices of oil and natural gas fall, but that won’t — and maybe shouldn’t — stand in the way of a new fracking tax in Pennsylvania, officials say.
Natural-gas home-heating rates low for January. Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cold January weather has arrived, but rates for natural gas have fallen. Both Dominion East Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio are posting standard rates that are lower than those in December and lower than year-ago January prices.
Small earthquakes in Mahoning County. Akron Beacon Journal. Shawn Bennett, of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said, “There is no reason for hysteria” regarding the new report. Ohio is working closely with researchers in other states on how “best to mitigate such events from happening in the future,” he said. NOTE: Houston Chronicle/Fuel Fixalso reports.
4 mild earthquakes startle North Texas; no damage reported. Express-News. Four small earthquakes have rattled North Texas hours apart. No damage was reported from Tuesday temblors. The U.S. Geological Service plotted the epicenters of the four quakes to northeast Irving, a Dallas suburb. At least two could be felt throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Low gas prices means job losses. KENS5. The output of the Eagle Ford Shale, recently slipped for the first time in more than a year. The state reports production at the shale dropped by about 2,000 barrels in December. A local economics professor from UTSA said cheap gas prices could mean job losses since a significant part of the economy is driven by oil and gas production.
Other references "A Deal Is A Deal", etc.:
Alaska Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner (NGP Photo-L).
Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo, above) and his new administration are still settling in as state legislators are packing up to head to Juneau for the 2015 session.
The annual political poker game begins Jan. 20 when the state Legislature convenes.
Walker will be at the table. So will House Speaker Mike Chenault (NGP Photo-Far R); Senate President Kevin Meyer (NGP Photo-R); House Democratic Minority Leader Chris Tuck (NGP Photo-R); and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Berta Gardner (NGP Photo).
Alaska Dispatch/AP by James MacPherson.
Forget South Dakota. North Dakota's most similar sister state these days is some 2,000 miles away.
Alaska and North Dakota — which once had little more in common than wintry weather and elbow room — have for the past several years been locked in a state sibling rivalry ....
"It shocks me how much we have in common with Alaska, and it's not just the cold," said Kevin Iverson, manager of ....
North Dakota is bettering Alaska on crude production and the number of residents now.... The United States' unlikely economic darling that is North Dakota comes in contrast to slipping crude production on The Last Frontier.
...North Dakota recaptured the 47th most populous state from Alaska, which .... North Dakota had an estimated 739,482 residents in 2014, up more ....
Alaska lost more than .... (Read more)
Walker orders new spending on Alaska megaprojects stopped. Alaska Dispatch. Following Governor Bill Walker's (NGP Photo) order, the state agency responsible for the smaller pipeline, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., plans to only continue work ...
Walker halts bridge and dam spending. Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman ... Road, the Kodiak Launch Complex, and the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project — are also ... Notably absent from the list is the larger of the state's two natural gas pipeline projects, which would bring gas from the North Slope to ... Gov. Walker halts megaprojects - Juneau Empire (subscription)
12-22-14 Alaska Gas Project In Doubt - White House Still Stalls Keystone XL - Premier Creates Confusing Fracking Obstacle
Petroleum News by Alan Bailey (NGP Photo).
New Fracking Obstacle: What the heck is a "Social License?"
CBC News by Jacques Poitras.
Premier Brian Gallant says gaining social license will be one of the five conditions hydraulic fracturing will have to meet if his government is to lift its moratorium on the technique.
Steve Moran, the chief executive officer of Corridor Resources, says it’s a frustratingly vague concept that he doesn’t know how to achieve.
"Even the premier when he was asked didn't really have an answer in terms of what that mean," Moran told CBC News.
With estimated costs higher than anticipated and a concession agreement due to expire at the end of December, the board of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority faces some tough decisions over the future of the Interior Energy Project, a project designed to bring affordable North Slope natural gas to consumers in Fairbanks.
The project involves the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant on the Slope; a trucking operation to ship LNG from the plant to Fairbanks; LNG storage and liquefaction facilities in Fairbanks; and utility distribution pipelines for delivering gas to customers.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) and Canada’s ambassador to the United States talked about pipelines Friday as they met with Calgary's business community.
Gary Doer says there are a lot of positive signs in the coming year for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The TransCanada project would carry crude oil from northern Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast in Texas.