Calgary Herald by Kelly Cryderman. The public is still in the dark when it comes to the progress made and dollars spent on Alberta’s homegrown strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions....
Alaska is engaging in double taxation of the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) via a property tax that causes assets to be depreciated more than once. In an analysis now appearing in the Journal of Legal Issues and Cases in Business, well known Alaska Economist Roger Marks (NGP Photo) noted that the current TAPS property tax burden results from a 2005 change in assessment methodology from an income to a cost approach. The cost approach produces a calculation of TAPS value based on "replacement cost"....(Read the analysis.) -dh
Alaska Dispatch by Suzanna Caldwell. Despite reports that Cook Inlet may be awash in natural gas, leading to a surge of interest by smaller oil-and-gas companies, utilities are now looking elsewhere to ensure supply meets Southcentral Alaska’s growing demand in the face of aging fields whose output has dwindled precipitously. As a result, the state with the biggest supply of natural gas of any in the union will, within two years, find itself importing the very quantity of gas it has for decades intended to ship overseas or to the Lower 48 to secure its economic future.
Peninsula Clarion Op-Ed by Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo). We urge our readers to review this Commentary by a person we regard as one of the most exceptional individuals to have ever served in the Alaska State Senate. -dh
Alaska State Legislature
"2012 Election Wrap-Up"
When: Thursday, November 8th
Doors open at 6 a.m., program at 7 a.m.
$20 per person
• November 2 - Colleen Starring, President, ENSTAR
• November 9 - Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator, Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects
• December 7 - John Barnes, Senior Vice President, Exploration & Production, Hilcorp Alaska, LLC
• December 14 - Lisa Parker, Government Relations Manager, Apache
Commentary: Yesterday, you read here first the combined position on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska issued by the North Slope Borough (NSB) and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. We mention it again today, adding our appreciation to NSB Mayor's Special Assistant David (DJ) Fauske (NGP Photo). We are confident that the statement is not only the most concise, balanced and decisive energy policy comment from Arctic leaders in recent decades, but that it is also a courageous act of leadership benefitting NSB residents and all Alaska citizens. -dh
ADN Op-Ed by Scott Jepson (NGP Photo). ...high taxes on North Slope oil production, in particular the tax increases passed by the Legislature in 2007 under a bill called ACES, are hurting the investment climate on the North Slope and ultimately the long-term health of Alaska's economy.
Calgary Herald by Dan Healing. Growing competition from oilfields as far away as Colombia and Brazil make it increasingly critical that Canada gain access to new markets for its oil, says a Scotiabank report released Monday.
Alaska Dispatch by Tony Hopfinger and Scott Woodham. In the Russian Arctic, state-owned oil giant Gazprom is doing what Alaskans have long dreamed of -- tapping vast reserves of natural gas at the top of the planet and shipping them to markets. Although natural gas has been flowing from the Yamal Peninsula's Bovanenkovo gas field since June, this past week Gazprom hosted a big event to celebrate the official launch of its field and the workers there. Bovanenkovo, one of the world's three largest conventional natural gas fields, holds an estimated 177 trillion cubic feet of gas. Its official opening featured a giant video monitor that beamed in an address from Russia President Vladimir Putin. The Wall Street Journal described the event like this: Putin praised Gazprom’s successful launch of the new gas field, expected to produce for the next 28 years. He then suddenly slammed the gas monopoly for not adjusting its policy to what he saw as the risk of growing production of shale gas around the world. ... See related Bloomberg story here.
Calgary Herald by Dan Healing. The Montney resource play that has sparked several recent takeover bids is the driver behind a $258-million all-stock bid by Tourmaline Oil Corp. for private Huron Energy Corp.
Alaska House of Representatives Natural Resources Press Office: Obama Administration American Energy Roadblocks Part 2: Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands
Our friend, Brad Keithley (NGP Photo) alerts readers of his blog: In addition to the 59 legislative races that have been — and will continue to be — widely discussed between now and election day, there also are two statewide measures that will appear on the election day ballot. One is the question, required by the Alaska Constitution to be included on the ballot every ten years, of whether there shall be a new Constitutional Convention called. The second is “Bonding Proposition A,” which asks the question “Shall the State of Alaska issue its general obligation bonds in the principal amount of not more than $453,499,200 for the purpose of paying the cost of state transportation projects?” I intend to vote “no” on Bonding Proposition A.
Alaska Dispatch by Van Williams. “Frankly, it was a third-class baseball field,” said Sen. Bert Stedman (NGP Photo) of Sitka. “Some of us thought it was appalling.”
So he stepped up the plate and hit a home run with the development of new Moller Field, the only all-turf field in Alaska.
Stedman was the MVP of the multimillion-dollar project, identifying the need for a new turf field, driving home the point with other legislative leaders and securing the funding through the capital budget.
(Commentary: Keithley is right and we will be joining him with our 'no' vote. New readers can scroll down to our editorial yesterday and likely agree that Alaska has more of a 'spending problem' than a 'tax problem'. While the latter runs a close second in importance the former attracts almost no attention. This is because attacks on government spending -- even frivolous spending -- seldom accrue to the specific economic gain of any one special interest. Bloating the budget, project by project attracts a withering array of aggressive forces to the army of lobbyists. In a democracy, it is almost impossible for even the stoutest fiscal conservatives to face that onslaught head-on. Likewise, it is egotistically and politically rewarding to bask in glory at the head of the Army, when it marches through city streets announcing large budgets for great projects. Ballot spending initiatives, are one small way in which citizens can, in the privacy of that aluminum voting booth, take a stand against the tsunami tide of uncontrolled spending and government growth. -dh)
Here is Dan Fagan's Important "Alaska Under Siege" Production!
Here is how Houston Celebrated 'Energy Day' last Saturday!
Murkowski Discusses Alaska Natural Gas “Window of Opportunity” with Producers
HOUSTON, TEXAS – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, met this week with executives from the North Slope’s three major producers to discuss the current state of plans and next steps for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project for commercializing Alaska’s gas resources.
“I wanted to hear directly from the companies about where they are in the planning and design process, and what they see as the next step to advance the project,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski said she was encouraged by the level of cooperation that now seems to exist between Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP around a single export project to monetize the North Slope’s 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Monday’s meeting included Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America; John Minge, president of BP Exploration Alaska; Matt Fox, executive vice president of exploration and production for ConocoPhillips; and Rich Kruger, president of Exxon Mobil Production Co.
The biggest hurdle facing the project, according to the producers, is the uncertainty of Alaska’s fiscal regime, an issue they have repeatedly testified about before the Alaska State Legislature.
Murkowski said it’s important that Alaska price its gas competitively in the world market to ensure development of a project that’s estimated to cost as much as $65 billion. But she also pressed the executives of all three companies on the importance of moving quickly to seize the opportunity to ship Alaska gas to the energy hungry markets of Japan, South Korea and the rest of the Pacific Rim.
“Alaskans have waited for four decades to see some benefit from their North Slope gas. While Lower 48 markets may be oversupplied because of the shale boom, places like Japan and South Korea are willing to pay a premium for long-term supply contracts,” Murkowski said. “But that window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely.”
Murkowski continues to promote the development of Alaska’s North Slope gas reserves as the state’s senior U.S. senator and as the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Over the past year, Murkowski has held a number of meetings with Japanese and South Korean officials to discuss the benefits of a securing a long-term supply of gas from Alaska. This summer, she brought her Senate Energy Committee colleagues, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Or., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., to the state on separate trips to show them Alaska’s vast energy resources.
Visit our website at http://energy.senate.gov/public/
Platts by Tim Bradner. A group of Japanese Companies has opened an office in Alaska in hope of working with the state, North Slope producers and TransCanada on a large natural gas liquefaction project, an official for the group said Monday. The Consortium, Resources Energy, is proposing to build and own an LNG plant at a south Alaska tidewater port, but also could invest in the pipeline needed to bring North Slope gas south to the proposed plant, the company's Alaska manager, Mary Ann Pease (NGP Photo), said. ... Members of the Japanese consortium inlcude Japan Petroleum Exploration, Idemitsu Kosan, JX Nippon Oil and Energy, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph.
ADN OP-Ed by Vince Beltrami (NGP Photo). In last week's ADN Paul Jenkins said this: "A union front, the Putting Alaskans First Committee, is dedicated to saving the state Senate Bipartisan Working Group and Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax (ACES) -- even at the expense of Alaska's future." Jenkins got the first part right, but he whiffed on the back end.
Edmonton Journal by Michael Smyth. As Premier Christy Clark (EJ Photo-L) ramps up the rhetoric on the proposed Enbridge pipeline, it’s important to know exactly where she stands on the $6-billion megaproject. ... Consider Clark’s demand for a “fair share” of pipeline profits, an issue that’s triggered a nasty war of words with Alberta Premier Alison Redford (EJ Photo-R). Redford is angry that Clark has suggested Alberta’s domestic oil royalties could possibly be shared with B.C. in return for this province’s support of the pipeline, which would connect Alberta’s oilsands to our coast. No one should be surprised Alberta would be hostile to another province trying to siphon away its natural-resource revenue. So Clark was asked if she would be open to other sources of pipeline revenue. For example: is she willing to consider a B.C. pipeline tax?
Andrew Halcro (NGP Photo-L) writes: The "Duty to produce" is the idea that the state has the contractual power to force North Slope producers to start selling their gas. ... There is no way Alaska courts are going to force the producers to sell natural gas.
Current Events Seem As Strange As Atlas Shrugged Fiction
In an ADN Op-Ed by Don Smith, he argues for reducing spending to accommodate diminished oil production and, perhaps increasing mining taxes which would inject more uncertainty into the calculus of mining investments. The words of this republican candidate will give no clarity or comfort to either oil or mining investors.
In an ADN Op-Ed by Berta Garner, she says rightly that Alaska's oil production decline must be reversed but offers no solution which would increase oil investment in this politically volatile, logistically complex, climactically disadvantaged, high cost state. While giving lip service to mining as being 'important', she strongly hints that mining and fish resources are mutually exclusive. The words of this democrat candidate will give no clarity or comfort to either oil or mining investors.
These ADN Op-Eds were mischaracterized as 'point-counterpoint' opinions. Most of our readers might agree that at least on oil and mining issues, the gulf between this republican and democrat was not very wide or deep.
A theme running through all the stories today is that of government officials pretending to know how to outthink a private sector and a free market.
Last night I attended the second of the "Atlas Shrugged" series movies and recommend it to our readers. While those with progressive leanings will snicker and make fun of the basic messages embedded in the movie, an objective viewer might well see disturbing similarities being played out in the real world, symbolized by the many stories of government-citizen tension amply illustrated in these pages over the past decade. Recent examples include the above references to a British Columbia's Premier, the controling characteristics of two Alaska legislative candidates and a movement to create a new 'duty to produce' which would make contracts meaningless and laws as meaningful as shifting, volitile windstorms. And that is the tip of the iceberg to those of us familiar with federal actions in both Canada and the U.S., initiatives by local regulators and politicians and by the judicial systems who've punished many projects and citizens with judicial precedents embedded in Alaska's "Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing," and Canada's "Duty to Consult".
Those willing to remain seated, as I did, after the show, meditating, watching the credits scroll down, were rewarded with one last message before the screen went black. While I did not write down each word, that last Ayn Rand message was similar to the one below. -dh (See other reviews: WSJ, FORBES, CNN, NR, Part I Trailer, Current Part II Trailer)
When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed. -AR