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


Alaska Taxes

10-25-14 What To Do About The Alaska Budget?

25 October 2014 8:42am

Katie Bender, Alaskanomics, Alaska State Budget, Northrim Bank, State Spending, oil price effect on state budgets, Dave Harbour PhotoAlaskanomics, by Katie Bender (NGP Photo).  There is a lot of discussion regarding the State’s budget and the crunch that is coming in the near future if things do not change. In the October 13, 2014 issue of the Bradners’ Alaska Economic Report, three trends are discussed that will cause an issue for the state after 2020.

It should be no surprise that the decline in oil production is of concern to many in Alaska. This is nothing new for the state, as the decline started in 1989. The past fiscal year saw the decline go from 6 percent to zero percent and there is hope that the new and increased activity on the North Slope will keep the decline flat for a few years. Scott Goldsmith, from UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), predicts that production would have to increase 2 percent each year to make a dent in reducing the state deficit.  One year of flat production is good, but far from the needed increase make a difference for the state budget.  More here....


10-18-14 Journal of Commerce's Andrew Jensen Fact Checks State Senator Bill Wielechowski

18 October 2014 4:46pm

Bill Wielechowski, Alaska State Senator, Union lawyer, Alaska Oil Taxes, SB 21, ACES, Andrew Jensen, Alaska Journal of Commerce, Dave Harbour PhotoJournal of Commerce, 8-7-14, by Andrew Jensen.  If there is one thing Anchorage Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski (NGP Photo) is good for, it is providing column material with his reactions to ConocoPhillips earnings reports.

This quarter is no different, and he definitely isn’t making the task any more difficult.

• “Yesterday ConocoPhillips announced $627 million in 2nd quarter profits from their Alaska operations or nearly $7 million per day from Alaska alone. On an hourly basis that equates to almost $300,000 in profits each and every hour.”

So? Here Wielechowski is simply trying to appeal to the dark impulse of envy in his audience. According to the report, the company paid an effective tax rate of 50.3 percent in Alaska for the quarter, so the government also made about $7 million per day and $300,000 per hour.

Unlike ConocoPhillips, however, it didn’t have to do anything to make that money other than sit back and collect the checks.  More...

(Note that while this article is about two months old, we provide it this weekend as an addition to our archives since Jensen did such a precise job of researching actual facts and correcting the myths some are trying to perpetuate.  -dh)



29 September 2014 8:20am

ADN by Alex DeMaban.  Scott Hawkins (NGP Photo), founder Scott Hawkins, Prosperity Alaska, Ecnomist, Supply Chain, SB 21, Initiative Process, ballot propositionof Prosperity Alaska, believes the voting public should not decide complex tax questions or other measures that increase regulations or permitting of businesses.  

“Oil taxation is an incredibly technical, complex, arcane subject. It does not belong on the ballot,” said Hawkins, president of Advanced Supply Chain International in Anchorage, providing support to oil and gas, mining and other industries. “Our elected officials spent years and thousands of hours in hearings and hired experts and oil taxatiConon is not a suitable subject for the ballot.”


Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Links for TODAY:

Omaha World-Herald: Willie Nelson, Neil Young lend their talents to Keystone XL fight*Michael Whatley Mentioned

Music legends Willie Nelson and Neil Young delivered Saturday on a promise to comfort opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline while also pleasing a few project supporters who ventured into a crowded Nebraska farm field.

*Unique Visitors Per Month:379,880


Norfolk Daily News: Keystone XL foes sing out, call on U.S. to stand up *Michael Whatley Mentioned

Music legends Willie Nelson and Neil Young delivered Saturday on a promise to comfort opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline while also pleasing a few project supporters who ventured into a crowded Nebraska farm field.

*Unique Visitors Per Month:43,158


Nebraska’s NET- NPR: Behind The Singing, Anti-Pipeline Stars Clash With Pipeline Promoters *Michael Whatley Quoted

On stage in front of an estimated 8,000 concertgoers, Neil Young was sweetly singing “Heart of Gold” one minute. But a short while before, he’d been harshly berating the industry that wants to build Keystone XL to pipe oil from the sands of Alberta, Canada to Texas.


Build KXL Now: Harper: KXL Approval is “Inevitable”

In a meeting in New York earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Harper assured attendees that U.S. approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline is unavoidable. Harper said that despite delays in the approval of the project, the need for the KXL hasn’t gone away.


The Florida Times-Union: JEA seeks collaboration amid debate over Obama pollution reduction plan*Kevin Doyle Quoted

JEA officials insist they are seeking collaboration — not political debate — over the Obama administration’s plan to reduce pollution from the nation’s power plants, a proposal that would in some cases require utilities to make big changes to the way they’ve done business for decades.

*Unique Visitors Per Month:468,775


Ocala Star Banner: Letters to the Editor for Sept. 27, 2014 *Kevin Doyle LTE

In response to the Star-Banner's Sept. 23rd editorial, “Florida's untapped potential,” we would like to offer an alternative perspective. The newspaper's editorial failed to consider the impact to consumers' pocketbooks. The editorial made no mention of the fact that the rates that consumers pay for electricity in Vermont are upwards of 50 percent more than they are in Florida.

*Unique Visitors Per Month:206,331


Herald-Tribune: Renewable, but at a cost *Kevin Doyle LTE

In response to the Herald-Tribune's Sept. 17 editorial ("Florida's untapped potential: Vermont city exposes Sunshine State's shortcomings") we would like to offer an alternative perspective.

*Unique Visitors Per Month:319,007


Argus Leader: Nelson, Young perform anti-pipeline concert

Roughly 8,000 people filled a northeast Nebraska farm Saturday to hear Willie Nelson and Neil Young perform at a concert organized by opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.


NRDC: Neil Young, Willie Nelson and 8,000 in Nebraska Stand Up to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Under a warm September sun, thousands spread out across the cornfield on the Tanderup family farm in Neligh, Nebraska. We sang along with Neil Young and Willie Nelson to honor the beautiful Nebraska farms and ranches, waters and traditional lands. Willie Nelson and Neil Young both have a long track record of standing up for the family farmers.


Nebraska Radio Network: Transportation Secretary sees no quick solution to rail car shortage

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx can’t promise any solution this fall to a rail car shortage threatening harvest season. Farmers need rail cars to move crops, but rail has been diverted to hauling oil from the Bakken oil fields in Montana and North Dakota.


USA Today: U.S. carbon emissions rise despite Obama climate plan

U.S. emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have risen 6% in the last two years despite the Obama administration's efforts to curb global warming, federal data show.

CBS News: EPA approves power plant partial shut down proposal

Federal regulators have signed off on a settlement that calls for shutting down part of a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that serves more than 2 million customers in the Southwest.


Tribune-Review: Pippy: Coal power plant regulations not 'realistic'

John Pippy summed up the attitude of the coal industry toward developing state and federal clean air standards by simply saying: “Oversight is good, overreach is bad.”


The Hill: The right option for offshore leasing

The U.S. government could learn important lessons on offshore leasing from financial markets and oil companies.


Wall Street Journal: Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven't Come True

For decades, it has been a doomsday scenario looming large in the popular imagination: The world's oil production tops out and then starts an inexorable decline—sending costs soaring and forcing nations to lay down strict rationing programs and battle for shrinking reserves.


Washington Times: Hydraulic fracturing is the answer to global warming

The game-changer for the United States has been the shale oil and gas revolution over the past six years brought about through new smart drilling technologies. The United States is now the largest natural-gas producer in the world. We have replaced Russia as No. 1. As America has produced more natural gas, we have shifted away from coal. This, according to the Energy Information Administration, accounts for more than 60 percent of the carbon-dioxide emission reductions in the United States. Mr. Obama never mentioned that.


Associated Press: Gas drillers draw less water

The gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania is recycling more and more water and one river basin commission now reports drillers there are drawing less freshwater than in the past. Water use by the natural gas industry in the Susquehanna River Basin peaked at about 3.8 billion gallons in 2011 and that figure declined to about 3.1 billion gallons in 2013.


Bloomberg BNA: Chemical Makers Tell EPA Not to Mandate HF Fluid Disclosure

Chemical makers and energy companies have told the Environmental Protection Agency there is no need for it to require them to report information about the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing fluids.


Financial Times: Rising shale output disrupts US gas prices

The new direction for the Rockies Express shows how pipeline companies are scrambling to keep up with breakthroughs in shale gas drilling. Unlike shale oil, which is booming in North Dakota and Texas, the strongest shale gas growth is in northeastern states.


Washington Post: Nation rushes to embrace natural gas

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s attitude toward natural-gas “fracking” seems to depend on whether it occurs somewhere that would be politically inconvenient for him.


Mohave Valley Daily News: Judge refuses to halt HF

A federal judge has refused to block the release of oil and gas leases in Nevada that critics say will be used for hydraulic fracturing that could harm sage grouse and cause more environmental damage than the Bureau of Land Management admits.


9-26-14 "Balderdash" Or Not, That Is The Question!

26 September 2014 11:19am

See This Week's Petroleum News Stories Here

Petroleum News Story by Alan Bailey (NGP Photo).  In a Sept. Alan Bailey, Petroleum News, HEA, CEA, MEA, ARTEC, Homer Electric, lobbying, grants, Dave Harbour Photo15 letter to state Rep. Doug Isaacson, Brad Janorschke, general manager of Homer Electric Association, said that his utility had quit the Alaska Railbelt Cooperative and Electric Co., or ARCTEC, in early 2013 because, rather than pursuing cost-saving projects that would jointly benefit ARCTEC’s member utilities, ARCTEC’s sole purpose seemed to have become lobbying for grant funding from the state Legislature. A desire of some ARCTEC members to hire a CEO for the organization had also factored into Homer Electric’s decision, Janorschke said.  *     *     *   Joe GriffithARCTEC CEO, told Petroleum News Sept. 23 that, while concerns about the cost of hiring of a CEO may well have motivated Homer Electric to leave the organization, Janorschke’s accusations that ARCTEC had become purely a lobbying organization were essentially “balderdash.”  

Observation: we may have more to say about this in a future editorial comment.  

Suffice to say, we normally default to having the 'cost causer be the cost payer.'  This means that -- in this case -- the rate payers receiving electric service have to pay for it.  

Alan Bailey's article is all about the accusation that ARTEC members are seeking to have others pay for the rate payer projects and benefits in their service areas.  

We tend to put significant credence on the Homer Electric decision and position while still leaving a little opening for valid counter arguments by the other ARTEC utilities.  We would observe that the word, "Balderdash", adds little credibility to construction of a valid counter argument.

We would ask each of the ARTEC members to answer several questions: "If your utility, under your leadership, needs an ARTEC group, and is not capable of properly serving your customers, why are you still in charge?"  

Another question might be, "If one of ARTEC's supposed values is having the member utilities coordinate with one another, why do you need a bureaucracy to communicate; why not do that as a matter of course, as good managers?"  

Lastly, if you would justify your own request for state subsidy by saying, "Well, Fairbanks is trying to get the state to subsidize its natural gas system," I would suggest that should also be the responsibility of very highly compensated utility managers, rate analysts, lawyers and employees in that service area which they have pledged to serve.  

Yes, the time honored concept of 'just and reasonable' rates arises from the foundational principle that the 'cost causer is the cost payer'.  

When we try to have the state give public money, we take that money 1) from the taxpayer, and/or 2) from the citizens elsewhere in the state whose highway, port, public safety and education projects may go begging.  

This makes ARTEC rate payers pay less for the service than it actually costs and thus creates the circumstance of 'an unjust and unreasonable' rate.  

Usually an 'unjust' rate is too high a rate; in this case, it means rate payers pay too little for their service which politicians allowed other parts of the state, or other taxpayers to subsidize.  

Lastly, being realistic, we acknowledge that politicians trade money and projects back and forth all the time, creating inequality of benefit wherever they go.  

For example, ARTEC has already received over $50 million in state money grants while the votes to get that money required trading money to other parts of the state.  Is that a 'just and reasonable' process?  Probably not.

Is it likely to see reform?  Not likely.       -dh


8-29-14 NYT Reports On Alaska Tax Referendum

29 August 2014 5:15am

NYT by Kirk Johnson.  SEATTLE — A hard-fought ballot referendum that would have overturned Alaska’s system of taxing oil industry profits, put to voters last week but until now considered too close to call, has failed by a narrow margin, with absentee ballots counted this week nailing down the outcome.


8-26-14 New App Tracks Canadian Drilling Rigs! An Alaska Business Opportunity?

26 August 2014 7:44am

Calgary Herald, by Dan Healing.  A six-month-old app developed to track and identify drilling rigs in Western Canada has been burning up the rankings for free business downloads lately.  And the nine staff at Calgary-based startup software developer PetroFeed Inc. couldn’t be happier.  “It’s gotten some exposure and things are working out pretty well for us,” said founder and chief executive Ashley Dunfield. “We’ve gotten crazy explosive growth in the ’patch.”

OPINION: The burden of proof that SB21 is the right plan for Alaska is on the oil industry now, and the defeat of the referendum puts Alaska in a win-win situation.  ADN Commentary by T.J. Presely, Nick Moe.

Syndicate content