From the Senate Energy Committee: See How Envronmental Extremism is Destroying California Lives
Aussie Oil and Gas Observer: The smashing of the Shanghai stock market yesterday – an 8.5% fall (the biggest one day decline in eight years) – has reverberated around the world in both stock markets and commodity markets, and oil was not left out of the carnage. *** Japan’s average LNG price (per mmbtu) for June was down again – at US$8.65. Volumetrically this figure is largely driven by contract purchases. At this price, few if any Australian LNG projects would have been sanctioned in the last decade. ***
Quote of the day, from the classic play (and movie) Glengarry Glen Ross, which captures something of the atmosphere within employee ranks in oil companies at present:
“As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired”.
Commentary: We are very proud -- and respectful -- of one of our readers, an Australian energy expert, for acting on our suggestion that he begin writing an energy blog (Column Right).
We call him "Aussie" here, because his active energy investing and consulting do not allow him the flexibility of using his proper name on his blog at this time.
Aussie is a brilliant thinker, observer of energy trends and realities, and writer. He is also prolific, producing new commentary almost daily. He knows North American energy issues well.
In short, we are delighted to begin bringing you his commentary.
We think you'll share our respect for his wisdom and insight as he tackles the effect of this week's economic crisis in China on energy projects, prices, projections and employees.
Following is a clip from his email today. -dh
Our Face Book comment on this issue:
The science is not settled (See Praeger University comment below).
Believing that it is settled is justifying environmentally extreme movements designed to bloat bureaucracies and amass political power by forming critical partnerships with subsidized businesses that could not survive in a non-subsidized world.
This process is also known as "crony capitalism" which is designed to destroy capitalism and free enterprise over time.
One of many effects of "climate politics" is justifying massive income redistribution from economical fossil fuels, taxpayers and utility ratepayers to subsidize expensive alternate fuels represented by countless lobbyists.
This video is a true public service that can be useful in communicating basic facts to our fellow citizens, fellow taxpayers, and fellow utility ratepayers.
We are are being misled by armies of entrepreneurs with alternate energy profit motives who are major funders of political campaigns.
We can think of this wealth transfer alliance as the eco-crony capitalist-political cycle of life. -dh
New Video: What They Haven't Told You about Climate Change
Since time immemorial, our climate has been and will always be changing. Patrick Moore explains why "climate change," far from being a recent human-caused disaster, is, for a myriad of complex reasons, a fact of life on Planet Earth.
Senate Energy Committee - California Drought and ESA
ICYMI: This is a very interesting piece on the current drought in California that’s causing a “humanitarian disaster” in the Golden State. Charles Cook chronicles his firsthand experiences in California’s Central Valley that’s experiencing devastating economic impacts stemming from the state’s ongoing drought crisis. -
From: Michael Tadeo, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Golden State Dust Bowl: How environmental extremism is destroying California’s Central Valley (National Review)
August 10, 2015, Issue
By, Charles C. W. Cooke
Central Valley, Calif. — The road to Fresno is flanked by missed opportunities. Just ten years ago, to drive across this extraordinary valley was to be blinded by miles upon miles of burgeoning green life. Now, the fields that run alongside State Route 180 resemble the squares on a giant, schizophrenic checkerboard. On one block there are pistachios, almonds, tomatoes, and grapes, stretching as far as you can see; on the next all is brown and fallow, and the dust swirls upward toward the heavens. On the edge of the small farm town of Mendota, an abandoned sugar plant stands defiantly against the sky. It is beautiful, in a peculiar way — a fading Hopper sketch for an unsure world. This was a resolute place, once.
That was before the decline; before the worst drought in 1,200 years turned some of America’s most fertile ground into a Dust Bowl; before soft-handed politicians in a faraway city took a look at an economic miracle and concluded that it was expendable. There is no question that God has played His role in bringing about this crisis: It has not rained consistently in the Central Valley for half a decade now, and the reservoirs in the northern part of the state are dangerously low. But Caesar must share in the blame. Because the valley is liable to become parched in rainless times, California has constructed a complex system of pipes and pumps that funnel lifesaving water southward from the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. Since 2007, that system has been deliberately crippled. In that year, the Natural Resources Defense Council convinced a judge that, by operating the pumps at high capacity, California was killing too many smelts — a small fish that is explicitly protected within the Endangered Species Act. In consequence, the throughput was severely curtailed, and the farmers, who under the state’s “seniority” system have the last claim on the water, were all but cut off. Two years later the drought began, and a blow was struck upon a bruise.
On the edge of a field on the outskirts of Mendota, unemployed farmworkers have built a tattered town. In another era it would have been described as a “Hooverville”; today, it bears no appellation at all. These are forgotten people, and their hamlet is veiled by indifference.
I meet Frederico, a Guatemalan farmhand who has lived here for six years. He has only a few dollars to his name — kept in cash, of course — but he considers himself “one of the lucky ones” nevertheless. “I could have nothing,” he tells me, gesturing toward a hut that he has built from abandoned sheets of wood and a stretch of discarded canvas. “But I have a house.”
Frederico is one of the many workers in California’s Central Valley who have seen their livelihoods all but destroyed by the Great Drought. “I manage to work a little here and there,” he explains, “but the water . . . the water. Often I have to go 20 miles to find work.”
Above all else, he misses the shade. “In 2008 and 2009, they started to cut my hours,” he says. “Eventually, I couldn’t pay rent.” So he moved here, to a dusty pasture by the side of a highway, and he built his tumbledown shack. “I went to the recycling place and found the bits for my house,” he recalls. “There were trees here. But they burned down. It is so hot.”
Frederico’s neighbor, a new arrival to the camp, is burning trash in a hole. He, too, has come from Mendota. “I was living in an apartment building,” he tells me, declining to give his name. “But when I lost my job, I didn’t have money for rent.” His landlord wanted a long-term lease, and he couldn’t pay. Since moving out here, he has gained occasional employment. But it is barely enough to provide food and water. “If somebody finds a job,” he tells me, “they communicate it to the whole camp. That person becomes a hero.”
He does not expect to move out anytime soon. “I am working on a garden,” he says, with a proud smile. He has started to decorate, too, putting on a wooden front door and hanging a painted sign from the roof. There is a bank of dirt behind the first row of homes, and he has planted seeds into it — some oak, some pine. Eventually — in decades — they will accord him some relief from the sun.
I meet the town’s self-appointed leader, a Salvadoran immigrant who has been here for six years. “I felt super when I was able to work,” he tells me. “Now I can’t buy medicine; I can’t buy food. I used to work 40 hours a week. Now I work eight.” Compared with the elderly workers, who cannot compete in this market, he has it good. “The older people are getting into drugs and alcohol,” he says. “I resolve any conflict here. People have started to respect and look up to me.”
Happily, he has little to do as peacemaker. Generally, the camp’s 50 or so residents look out for one another, sharing skills and food and news of job openings. When things become especially dire, some ride broken bicycles around the fields, in search of bottles that might carry a small recycling value. And then they wait: for work, for the food bank, for a sign from above.
Some of these people are in the United States illegally; others are citizens who have fallen on hard times. The cynic will wonder whether it is America’s problem that a group of lawbreakers cannot find work. I caught myself wondering precisely this when touring the camps. And yet, wherever one’s sympathies lie on that thorny question, to look at the tents in isolation is a mistake. Mendota’s unfortunates are symptomatic of a much, much broader problem — a canary in the coal mine. A decade ago, the Central Valley was a wonder of the world — a place where anybody could find work. Today, it is playing host to a humanitarian disaster.
In the parking lot outside a gas station in nearby San Joaquin, Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal runs me through the decline. An immigrant from Punjab, in India, Dhaliwal has seen the region at its best and worst. “I’ve been here since 1983,” he says. “I worked in the fields for my first year and a half. I did everything that the farmworkers do. The picture has been slowly changing.”
The scene that Dhaliwal paints is best described as one of trickle-down poverty. “I’ve been running a small business here since 1991,” he says. “There aren’t so many customers these days. I also run an agricultural-hardware business here in town — and a small farm. We have seen the same trend. I have the numbers for the last 14 or 15 years, and there’s a downward trend. We’re just waiting for the rain.”
As we chat, a couple of older men amble slowly and unsurely down the fading railway lines that run through the city. One of them is wearing a ripped vest and a faded New York Yankees cap; the other is in a filthy Dickies shirt and a tattered Puma hat. Neither man has many teeth left, and those that do remain are rotten and brown. The heavy green stains on the pair’s jeans and sneakers reveal that they are returning from a shift in the tomato fields. This has been a good day.
Such days are few and far between. “They used to come and drag us out of the house,” one of the men tells me. Now, “they rotate people around to give us all a chance.”
“Sometimes people bring them food or clothes,” Mayor Dhaliwal says. “The charities have stepped up to the plate. We have a kitchen that comes two days a week. We also have a food bank. And that’s great. But these men want to earn their bucks. They don’t want handouts. This is about dignity. I want real jobs out there. I want people lining up around the block, not handouts.”
As we leave, the taller of the men clasps his hand around Mayor Dhaliwal’s arm and speaks quickly in Spanish. He is clearly nervous. “He is saying that he sleeps poorly because he lives next to the railway line,” Dhaliwal tells me. “He is worried that the gas tanks behind his home are going to explode and kill him.”
“I got this mark from a snake,” the mayor tells me, pointing to the long scar that runs along his elbow. He looks at up at the sky. “I could have died, but God saved me.”
In Huron, I meet with a peer of Dhaliwal’s, Mayor Sylvia Chavez. Home to 7,000 people, Huron is the fourth-poorest municipality in all of California. “Look outside,” Chavez urges me. “It’s June, and the town is empty — as if it were a winter day! Usually, we’d have trucks and buses coming through. Usually, there would be traffic lines at the four-way stop. Usually, there would be lots of new faces.”
Not anymore. Huron, which has a population that is 98 percent Hispanic, has an unemployment rate of 35 percent. “The guy at the gas station across the street no longer sells gas, because there’s nobody to sell it to,” Chavez tells me. “He just does contract work now.” This, it seems, is a fairly common story. Ten years ago, Huron Tire Service Inc. was in such demand that the owner was running out of space in which to keep his inventory. “There were piles of tires all over the place,” Chavez says. Today, he orders his supplies ad hoc.
The decline in commercial activity has hit the city’s government hard. Sales-tax and gasoline-tax receipts are down dramatically. Courtesy of harsh spending cuts, 2015 was the first year in five that the city was in the black. “We’re just holding on,” Chavez tells me. “We’ve had to cut a lot. It’s difficult to know what to do.”
The human cost is real. “People used to leave their doors open at night,” Chavez recalls. “Now they can’t leave anything outside. We have a lot of stealing now. There are break-ins at homes; there is theft from farms and stores. I don’t walk around late at night anymore.” Domestic violence and child abuse have become “big problems,” as has substance addiction. Chavez cannot work out why the decline of the area hasn’t become a bigger story. Why isn’t it leading the national news?
Even locally, there is a good amount of shoulder-shrugging. “I went to a meeting in Fresno,” she says, rolling her eyes, “and they were talking about putting together a new committee to regulate the supply of groundwater. I sat there listening to them and I thought, Another agency: That’s exactly what we need!”
Huron serves as a particularly extreme example of the Central Valley’s predicament. But the challenges that it is facing are by no means unique. In her downtown office, the sheriff of Fresno County, Margaret Mims, lays out the numbers. “Back in 2010,” she explains, “we just didn’t have the sales or property taxes. So we had to lay a whole lot of people off.”
“A whole lot” is no exaggeration. In the space of a few months, the county had to let 77 people go. “We lost deputy-sheriff positions. We lost correctional-officer positions. It affected everybody.” Things are improving — slowly. But, Mims sighs, the department is “still about 70 deputies short of where we were in ’09.”
“The unemployment rate has made the gangs worse,” Mims tells me, “especially if there is violence in the home. The kids look outside, and they see the gangs. They move from a dysfunctional family to a functional one.” Such behavior makes the economic picture considerably worse, contributing to a disastrous spiral that is going to be extremely difficult to break. A piece of copper from an automated pump may be worth around $10 to a criminal, but it costs around $2,000 to replace. Even worse, if farmers do not initially notice the theft, they may have to wait for replacement parts and end up losing their crops. This results in fewer opportunities for work, which leads more people to crime, which . . .
“In the ’09–’10 budget year, we closed down three floors of our county jail,” Mims recalls with a grimace. “We just couldn’t hold people who needed to be held. That was a horrible time to live through.” It was not just petty thieves who benefited from the absence of jail space. “There are 442 inmates per floor. We had to let 1,326 people go,” Mims says. “We couldn’t afford the staff that it took to guard them. I just hated the message that it sent. The feeling out there was, ‘We can do whatever we want because they don’t have jail space.’” Eventually, Mims had to draw a line — at murderers.
Todd Suntrapak, the CEO of Valley Children’s Hospital, knows all about such tough choices. The drought, he tells me, is “not a very sexy issue.” In consequence, the coverage of its ruinous fallout has been “limited to this valley.” “That this is not a bigger issue in Sacramento — or even nationally,” he submits, is “unimaginable.”
For the facility he manages, the drought has been little short of a disaster. Valley Children’s is the only pediatric hospital between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it was short of doctors when times were good. Now, it simply cannot cope with the demand. “We have seen double-digit increases in volume to our ER for the last four years,” he records. “Thirty-three percent of kids in the area are living in poverty, and that number is likely to increase.”
Newly unemployed workers continue to stream in, mostly “coming for the primary care that they were unable to get in their communities.” By the time they get here, they’re invariably sicker. Because so many fields are fallow, the amount of particulate matter in the air has increased considerably. This has led to an increase in chronic respiratory diseases, and it has provoked lethal complications among those who are already ill. “The dust can be a death sentence,” Suntrapak concludes. “If you have a weak immune system, it’s catastrophic.” And it’s not just the environment. The “child-abuse-prevention team is busier than it’s ever been.”
This year, Suntrapak’s staff is already 20 percent over its budget assumptions. The state is paying, too. Eighty-two percent of the patients at Valley Children’s are on Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid. Six years ago, that number was 70 percent. For many, it is no mean feat just to get here. “They use up whatever gas money they have for the month just to reach us,” he tells me. “And then they can’t pay for the medication they need.”
At an emergency meeting run by El Agua Es Asunto de Todos, attendees are tearing their hair out. El Agua was formed by a former consul to Mexico, Martha Elvia Rosas, in the hope that sustained action would draw attention to the water crisis and force the federal government to act.
The speakers are schoolteachers, charity workers, medical professionals, university professors, family farmers, and local politicians — not your typical critics of runaway environmentalism. But, having watched their communities crumble, they have been moved to act. “There has to be a compromise,” one woman tells me before the meeting starts. “People are suffering.”
“People go to the grocery store,” says a teacher from the city of Firebaugh, “and they see melons, they see lettuce, they see tomatoes — and they think it’s all okay. In San Francisco, they turn on the faucet and they see water. It’s all taken care of. Nobody cares. People haven’t seen the devastation that’s going on here.”
When I ask for information, the visitors surround me and share their stories of decline. A once “vibrant school system with lots of parent support” has been turned into a nightmare, in which families “starve and scrape together to survive”; there is abundant “domestic violence,” and “kids need constant counseling”; single-family homes are now “hovels for multiple families,” while “garages are shelters for out-of-luck workers”; the food banks have “gone from assistance to subsistence” — so necessary, perhaps, that “in 70 or 80 percent of communities, they are indispensable.”
One gentleman, a soft-spoken local politician whose constituents have been hit hard, strikes a desperate tone. “We’re losing hope,” he laments. “Is anybody out there listening to us?”
He is unsure that they are. “We’re starting to think of extreme ideas,” he says. Those ideas? Blocking the freeway; limiting the flow of produce to market — anything that will force people to pay attention.
It is clear that he is just blowing off steam with such talk. Even the most passionate of my interlocutors — a middle-aged Hispanic man who talks in fiery, urgent language — is aware that such courses of action would be counterproductive. “This is a population that wants to work, not cause trouble,” he tells me. “If they had their way, you would only see them early in the dawn hours of the morning, when they are going into the fields. Then you would see their shadows when they leave the fields at night. They are not going to do anything sensational. They don’t want to ruffle feathers.”
He will be setting no fires. But his anger is real, and it is palpable. “I love the environment,” he says. “I fought to protect the majestic redwoods. But when our group invited the EPA to meet with the farmworkers and families here, they declined.” So, disgracefully, have California’s elected representatives. Time and time again I hear it said that politicians outside California are more interested in finding a solution than those within. “Where is Barbara Boxer? Where is Nancy Pelosi?” Noting caustically that Hispanics are being disproportionately affected, some go so far as to suggest that there is racism at play.
There is not — just environmental zealotry and an arrogant indifference to its human cost, borne by these people suffering under the sun. People who walked into the fields looking for the American dream but found it dammed at the source. If it so wished, Congress could amend the Endangered Species Act tomorrow, and the valley could enjoy a little more of the water that it needs to raise its daily bread. But, for now at least, Congress will not do so — not, one suspects, until breakfasting grandstanders in Washington, D.C., come to ask in irritation why the orange-juice jugs are empty and there are no longer any melons in the fruit bowl.
Deputy Communications Director
Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
7-24-15 Northern Pipelines, Economies, Alaska Native and Canadian Aboriginal People Are Interdependent
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Northern Pipelines, Economies, Alaska Native and Canadian Aboriginal People Are Interdependent
Alaska Natives, Canadian Aboriginals and Northern economies depend on oil and gas development and the transportation systems moving the resources to market.
Transportation systems like pipelines require rights of way. Rights of way and subsistence hunting and fishing and agricultural areas very often overlap proposed pipeline routes.
All stakeholders care about the safety of pipeline operations. For sure, all stakeholders wish to maximize their own income streams. Without access to natural resources, natural resource companies cannot survive.
Without the revenue provided by natural resource companies, rural, regional and even national economies would have difficulty sustaining their citizens' ways of life. We could think of this economic cycle of life as, "mutually assured sustainability".
Some legal gladiators, like environmental groups, however, may have multiple goals of minimizing ecological effects of (or flat out stopping) development, fund raising, member recruitment and crisis management as a key to attracting new and greater levels of contributions.
However, one should carefully note that the total disapproval of a project that environmental activists oppose may enrich their far-away NGO coffers while impoverishing citizen stakeholders in all directly affected rural, regional and national economies.
This excellent Calgary Herald story by James Wood demonstrates the a laudable appreciation of both developers and traditional peoples to create sustainable models of cooperation and development.
In Alaska, we are encouraged by Alaska Native Corporation relationships with Shell's Arctic OCS program--and other natural resource projects. But, as above, we note that environmental activists seeking destruction of the project could seriously diminish the entire future economy of Alaska, with negative impacts, as well, on the national treasury and national security interests in the Arctic.
Calgary Herald by James Wood. The head of the Assembly of First Nations told a Calgary business crowd Wednesday the energy industry must do a better job on safety and protecting the environment if it wants to earn the trust of Canada’s aboriginal people.
Perry Bellegarde, speaking at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon, said First Nations are watching the recent spill of bitumen from a state-of-the-art Nexen pipeline south of Fort McMurray.
“They have the best technology in place. What happened? That shouldn’t happen,” said Bellegarde, who comes from the Black Bear First Nation ....
First Nation opposition has been a major factor in stalling Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposed to connect Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, B.C., for shipment to Asia. Resistance by aboriginal groups could also hamper TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East line to the Atlantic coast.
Bellegarde noted there is a vast difference of opinion among individual First Nations toward pipelines, with some interested in the economic potential of the projects and others fiercely opposed.
“If the industry can assure people there are systems in place — better systems — they will be more open to transportation, to the pipelines,” he said.
Bellegarde said the oilpatch needs to engage with indigenous people, suggesting a system in which resource companies must demonstrate their commitment to aboriginal economic development and employment before development permits are issued.
“We’re not opposed to development, but we want to make sure the footprint’s not like this,” he added, holding his arms wide.
Greg Stringham, vice-president with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, was in attendance for Bellegarde’s speech at the Hyatt Regency and said it was “inspiring.”
Blaine Favel, another former FSIN chief who is now the executive chairman of Calgary-based One Earth Oil and Gas Inc., told the chamber crowd that “the old way of doing things can’t work anymore when it comes to energy issues.”
With files from Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Herald and The Canadian Press.
|Calgary Herald by Alicjaa Siekierska. Carbon & dust emissions from oil sands activity stimulates forest growth.|
-Congressman Rob Bishop
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|BP Hires Vets|
Commentary: Today, 2-term Ohio Governor John Kasich announced his presidential bid (Photo credit: LA Times). He began his term with a multi-billion dollar deficit and now enjoys a $2 billion surplus.
But Kasich's embrace of Medicaid could put more pressure on the budget every year as federal support diminishes.
Aside from freedom itself, energy production is the basis of wealth and prosperity in America.
Kasich has many admirable qualities: good family man, plain talking, faith, patriotic and more....
But some of our readers will detect in his presidential announcement a turn toward populism reminiscent of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's (NGP Photo) anti-industry rhetoric. After all, big oil has fewer voters than everyone else who enjoys Kasich's income tax decrease and the beneficiaries of increased Medicare subsidies.
And his failed push for higher Ohio energy taxes could be a troubling characteristic of a new president, a propensity that could lead to a further weakening of America's job force, wealth, national security and future prosperity.
Weak energy production on federal land will serve as “a pillar in President Obama's energy legacy of failure,” the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee said.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) slammed the Obama administration over a Friday report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that shows energy production on federal and Indian lands increasing just 0.2 percent in 2014.
Bishop said the government should encourage more energy production on those lands, especially given the prospect of Iranian oil entering the market after sanctions on the country are lifted.
“The government's report on energy production on federal lands is astonishingly dismal,” he said in a statement. “The EIA found minuscule growth in oil and natural gas production on federal land — less than a percentage point — the same week that the President welcomes Iranian oil to the market with open arms.”
The EIA reported an overall decrease in energy production on federal land in 2014, primarily in natural gas offshore and in Wyoming. That decrease was offset by a 5.7 percent increase in fossil fuel production on Indian land and a 7 percent rise in oil production, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, North Dakota and New Mexico.
The small increase in federal land production comes as energy extraction on private land is booming. According to an April Congressional Research Service report, production of oil (an 89 percent increase since 2010) and natural gas (37 percent increase) on private land has surged even as federal land production has fallen.
“Producers operating on private and state lands are powering our energy economy, but we deserve better from the federal government,” Bishop said.
“The Obama administration should be expanding access to federal lands and offshore waters and opening up American oil markets — not only for the sake of our economy but for the sake of national security.”
CEA's Energy News Links:
Washington Examiner: Fight over Atlantic drilling wells up *CEA Mention
The governors of all those states want offshore drilling. So, too, do most of their federal lawmakers. That's certainly true. A May poll by industry group Consumers Energy Alliance found 85 percent of the state supports offshore drilling, viewing it as a potential boon to the economy.
ShaleMag: Energy Day *CEA Mention
With the need for students to be knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more important than ever, the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) and Consumer Energy Education Foundation (CEEF) are hosting the fifth annual Energy Day on Saturday, October 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston.
Associated Press: Obama plans Alaska trip for climate change conference
The White House has confirmed that President Obama will travel to Alaska next month for a climate change meeting. White House spokeswoman Hallie Ruvin in a statement says the president on Aug. 31 will visit.
MSNBC: Why Shell had the worst week ever
This should have been one of Shell’s best weeks ever. Instead, it shaped up like the corporate equivalent of “The Hangover Part III.” And a happy ending is nowhere in sight.
Fuel Fix: Shell-contracted drill ships begin final Arctic journey
Two Arctic drilling rigs have sailed away from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, beginning the final leg of their journey to the Shell’s drilling sites in the Chukchi Sea. The Noble Discoverer left Dutch Harbor on Thursday, and the Transocean Polar Pioneer followed suit on Friday. Both will take about a week to reach their destination: Shell’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea.
Alaska Dispatch News: Cold receptions for Shell in Lower 48 ports mean opportunity for Alaska
A dynamic event is underway in Arctic Alaska today: one that, if successful, could have a profound effect on our state's economy. Shell Alaska is preparing to drill for oil this summer in Alaska's offshore continental shelf. To date, Shell has expended over $7 billion in gearing up for their effort. They anticipate substantially advancing their delineation effort by the end of this year's drilling season.
UPI: TransCanada uses legacy to explain touted benefits of Keystone XL
The shipment of the 1 billionth barrel of oil through the Keystone oil pipeline system shows commitment to U.S. energy security, TransCanada said.
Reuters: Canada provinces agree to strategy on pipelines, climate change
Canada's provinces reached a long-sought deal on Friday over an energy plan for the country, agreeing broadly to curb greenhouse gas emissions while also promoting the use of pipelines.
Washington Examiner: Bills on tap from House, Senate energy panels
The energy committees of both chambers of Congress expect to offer draft energy bills before the August recess, committee leaders said. The bills are expected to cover oil and natural gas infrastructure expansion, energy efficiency and other concerns.
Fox News: EPA 'secret science' under the microscope as GOP lawmakers seek ban
The Environmental Protection Agency for years has issued costly clean air rules based, in part, on two '90s-era studies linking air pollution with death. But, critics say, the same agency has stymied efforts to access the data behind them. The transparency concerns have Republican lawmakers on a new campaign to end the use of what they dub "secret science."
Roll Call: Iran deal may give Americans a break at the gas pump
The tentative deal designed to limit Iran’s nuclear program led to a quick — though modest — decline in oil prices, raising the possibility American drivers may see a prolonged break from high gasoline prices and creating an opening for Republican lawmakers to step up efforts to end a ban on exporting oil produced in the U.S.
Roll Call: API: Iran deal another signal for U.S. to end crude-exports ban
The congressional campaign against the ban on crude oil exports is gaining momentum after the U.S. and other countries reached a tentative nuclear deal with Iran, according to the American Petroleum Institute. "By lifting self-imposed sanctions, we can give U.S. producers access to global markets and protect our competitive edge," said Eric Wohlschlegel, a spokesman for API.
Fox News: As US energy output surges, Republicans lead effort to lift decades-old oil export ban
Congressional Republicans are leading a bipartisan effort to lift a decades-old ban on oil exports, arguing the recent surge in domestic-energy production and other factors have pushed the embargo past its prime.
CNN: Super-charge the solar power boom
There's a solar power boom in America. But so far, not enough Americans are seeing the benefits of clean energy.
Associated Press: More unused oil, gas wells linger without permanent seals increasing risk
Five years after the Obama administration promised to move swiftly to permanently plug unused oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, even more shafts are lingering for longer periods with only temporary sealing, an investigation by The Associated Press shows.
Fuel Fix: Schlumberger CEO: New technology appetite growing amid oil downturn
The CEO of Schlumberger says American oil producers are purchasing a lot more new technology in this year’s oil downturn than in previous rough patches, with new tools making up almost a quarter of the company’s revenue. That’s because the oil bust happens to intersect with a change in what the oil companies want to get out of new technology.
The Oklahoman: Investors keep funding oil, natural gas development
A survey this month from the Federal Reserve of Kansas City found that energy companies reported that private equity was more available than it had been in recent months, while financing from banks and other sources were less available. “They’re still confident in the long-term prospects for the oil industry.
The Oklahoman: A quiet milestone that's worthy of celebrating
But it also makes sense to use more of the cleaner natural gas, along with policies that encourage the development of renewables, the conversion of more vehicles to compressed natural gas and the facilitation of natural gas exports. Most of these aren’t on the agenda of our garden-variety environmentalist. Let him tilt at his windmills. We’ll celebrate the gas milestone.
MIT Technology Review: Where is the global shale revolution?
The United States is not alone in having massive shale gas resources: shale formations rich in gas can be found all over the world. But so far no other country has come close to replicating the U.S. boom that has led to relatively cheap natural gas and helped curb yearly carbon dioxide emissions.
OilPrice.com: Can U.S. Nuclear Plants Operate For 80 Years?
The nuclear industry in the United States has been at a standstill for several decades. After an extraordinary wave of construction in the 1960s and 1970s, the nuclear industry ground to a halt. A confluence of events killed off new construction, including high interest rates, cost overruns, delays, and the Three Mile Island incident that scared the public and turned it against nuclear power.
The Hill: Court dismisses Oklahoma lawsuit against Obama climate rule
A federal judge on Friday dismissed Oklahoma’s second lawsuit against the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.
Houston Chronicle: Oil industry critical of planning offshore drilling rules
The oil industry is taking aim at an Obama administration plan to better safeguard offshore exploration, arguing the Deepwater Horizon-inspired proposal imposes costly and "ill-advised" mandates that could make some wells impossible to drill.
Bloomberg: Analysis: Saudi Arabia oilfield is a Bakken competitor
Oil production in the Bakken Shale costs nearly six times as much per barrel as the Ghawar oilfield in Saudi Arabia. This makes the Saudis a formidable competitor, although production is affected by the country's budget concerns, which seek a market price of at least $89 per barrel.
The Union: HF and the California drought
There are certain measures being considered in California that would ban fracking or at least keep the water from being put back into the water supply. Groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council and Environment California are working to get voters motivated and to put pressure on the state’s legislators. Get involved or even send a letter to your representative and urge them to deal with this fracking issue.
Imperial Valley News: Toward cheaper water treatment - HF matters
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” produces a lot of wastewater. Drilling one well requires millions of gallons of water that’s injected into the ground to loosen rocks and release oil. While some is reused, much of the produced water is discarded into deep injection wells, and clean water is purchased again and again.
The Denver Post: Stop the EPA's carbon power grab, Colorado
When the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards recently, it set a clear precedent that costs matter and that the EPA does not have a blank check on the wallets of energy consumers. The EPA's claim that the $10 billion pricetag was "irrelevant" failed to withstand judicial review.
Durango Herald: Gas overtakes coal
Energy companies in Southwest Colorado say hydraulic fracturing and looming carbon-pollution regulations are responsible for natural gas overtaking coal for the first time. The Energy Information Administration’s monthly report for April revealed this week that natural gas surpassed coal as the primary source of electrical power generation in the United States. The monumental moment marks the first time ever that natural gas has powered more electrical generation than coal.
Reuters: Okla. regulators expand scrutiny of disposal wells
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has issued a directive expanding the state's earthquake "areas of interest" with regulations for 211 disposal wells. Well operators will need to show they are not performing water injections under the Arbuckle formation, while some will need to reduce the depth of their wells. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association said the directive would lead to positive results.
Observer Chronicle: The Texas town that banned HF (and lost)
Denton Law enforcement Sgt Scott Jenkins warns protesters at the web-site of a new fracking properly. When a Texas town voted to ban fracking within city limits, it was a shock to the oil-pleasant condition. But the reaction from the Texas legislature and power business has people questioning what electricity they have remaining. The hydraulic fracturing has started out yet again in Denton, and so also have the protests.
San Antonio-Express News: Permian's pancaked rock layers make it the U.S. oil patch king
In West Texas, the king of the U.S. oil fields is proving to be the safest investment for explorers.
Midland Reporter-Telegram: Permian Basin petroleum contraction continues
The Permian Basin petroleum industry continues to contract amid crude prices that are sharply lower than year-ago levels.
Big Ten Network: Northwestern researchers drill into HF
It’s been driving rapid job creation and an investment boom for a few years now in the Midwest. And experts say it has the potential to make the U.S. energy-independent within the next couple of decades. You and other researchers at Northwestern have spent several years now examining the shale gas production process and how it can be improved. And they recently shared a few ways in which the environmental effects can be mitigated in a study published in the June issue of the scientific journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
The Courier Journal: Kentucky wins a battle, but War on Coal ongoing
Kentucky has won a battle in the War on Coal. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court decision said the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act when it issued burdensome new regulations on power plant emissions.
The Columbus Dispatch: ODNR sets rules for HF well pads
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on Thursday that it is implementing new rules for the construction of horizontal well-pad sites. Horizontal well pads are used for fracking, when a well is drilled vertically but then goes horizontally underground, allowing for more than one well.
Athens Messenger: Athens County and Ohio deserve better HF regulation
And guess which of Ohio’s 88 counties is going to be getting the most — Athens County. This is made possible by the opening of an injection well at Torch by S&H Partners. It will more than double the amount of wastewater brought into Athens County to something in excess of 6 million gallons a year.
Pennsylvania Business Daily: Lawmakers call on Wolf to end pursuit of higher taxes
State Reps. Jeff Wheeland (R-Dist. 83) and Garth Everett (R-Dist. 84) vehemently called on Gov. Wolf to end his quest for higher taxes and cooperate with legislators to create a realistic budget.
Tribune-Review: Public being misled on projected use of shale tax funds, critic of Gov. Wolf argues
The Wolf administration and its allies are misleading the public by implying a proposed severance tax on natural gas would exclusively fund education, the president of an industry group said Friday.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Put kids first, not gas companies
The venerable Pennsylvania Republican, portrayed so vividly in the movie “Lincoln” by Tommy Lee Jones, was a man ahead of his time. He helped establish tax-financed public education in our commonwealth — a massive expansion of government at a time when many believed government had no obligation to educate its citizenry.
Scranton Times-Tribune: House returns to budget impasse
The House returns to session Tuesday as the stalemate over the state budget starts to resemble trench warfare.
York Daily Record: Rep. Gillespie: Natural gas impact fee stands to help York County
York County is in the process of receiving more than $420,000 in revenue from the collection of an impact fee on natural gas drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale. Pennsylvania's abundance of natural gas and the fees required by Act 13 of 2012 are the reasons we as a county stand to benefit, even though we are not part of the formation. The four-year total distributed to York County comes to more than $1.5 million.
Bradford Era: Bill looks to Marcellus Shale drilling for economic boost
Looking to parlay the Marcellus Shale drilling boom into even greater economic gains, one state representative has announced new legislation promising a decade of tax breaks to Shale adjacent businesses willing to give Pennsylvania a try.
Times Herald-Record: HF studies show the fight must continue
Just because fracking is prohibited in New York is no reason to let your guard down. Those who want to keep their skills sharp should consider some news from California where protecting the water supply is an honest-to-goodness crisis. According to a study just conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology, fracking in the state consumes about 2.6 billion gallons of fresh water each year, an impressive amount at any time, a sure attention-getter in the fourth year of a drought with no end in sight.
Albany Bureau: E. Rochester lawyer challenges NY HF ban
A legal challenge to New York’s ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing has been hidden in plain site since May. East Rochester attorney David Morabito quietly filed a lawsuit two months ago against the state Department of Environmental Conservation, challenging the agency’s decision to prohibit him from fracking on land he owns in Allegany County.
Fox 8: Geologist: Samples show signs of shale in Walnut Cove
John Skvarla, the secretary of N.C. Commerce Department, pushed for more spending on shale-gas exploration during a state energy-panel meeting this week after state geologists said samples recently taken from Walnut Cove property indicated unconfirmed signs of shale gas, according to conservationists and commerce officials.
Valley News: Prehearing on Valley Green Natural Gas Proposal Slated for Concord
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has set a prehearing conference for late this month to review a proposal to provide natural gas to customers in Hanover and Lebanon via a pipeline. If approved, the franchise petition before the Public Utilities Commission would grant Valley Green Natural Gas authority to provide regulated natural gas service in the two municipalities.
Vancouver Sun by Dirk Meissner.
Could the Alaska gas pipeline/LNG project's need for fiscal certainty be modeled after BC's attempt to provide a 25 year window of certainty for investors?
Alaska Governor Bill Walker (NGP Photo) has pledged to seek a fiscal certainty for Alaska's gas. But we have observed that since the major producers own both oil and gas facilities in the state, providing certainty for only the gas still leaves investors vulnerable to predatory taxation.
Unfortunately Alaska has a long history of increasing or enacting oil taxes over the years. It has even demonstrated an unjustifiable greed in enacting RETROACTIVE oil tax increases.
Therefore, we believe that the only effective fiscal certainty that will provide a proper investment environment for a $45-65 billion Ak-LNG project will be creation of tax certainty for both the investors' oil and gas holdings -- and property. -dh
A liquefied natural gas industry: the British Columbia government fought an election on it, launched an extraordinary summer legislative session and made financial concessions, but it still isn't enough for the companies that want even lower taxes and have expressed concerns over the availability of workers.
The Liberal government's LNG dream is expected to move towards reality this week when a bill is adopted for a 25-year agreement on what could be B.C.'s first LNG plant.
B.C.'s politicians were recalled this month to debate and pass a single piece of legislation that aims to provide certainty to LNG investors and revenues to the province.
"I think there's more work to do in terms of making sure we are in fact globally competitive," said B.C. LNG Alliance president David Keane. "I think the government has more to do."
Pacific NorthWest LNG, a joint venture backed by Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas, plans to build a US$36-billion LNG plant at: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/pass+year+industry+wants+more/11226540/story.html#ixzz3gRB8smIT
Our Iranian Nuclear Negotiations: Hopelessly Incompetent, Naive, Pro-American or Pro-Enemy? You Be The Judge.
Today and perhaps tomorrow comes another deadline extension in, and maybe an ending of, the Iranian nuclear negotiation. It is one of the most important -- and dangerous -- energy and world security issues in history.
The current process is alienating the United States from all of our 'former' Middle Eastern allies who, together, have helped provide significant security to the region. Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries in the area recognize Iran for the supporter of terrorism and threat to their own sovereignty that it is.
They also know that regardless of the American-led negotiation's outcome, the Iranians will continue with their nuclear weapon program. This will cause neighbors to engage in an "arms race" to become similarly armed.
Why do our readers care?
The end game could result in continuing sanctions on Iranian oil sales, supporting higher oil prices. The end game could also find Iran free of sanctions, causing the legal and unrestrained trade of Iranian oil -- pressuring oil prices to go lower. Both results will impact Alaskan and Canadian local governments, companies and their national economies.
|Russian and Chinese mischief also surrounds the Greek financial crisis -- which may be coming to a head any moment. See this Calgary Herald article by Deborah Yedlin.|
North American and European security could be affected by the outcome of the Iranian nuclear talks. A lifting of sanctions could refill Iran's coffers with billions, sure to be shared with terrorist organizations.
Relations with Russia and China will be affected, for whereas they might have supported Iranian sanctions earlier, today they would most assuredly not do so in the likely event that Iran would soon begin violating the terms of any 'deal'. Moreover, today they are, respectively, challenging the resolve of the United States with: provocative and imperialistic movements against Europe; bomber probes of North American air space; and threats to countries and international sea traffic in the South China Sea.
Forgive us for our own naiveté, but we do not understand why any but the most incompetent, inexperienced or unpatriotic administration would even consider negotiating with a fascist, Islamic regime that is a master of breaking agreements, holds American hostages, and also publicly wishes "death to America" and to America's best Middle Eastern ally, Israel. This is occurring at the same time the administration is downgrading the U.S. military and upgrading onerous natural resource regulations throughout America and calling, "global warming a top national security priority". On second thought, we are not naive; we have put the puzzle together logically and the picture is one of either the American leadership's incompetence or deceit.
Sitting next to Secretary of State John Kerry, a Vietnam Veteran who publicly threw his military medals away, is Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz. He has enjoyed a distinguished career in previous lives, a physicist who served in academic leadership at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as Under Secretary of the US Department of Energy and as Associate Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Neither, however, is known for negotiating high stakes positions in the international big league.
We believe Kerry is executing orders bound to endanger the national security of the United States. We believe that while Dr. Moniz is a nuclear expert, neither he nor Kerry know when America should not negotiate, nor how to negotiate.
So when we awaken tomorrow, we hope that as Monday unfolds we'll not see any agreement. We hope that we will see sanctions continue and be made even more robust until -- and not before -- Iran:
- pleads for peace,
- agrees to destruction of weapon related nuclear equipment and material,
- agrees to unannounced and unfettered inspections of both military and nuclear facilities,
- demonstrably ceases all funding and other tangible and intangible support for Islamic terrorism,
- releases all American hostages, and
- recants its threat to destroy Israel.
Without such common sense conditions being agreed to and successfully implement for at least 12 months, no lifting of sanctions should even be considered, much less discussed or negotiated.
The fact that the United States is bowing so low to such low life savages and transmitting such weakness during such perilous times is an affront to the entire foundation and history of the United States of America and poses a clear and present danger to all free people at home and abroad. Our leaders are giving comfort to our enemies and alienating our allies.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell weakly stated that the Senate would not approve a "bad deal". We ask: Why in the name of millions of fallen patriots should he not have said, "The President is on a fool's errand. The United States should not negotiate with an enemy, a proven liar, a terrorist state. Sanctions will continue and increase until the road to a nuclear Iran is permanently destroyed. From our viewpoint any nuclear "deal" brought to this body is DEAD ON ARRIVAL if it does not represent a complete capitulation of Iran's imperialistic, untrustworthy ways to our COMPLETE SATISFACTION."
The administration SHOULD BE ashamed of its performance and our Congressional representatives SHOULD NOT BE ashamed to remind the country of this misrepresentation loudly and daily lest their lack of powerful objection be interpreted as weak acquiescence.
Dave Harbour, publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines, is a former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and a Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He served as NARUC's official representative to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). Harbour is past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, former Chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and past President of the American Bald Eagle Foundation and the Alaska Press Club. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.
Opinions or viewpoints expressed in this webpage or in our email alerts are solely those of the publisher and in no way reflect the opinion(s) of any affiliated company, person, employer or other organization.
ADN by Pat Forgey. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo) announced Tuesday that he had signed state operating and capital budgets, approving $9.8 billion in spending sought by the Legislature but vetoing a possible $200 million worth of controversial oil tax credits. ...
"It is apparent the current oil and gas production tax credit system is unsustainable," Walker said in a letter Monday to Senate President Kevin Meyer, (NGP Photo), telling him of the veto. He signed the budgets Monday, but didn't publish the final documents or announce his actions until Tuesday afternoon. ...
"I'm glad the governor took appropriate action" on the tax credits, said Rep. David Guttenberg, (NGP Photo), a member of the budget-writing House Finance Committee.
By limiting payment of credits, he said, oil companies will share the pain that Alaskans are facing due to budget cuts. (As if the oil companies weren't already paying the lion's share of state taxes. -dh)
The Governor and his democrat allies would rather raise taxes and stop/delay agreed-upon credits than make meaningful spending cuts. We have also seen signs that odd coalitions involving "moderate republicans" could support that effort.