Why Shouldn't The State Take Control of Oil & Gas and Other Natural Resources?
We're not saying Alaskan politicians are beginning to control everything. However, controlling oil and gas is a big step toward socialism and controlling a gas export project (and a municipal distribution project) are decisive first steps in that direction. Alaska became great because of a free market, not because of dictator-governors who wanted to, "fundamentally change Alaska's freedoms". dh (Photo: Alaska Governor Bill Walker)
Today's Commentary: "This is big"
Below is part of an email blast from a Matanuska Valley business woman named Beth Fread. She has arranged for one of Alaska's most effective, liberal activists, David Gottstein (NGP Photo) to make a presentation on his ideas for forwarding the marketing of Alaska North Slope Natural Gas.
We encourage readers to attend the Friday meeting.
Why? Because we believe Gottstein has long been involved in oil and gas taxation issues and that his ideas are not inconsistent with the direction Governor Bill Walker is taking toward controlling the means, transport and distribution of natural resource production in Alaska, beginning with natural gas.
Understanding Gottstein's position, therefore, will enable listeners to more carefully define their own reasonable reactions to it.
Knowledge is power.
Here are links to two documents that Ms. Freid mentions in her meeting invitation:
Below is information on Ms. Freid's meeting:
"Mr. David Gottstein has a different opinion and an alternate set of research criteria for the LNG pipeline than has been put forth in the other news sources I am using. He has offered to come out here this Friday for a presentation of this information. Some of it is based on the attached documents. Please be warned, this perspective may rock your boat!
"The presentation will be made in the back room at Mat-Su Family Restaurant. No-Host dinner at 6:00 pm, meeting at 6:30 pm.
Looking forward to seeing you there ...
Our Opinion: "How the Ak-LNG project and Alaska's fiscal crisis are related"
As we direct readers' eyes to the right column commentary, we restate our opinion: Spending a moderate amount of public official time and public debate on supporting private sector efforts to monetize Alaska gas is prudent.
Spending inordinate amounts of time, as Alaska's governor is, attempting to control resource development in Alaska is a fool's errand to deliver the state into socialism and chaos.
Exacerbating the foolishness of current "I want government to control the gas pipeline since, 'IT'S OUR GAS'", is the continuous negative meddling of the governor causing project delay.
Since any LNG export project cannot provide significant economic support to the state before 2025, the state's deficit spending culture will be defunct before a gas project can even partially resuscitate it. Although, we note, the state probably can deficit spend long enough to complete the current governor's term and the pension sensitive terms of all current Legislators.
The citizens most adversely affected by current "government should own and control the gas pipeline," are rural residents, mostly Alaska Natives, who will find it harder to 'go South' as the economy heads South.
Also, everyone knows that rural residents' somewhat idyllic "subsistence lifestyles" are heavily subsidized by government provided checks, food stamps, health care (including air transport to Anchorage Native health facilities), roads, airports, education, ports and fuel subsidies.
Those beneficiaries could likely learn the hard way that poor financial policy decisions being concocted in Juneau today -- particularly the many poor decisions affecting the petroleum wealth feeding Alaska's economy -- will hurt rural residents more than those in the state's largest cities.
And this relates to Alaska's fiscal crisis.
Some politicians seem to be trying to mesmerize citizens with shiny objects like 'controlling' 10-year-away, distant gas pipelines. When citizens are distracted by a far away project, it is easier for them to ignore such critical, here-and-now issues as solving Alaska's huge fiscal crisis.
Alaska's fiscal crisis can only be solved by creating a 'sustainable economy'. A sustainable economy in a remote, climate and geographically-challenged state like Alaska, can only be achieved by constantly supporting oil and gas, mining, commercial fishing, timber and other natural resource, wealth producing industries...and, by controlling public spending.
- Dramatically cut government spending, especially the doubling of costs added in the last decade, and
U.S. News by Pete Sepp. Punitive taxes on the oil industry will not fix Alaska's budget problems, but will hurt its economy....
not taxing the wealth producing natural resource industries -- including oil -- any more than they are paying now, and
- supporting, not interfering, with efforts of private industry to invest in oil and gas (i.e. especially gas pipeline) and mining and fishing and timber activities in the state, and
- not demonizing the very natural resource industries that the constitution and statehood act depended on to sustain Alaska's economy, and
- only considering additional, job killing taxes and fees when the above actions have been taken.
For over four decades I never knew you to be other than dedicated to reasonable but robust resource development, consistent with the theme of Alaska's Constitution and the Statehood Act.
I will always treasure your wisdom, Chuck, your friendship, honesty and tireless dedication to the Great Land. -dh
Charles C. Hawley
On January 14, 2016, Alaska lost a great. Charles (Chuck) C. Hawley was a loving husband, father, geologist, musician, pilot, historian, teacher, author, and, for decades, leader of Alaskan policy and development.
Chuck was born in Evansville, Indiana to William McKinley Hawley, a Presbyterian minister, and Evelyn Barnes nee Caldwell, a dedicated minister's wife and accomplished artist. He enjoyed football in high school and college, but the trumpet would be a lifelong love, second only to Jenny Lind, whom Chuck met while studying geology at Hanover College in Indiana. The two married in 1951. They had three sons - David, Ted, and Andrew, and alas (for Jenny), no daughters.
Chuck began his geology career with the US Geological Survey in Colorado where he worked on Uranium exploration and geophysical support for the Nevada Test Site. After completing his PhD in economic geology at the University of Colorado Boulder, he won an assignment to the USGS Heavy Metals program in Alaska in 1966 where the family spent the next two field seasons. By 1969, he had fallen for the North; and left the USGS to make the move to Anchorage. There, he and his family built their home and Chuck began his first mineral exploration business.
Geology may have been his calling, but for Chuck, geology was always more than rock science. Over the next 45 years, Chuck became familiar with not only nearly every mineral prospect but nearly every prospector or miner in Alaska. He made life long friends in towns and villages across the state. His business concerns never came at the expense of others, and he and Jenny worked with state, federal, and native communities to ground the designation of lands for development or preservation in Alaska's geological and societal realities, playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Never slowing, Chuck resurrected the Alaska Miners Association as a volunteer and, in the eighties, formed the Coronado Mining Company, which operated Independence / Willow Creek mines and brought the Golden Zone Mine from a neglected property to a pre-development project. Only in 2014 did Parkinson's disease force Chuck to "retire". That same year, he published his second book, A Kennecott Story, which earned him the Alaska Historical Society's award for Historian of the Year in 2015. Parkinson's would eventually take his life at his home with Chuck comforted by his family and faith.
Amidst his wide-ranging accomplishments, Chuck will be remembered for his ability to see and, more importantly, bring out the best in people. He gave chances to many whom others overlooked and and they were endlessly rewarded. Experienced miners and cooks were recruited from Anchorage dives, inexperienced school students got first jobs, both natives and hippie bush exiles as well as experienced geologists were employed. Children and adults alike will remember him for his ability to explain difficult concepts - from science, to politics, to religion, to music theory. His legacy lives on through the hundreds of young men and women he mentored and made into extended family, Charles Caldwell Hawley was a true Alaskan legend.
He is survived by his two siblings, Frances Sims (of Arkansas) and John Hawley (of New Mexico), his wife Jenny and their three sons, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My Pipe Dream At Any Cost?
First: An Auction Story
You have been waiting for the big auction and this is the day.
The most famous artist in your great land created an oil painting decades ago that happened to feature the big black and white husky which begat the great, great, great, great, great grandson which fathered your constant companion, "Jake".
Your emotional attachment to the estate sale painting of that famous sled dog sire has captivated your attention for weeks, since the passing of your neighbor and best human friend.
Owning it would be a dream come true.
And the painting's value is enhanced as you recalled the countless hours you and Jake spent at the next door home of, old Robert, the last male descendent of the revered artist.
You two would sit there by the fireplace, beneath the large painting, with your faithful huskies sitting at your feet, a cup of black coffee or a libation in hand.
You would talk endlessly of youthful adventures on the sea, in wild forests, avoiding 'sweepers' while floating down some salmon stream in an old air-filled raft, dealing with dangerous winter sled dog races through sub zero winter storms.
You save for the auction. You hope no one else has the attachment you do, or values the painting as you do.
The bidding begins and, to your surprise, the action is robust. Hands raise and the auctioneer catches every outcry, wink and nod. The price swiftly moves from $250 by one hundred dollar increments to $3,000, then with $250 increments to $5,000...well past your savings and pre-determined bidding limit.
A crowded and animated room -- full of friends, neighbors, local business leaders, the museum director and the largest local art gallery owner -- begin chasing $1,000 increments to a final sales price of $26,250.
You wish with all your heart -- as you say good-bye to everyone and turn to walk home -- that the familiar painting and its image could have hung over your own fireplace. It would have been so comforting to sit in your own family room with Jake and a million memories, fire blazing under that familiar image.
How you wish you could have returned home with the prize!
Should you have forgotten your savings limit and simply captured that beloved image with credit card debt? Wouldn't it have been worth it to make payments for something so dear?
But then, reality settles in. "I established the limit at what I knew I could have afforded", you say to yourself.
"I knew that if the bidding took the price higher, I would be tempted to go into debt," you thought.
You knew that debt at your age -- and the effect of indebtedness on your family -- would far outweigh the selfish satisfaction the prize would have given you.
Rational thought seemed to comfort you.
"I knew that sitting under the painting would provide fleeting satisfaction as I contemplated the impact of debt for the next five years", you reminded yourself.
You knew that the simple joy of being with Jake -- without the presence of the painting and its cost -- would continue to be quite enough.
And, so it was, that while you coveted and wished for a thing that became unattainable, you soberly recognized the truly valuable elements of life.
And, I'm guessing that your last thought was one of gratitude to the great Creator who had given you a wonderful life, loving family, friends like Robert and a faithful companion.
Actually, your dreams have come true, haven't they?
Second: A Gas Story
The efficient Arctic Gas Pipeline of the 1970s failed when a National Energy Board Decision upheld Justice Berger's (See 6-14-02 entry) recommendation for a Mackenzie River Valley, 10-year pipeline moratorium. (Canada can be its own worst enemy, too.)
The Alcan pipeline project failed with advent of the 1980s, as gas prices plummeted and the project became infeasible. Producers like ARCO studied LNG export options but those alternatives then were also infeasible.
Then the late 1980s recession made virtually all oil and gas projects infeasible.
As gas prices recovered in the early 2000s, industry and governments began once again pursuing projects to monetize Mackenzie Delta and Prudhoe Bay gas -- with separate overland pipelines to Canadian and Lower 48 consumers.
Then, a half-decade later, with the advent of new shale oil & gas technology and low, domestic prices, Arctic gas pipelines south became infeasible.
Arctic gas proponents then shifted their focus on LNG export options that had grown in feasibility.
By the mid 2010s, LNG feasibility had become more popular with the evolution of more LNG import demand, local distribution systems, shifts from other fossil fuel power generation projects and growing populations.
The Mackenzie Delta gas seemed more permanently stranded while Prudhoe Bay gas owners again began reviewing LNG alternatives.
The gas owners and large gas transportation companies seriously studying feasible ways to market gas from the 1970s forward, had always concluded that pipelines were cheaper after studying ALL alternatives, including LNG.
And, they had never delayed development of Alaska gas, from our first-hand knowledge, based on some allegation of bias against LNG export projects.
During those decades, Alaska LNG advocates, who did not own the gas, sought to use political influence to cause gas to be marketed via LNG transport through their own marketing organizations -- with insufficient attention to project feasibility.
To use the left column analogy, they seemed to want to buy the dream at any cost, as long as someone else shouldered the major cost.
The gas owners, however, were not careless enough to allow gas to be marketed via -- what was over those years -- inefficient, self-serving LNG transportation project feasibility.
To this day, early advocates of LNG, continue to be upset with and demonize the gas owners. The gas owners are North Slope producers, who have paid for leases and have the right to market the gas they discovered.
Alaska's North Slope producers are among the most important companies in their industry, with LNG and pipeline expertise and oil/gas marketing expertise and world wide contacts.
They are best suited to create the most feasible projects and market gas most profitably. Since Alaska's oil & gas tax revenue rests on a percentage of value, the greater value obtained by producer experts will enhance the value of Alaska's tax and royalty revenue.
The producers continue to professionally and diligently work this year. Their effort will determine the feasibility, once again, of exporting Alaska North Slope gas.
But this time, there are nearly a hundred LNG projects hoping to compete for the limited demand in a very competitive market.
And Alaska is not one of the lower cost projects; that is, Alaska is attractive because of its vast reserves but unattractive because of its market remoteness, climate, logistical challenges, high labor costs and an unreliable investment (i.e. political) climate.
What is competitive? Whereas LNG used to sell in Asia at a price range in the high teens per million Btu, the price now hovers, miserably, in the mid single digits in today's abundant, shale-stimulated gas market.
It is also a reality that any investor in major Alaskan projects must know that once an investment is made in a jurisdiction with an unsustainable budget, the investment risk -- the risk of wealth expropriation via predatory taxation -- is great, perhaps too great.
Alaska LNG diehards, like the neighbor lusting after a long coveted painting (Above, column left), desperately want ownership in an LNG project -- if they can get government to assure the project is built. But at what cost? At any cost?
We citizens and consumers are pretty objective. We want to monetize Alaska North Slope gas profitably. We don't want to be in debt. We don't want to waste public money. We want a stable economy. We want and desperately need new oil and gas investments -- from investors who trust us -- to sustain falling production on top of rock bottom oil prices.
The LNG diehards, like Alaska's governor who advocated infeasible LNG projects for their own special interests, now try to convince Alaskans something to the effect that, We will make a lot more money if we are equity owners in a gas pipeline.
But Alaska's citizens and consumers are not stupid. They have seen many (i.e. actually, "all") Alaska North Slope gas projects die because of changing markets and technologies.
They know that while a gas project might be built at just the right time, it also might fail, as others have.
No one can predict today whether in 2025, when the Alaska LNG project is scheduled to go on line, it will be making money or losing money.
If Alaska's government (and citizens) are equity owners of an economically feasible gas pipeline, they might make more money than they would as passive acceptors of 1) royalties, and 2) a severance tax, 3) a property tax, and 4) an income tax.
But if the pipeline costs more than shippers are willing to pay for transporting gas -- or ends up with few or no credit worthy customers -- Alaska could be in the disastrous position of being an part-equity owner that must PAY the difference between the cost of transport/financing vs. transportation income.
It has been said and pretty well confirmed that in energy and economic matters, "Alaska is its own worst enemy". How could any thinking person disagree, based on Alaska's history? This earned reputation lives on today, because of its history of predatory taxation, retroactive taxation, attempts to pass a reserves tax, and irrational, political hostility toward the state's largest investors.
But now, citizens and legislators know the risky history of:
- The Arctic Gas 1970-era project ; and
- the 1980-era failure of the NW Natural Gas/Alberta Gas Trunk Line, Ltd. Alcan project; and
- Failure of several generations of LNG advocates, including: El Paso Natural Gas; Yukon Pacific; Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority; Alaska Natural Gas Port Authority; and
- the 1990-early 2000 Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline project (owned by TransCanada) and Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline failures (in which TransCanada participated with Canadian aboriginal groups).
The vast Alaska natural gas reserves certainly may justify investment by private energy companies in a new effort to monetize their gas.
The success of energy companies for well over a century has entailed risk. But the risks are often acceptable because they are risking their own capital and because they are experts in the business.
In today's world of increasing socialism, Alaska seeks to take equity risk, without having commensurate expertise, perhaps knowing that it can always just burden individual and corporate citizens, with new taxation, to keep government whole when the investment sours.
|ADN by Alex DeMarban. In December, 1,020 Alaskans who had been working in the oil and gas industry collected $1.1 million in unemployment benefits. That compares to 518 in December 2014, Lennon Weller, a state Department of Labor economist, said Friday.|
Alaska faces a bleak economic future wherein its decision makers have allowed the state to become dependent on the fortunes of a volatile and risky oil business. And that risk has led to an unsustainable economy destined for bankruptcy in less than ten years. Of course, disaster could be averted with a "eureka discovery" of newfound wealth or a harsh, disciplined expense cut...so we need not be completely demoralized by the options.
Unfortunately, the governor whose experience rests on failed, self serving LNG advocacies, now advocates risking public money on equity risk in an LNG project when immediate economic realities threaten the state's economic survival:
- a state operating budget almost 90% dependent on Prudhoe Bay oil; and
- a state economy over a third dependent on the oil industry; and
- a Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) transporting Prudhoe Bay oil which is 3/4 empty; and
- oil prices that are 3/4 lower than they were 18 months ago; and
- oil production diminishing; and
- a nearly $4 billion annual operating budget serving a population of fewer than 800 thousand folks, and
- a multi-billion dollar state employee retirement unfunded liability; and
- the highest per capita spending and debtor state in the nation; and
- government constituencies seeking to impose new taxes and fees on the private sector so that the public sector can remain as unharmed as possible; and
- impartial New York rating agency creditworthiness announcements revealing an increasingly dark, Alaska economic outlook, exacerbated by a higher cost of borrowed money.
No one wants to see the economically viable construction of a gas pipeline project more than this writer, having worked directly and indirectly for or with a number of them since 1972.
But we join fellow citizens in not being willing to support public money being invested in any company's ownership, much less one involved in the highly complex, highly risky field of oil and gas.
As we walk away from the idea of paying more for pipeline risk than we can afford, like the neighbor in the other column, we can nevertheless comforted, if:
- we have endeavored to act like adults, and
- if we tried to be prudent custodians of public money, and
- if we tried to restrain our zeal for a gas project in light of economic realities, and
- if this is the heritage we should look back on later, once the present has become prologue.
We take final comfort in knowing that with many decades of gas pipeline experience, North American energy investors have the best chance of developing an economically feasible project.
Alaska's North Slope producers have the best chance of succeeding, that is, if they can be treated reasonably and fairly in a prudent state -- with malice toward none -- that finally learns how to balance a budget based on a volatile but provident source of natural resource wealth.
Sure, we may not have had the gas monetization project I wanted, or you wanted, or the governor wanted.
But, acting now with intelligence and honor, and knowing our own limitations in expertise, we and the next generation may escape from a dreary outlook, into the bright light of a prosperous future featuring a feasible, profitable Alaska North Slope gas pipe dream turned into reality.
In addition to energy-threatening national policies (Column left), citizens must always be alert to dangerous political acts that repel local investment, job creation and overall prosperity. We would be happy to quote any political party revealing such poor energy leadership. Today we thank one party and two news organizations for shedding light on such poor leadership that Alaskan industry investment could be, in our opinion, discouraged for years to come. -dh
Commentary: As the week ends, we bring our readers many of the latest links dealing with climate change activism and the threat it is to natural resource development and prosperity of energy producing nations, states and provinces. Climate change strategies have resulted in disapproval of 1) the Keystone XL pipeline, and 2) the delay or death of Shell's Alaska exploration program, and 3) blockades of a number of Canadian pipeline and energy programs, and 4) attempts to kill the consumer friendly, North American "clean coal" industry, and 5) even a 'keep it in the ground' natural gas strategy--among many others.
See our evidence and follow the money and power: is Climate Change a strategy designed to kill capitalism? -dh
Updated Links and Commentary:
Some say there is "scientific consensus" that 1) climate change is harmful, and 2) man made, and 3) that hundreds of billions of dollars transferred from developed to undeveloped countries via United Nations facilitators will improve climate change metrics. If 'scientific consensus' exists, how could the impressive list of scientists below, and many others, demonstrate how the Climate Change narrative is a hoax? Doesn't the five step scientific method suggest that a reasonably challenged hypothesis should be reexamined? -dh
If 'scientific consensus' about 'Climate Change' exists, why do the scientists below, and many others, believe it to be a hoax? Put another way, is the claim of 'consensus' in and of itself a hoax?
Conspiring leftists would say, "You're overreacting. You are paranoid. The individuals below are wing nuts."
If Leftists, to win an argument, must call names or demonize, are they really representing a scientific perspective, the SCIENTIFIC METHOD. No. As Professor Plimer, suggests in the video above, scientific methodology is not much enhanced by the rather subject concept of "consensus".
We would add a lay opinion that the science we respect is about research, study, duplication of results, testing of hypotheses, peer review, open minded willingness to explore other, more promising hypotheses. A seeker of truth, must be prepared for a hypothesis to be found illogical, incorrect. Anyone who refuses to reconsider reasonably questioned hypotheses, resembles a sophist more than a truth seeking scientist; don't you think? -dh
Greenpeace Co-Founders Warns of Global Climate Change Scam / Global Warming Hoax !Comex Joe59,030 views29:53
Lord Christopher Monckton Debunks Global Warming at a hearing for California's Legislaturecalfotogal18,869 views1:36:16
The Truth About Global Warming - Science & Distortion - Stephen SchneiderGlobalClimateNews261,377 views12:01
Lord Christopher Monckton ends the Global Warming Debate and proves its a HoaxMuslims and the World86,842 views57:17
Professor Bob Carter torpedoes the "scientific consensus" on the climate HOAXhearthasnohierarchy24,372 views36:26
Human Caused Global Warming: The Biggest Deception in HistoryCommittee for the Republic of Canada21,955 views1:45:47
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), today commenced debate on the Senate floor of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. During remarks on the Senate floor, Murkowski highlighted the benefits of the bipartisan. This is the bill promoted below by Senator Barrasso. More here, including video!
"Own Worst Economic Enemies"
Commentary: We have shown on a number of occasions over the years, including this one, that Alaska is often its own worst enemy.
Add the U.S. for refusing TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline and for delaying or killing countless other energy related projects.
Today, we see more evidence that Canada does not want the US to out class it in the area of self-inflicted economic pain.
In today's Seeking Alpha readers will learn that Canada's government is seeking to delay an already ponderous regulatory process to consider global warming implications of pipeline projects, including one of TransCanada's.
Meanwhile, China and India smoke away with impunity while Canadian and US liberal leaders compete to sacrifice their clean economies on the "kill capitalism global warming altar" -- at the behest of their environmental activist handlers.
Russia, China, India and middle eastern countries are so out playing North America on the propaganda, economic, energy and military chessboards that the former are well positioned in the very near future to dominate the latter, in growing numbers of ways.
Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the need to speed up exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States.
Sen. Barrasso and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) authored the provisions included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act – which the Senate is presently debating – that would expedite the permitting process for LNG exports.
Transcript of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I want to thank the distinguished chairman of the Energy Committee.
“She does a remarkable job and has brought many people together on this bipartisan piece of legislation, which passed the committee 18 to 4.
“And people are energetic about this energy bill, because it is such a critically important thing for our communities and our economy.
“And so I come to the floor today as the Senate is discussing this important energy legislation because energy is one of those areas where we should actually all be able to agree on, in terms of the basic idea.
“The basic idea and my goal for this energy bill is that we make energy in America as clean as we can, as fast as we can, and do it in ways that don’t raise costs on American families.
“I think that most of us would consider this to be a worthy, commonsense goal.
“That’s why the energy bill before the Senate today is so important – and why it has such broad, bipartisan support.
“As I said, the bill passed the committee by a vote of 18 to 4.
“And this is a bill that actually takes concrete steps to help our country produce the energy that we need.
“I think one of the good ideas in this bill is a provision to speed up permitting for exportation of liquefied natural gas.
“Six Democrats have co-sponsored this language on LNG exports as a separate piece of legislation, which is now incorporated into this energy bill.
“That’s because senators from both sides of the aisle recognize the importance of natural gas to our economy, as well as to our national security.
“America has the world’s largest supply in terms of natural gas, in terms of what we are able to produce today.
“We also have the resources to be a major exporter of this clean and versatile fuel.
“It’s estimated that liquefied natural gas exports can contribute up to $74 billion to America’s gross domestic product by the year 2035.
“All we need is for Washington to give producers some regulatory certainty – certainty that is not there today.
“To liquefy and to export natural gas requires special production and special export terminals.
“And the Department of Energy has been very slow under President Obama, and very unpredictable, about approving these projects.
“Now, the energy bill would expedite the permit process for LNG exports to countries around the world, countries that we do not have free trade agreements with right now between those countries and the United States.
“So it opens it up to new markets, new customers, people who are our friends and allies who want to buy a product that we have right here for sale.
“This legislation would require the Energy Secretary to make a final decision on an export application within 45 days after the environmental review process is completed.
“It would also provide for expedited judicial review of legal challenges to the LNG export projects, because things can get tangled up in legal challenges that can go on for months and years.
“Finally, the bill requires that exporters publicly disclose the countries to which the LNG is delivered, so the American people know who we’re selling to.
“Now, this legislation doesn’t force the administration to approve the projects.
“It doesn’t shut down the environmental reviews – it doesn’t take away anybody’s right to voice their opposition.
“It just says that the Obama administration should do its job in an accountable, timely, and predictable way.
“Now, this legislation will help create jobs.
“It would help to reduce our trade deficit – which is something that President Obama has said is a priority of his.
“It would also help the security of America and our allies – now, that’s something that should be a priority for all of us in this body.
“Speeding up American exports of liquefied natural gas will give our allies an alternative for where they can get the energy they need.
“It will help our allies reduce their dependence on gas from hostile places, many of whom are getting it right now from Russia.
“Remember, Russia invaded Ukraine largely to get control of the gas pipelines there.
“Now Iran wants to step up its natural gas business as well.
“The Iranians had been working on a liquefied natural gas export plant that is almost complete.
“Construction had stalled a few years ago because of the economic sanctions against Iran.
“Well, now that the administration has lifted the sanctions, Iran can start up construction again.
“The managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company says that it could start shipping liquefied natural gas to Europe in two years.
“That was in an article in the Wall Street Journal today, Mr. President, today.
“Here’s the headline: ‘Iran Seeks Ways To Ship Out Gas As Sanctions Ease.’
“Here it is, today.
“This is incredibly timely what we’re discussing here on the floor of the United States Senate.
“When you read through the article, it says that ‘European companies are promising billions in new deals in Iran as the Iranian President Rouhani visits Europe this week to revive trade and political ties.’
“So Iran is on the move.
“The Obama administration, as of right now, is shackling American natural gas – shackling production, shackling the export.
“At the same time the president, through his agreement with Iran, is enabling Iran to move forward seeking ways to ship out gas as sanctions ease.
“If our allies are dependent on gas from Russia, or Iran, or from both, how does that make the world a safer place?
“This administration has been dragging its feet on approving liquefied natural gas exports.
“It’s blocked North American energy projects in the past, like the Keystone XL pipeline that would have created thousands of jobs.
“Then, earlier this month, the Secretary of the Interior halted all new leases on mining coal on federal land.
“This action by the administration, it is alarming, it’s drastic, and it is destructive.
“Forty percent of all coal production in the United States comes from federal land.
“The Interior Secretary wants that coal to stay in the ground – wants it to become a stranded asset.
“With this new rule, she took one more step toward wiping out the jobs of thousands of Americans – and then she staged a press conference to brag about it.
“If that weren’t bad enough, last week the administration announced new restrictions on oil and gas operations on federal land and on Indian land.
“The unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the Obama administration have been relentlessly attacking American energy producers with new rules, new regulations, hurting our economy.
“They are costing American workers and families billions of dollars – and they will do great damage to American energy reliability.
“And reliability is key, Mr. President.
“We need a different approach.
“It is essential that we create as much energy as possible here at home – and it is essential that we be able to export American energy to our allies, as well.
“People who want to get it from us.
“That’s why energy is called the master resource, and it’s why this energy bill is so important.
“This legislation is a good start toward making sure that America has the energy we need to keep our economy growing.
“Now, there are things that we can do to improve this legislation.
“We can use this bill to protect Americans from President Obama’s reckless attempt to end coal leases on federal lands.
“We can also make sure that the Obama administration stops its unwise new rule on natural gas and oil operations.
“We can actually capture more energy while we reduce waste and emissions from this kind of oil and gas production.
“I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation that’s going to expedite the permitting process of the natural-gas-gathering lines on federal and Indian land.
“These are pipelines that collect unprocessed natural gas from oil and gas wells, ship it to a processing plant, and then on to interstate pipelines.
“Today a lot of that gas is flared off right at the well.
“You can see these at the well – flames.
“One of the reasons that’s happening is because the Obama administration has been so slow about granting the permits for the natural-gas-gathering lines on federal land.
“People want to build them, they want to use this natural gas, the president opposes the flaring – more gathering lines would mean less flaring.
“It’s good for energy producers, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for taxpayers.
“Mr. President, we need the energy.
“Keeping it in the ground is not the answer.
“The answer is making energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on American families.
“I believe that’s a better approach.
“A bipartisan group of members of this body know that it’s a better answer.
“It’s time for the Obama administration to join us.”
Reasons for oil states and provinces to be as competitive as possible. (Statistics today from our Aussie O&G energy analyst friend)
Late last week US independent Southwestern Energy laid off 1,100 staff members - or an incredible 40% of its staff
A similar story is being played out with Canadian focused Husky Energy, who is said to be planning a 30% staff reduction in the next few weeks.
Oil services giant Schlumberger announced a 15,000 personnel reduction last week.
Also as we noted last week, Shell is to reduce its staff (post the BG acquisition) by 10,000.
Anecdotally, the total work-force reduction in the Canadian province of Alberta is said to be touching 100,000.
And very anecdotally - my Aberdeen based and/or trained Facebook friends are much more nervous about job cuts in 2016 than they were in 2015.
As we have stated before, we think the World is effectively placing an awful lot of faith in the increasingly fewer remaining members of the oil and gas industry to deliver new supply once the tiny (in our view) current spare capacity is eroded by demand gains and depletion.
1) The last thing lawmakers should do in a low price environment is raise taxes and regulatory costs of exploration, production, transportation and refining activities; and, 2) when price recovery occurs, activity will logically begin to grow first in low cost/high return areas. -dh