|Juneau Empire by Elwood Brehmer. Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to increase the state’s share in the Alaska LNG Project could put Alaska on the hook for more than $14 billion....|
Is EPA A Lawless Agency?
We are sorry to hear today that our friend and former Alaskan, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, will be leaving the agency at the end of this month. However, FERC's loss, in our opinion, will be another organization's gain.
We offer him our very best wishes. -dh
We've had significant evidence over the last seven years that the EPA and other agencies reporting to the current administration regulate Americans and their businesses outside of the rule of law and due process.
The report we provided readers yesterday substantiated that observation.
Here, today, is an official comment from the Alaska Miners Association. -dh
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International Business Times by Maria Gallucci. The Trans-Pacific Partnership could boost exports of some U.S. energy supplies by making it easier to ship and sell the fuel to Pacific Rim nations. The biggest recipient likely would be Japan, which is eyeing deliveries of American liquefied natural gas to replace output from its nuclear power plants.
The 12-nation agreement completed in Atlanta this week is expected to call for the “national treatment for trade in natural gas,” a provision that would lower regulatory hurdles and cut tariffs among members of the free trade pact. If approved by Congress, the TPP likely would require the U.S. Department of Energy to approve automatically all gas exports to the 11 other nations, potentially accelerating LNG exports.
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ADN by Alex DeMarban. A new report offers reasons why Alaska would benefit by buying pipeline builder TransCanada out of the Alaska LNG project, including that it would make an extra $7.4 billion over two decades of operation.
The downside is that without TransCanada, the state would have to pay an extra $7 billion to $8 billion upfront to cover construction and other costs.
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Here are two vignettes from conversations our mid-Atlantic energy expert had today:
· The bad news: A producer told me today about some monster production from a Marcellus well last month, that netted sixty cents per mcf.
· The good news: A midstream specialist told me about presenting at the Marcellus Shale Coalition Conference in Philly last month. We had presented there three years ago, so we compared notes. We mentioned that there had been about 2000 protesters outside the Convention Center, in full throat and bearing little similarity to sane people. He said there were a fair number of protesters this year, too. He went out and tried to confront one scruffy young man who was carrying a placard. “What’s your complaint about developing our natural resources?” The response :
Wait for it…
“I haven’t got any complaint. I was just hanging out in the park, and they came and offered me $50 to carry this sign. I needed the money.”
(So much for dedicated, environmental activists! -dh)
Our respected, mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas analyst friend tells us today that weather trends do not work in the favor of natural gas prices, as follows:
"Regular readers know our devotion to studying weather patterns, partly because they can have significant impact on energy supply/demand, but mostly because we find it interesting. Every month we forward the monthly Browning World Climate Bulletin. It is without peer both its forecasts and its educational content on the subject.
"For the time-constrained, here is the summary updated fall-into-winter forecast:
"Summary: The strong El Niño is expected to last until spring and fade to moderate through spring. This, combined with the Icelandic volcano should allow rain to return to the South in autumn and produce a cool wet winter in the southern tier of states and a warm dry winter in Canada and the northern tier of states.
"This is not good news for the natural gas market. In fact, it is just about as gloomy as it could get. We should point out that this Bulletin is closely read by commodity traders, given it great track record. This fact is likely a contributing factor to the depressed Henry Hub price (closed at $2.47 today, and the 12-month strip is $2.71).
"For new people to the Bulletin, we urge them to give it at least a quick review. It is a tremendous education about how global weather works. This is NOT a global warming piece; it is about weather."
Statement from the Alaska Miners Association referring to a Cohen Group report issued yesterday, and about which we reported here:
Today, the Cohen Group released a report detailing its findings from an independent review conducted on the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions at the Pebble Project. The Alaska Miners Association has issued a Press Release, attached to this email, with its response:
The Alaska Miners Association (AMA) today welcomed the release of the report of an independent review by The Cohen Group evaluating actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Pebble Project and called upon policymakers to thoroughly review the findings to ensure future investment in Alaska.
Decision reached on Stream 2003 Reservation of Water applications
(Anchorage, AK) – The Division of Mining, Land & Water’s Water Resources Section has issued its decision on the Chuitna Citizens Coalition Inc.’s three Reservation of Water applications for Middle Creek/Stream 2003, a tributary of the Chuitna River. These applications were requested to protect flows for the purpose of protection of fish and wildlife habitat, migration, and propagation, one of the four purposes authorized by Alaska Statute 46.15.145.
The decision was signed on Oct. 6 by Water Resources Section Chief David Schade and published today. The decision grants a Reservation of Water to the Chuitna Citizens Coalition in the lower reach of Middle Creek/Stream 2003. The decision does not grant the applications for the main reach and the middle reach of Middle Creek/Stream 2003. This decision does not award any water rights or permits for mining-related activities.
Before granting a Reservation of Water, the Water Resources Section must make four findings required by AS 46.15.145(c): “The commissioner shall issue a certificate reserving the water applied for under this section if the commissioner finds that,
(1) The rights of prior appropriators will not be affected by this reservation;
(2) The applicant has demonstrated that a need exists for the reservation;
(3) There is unappropriated water in the stream or body of water sufficient for the reservation; and
(4) The proposed reservation is in the public interest.”
In this case the Water Resources Section also received competing water right applications for use of water in Middle Creek/Stream 2003 to support PacRim Coal LLP’s proposed coal mine. When it receives applications for competing uses from the same source of water and there is not enough water to supply all applicants, the Water Resources Section is required to balance the interests involved and give preference to "the use that alone or in combination with other foreseeable uses will constitute the most beneficial use." (Alaska Statute 46.15.090)
In the decision, Schade wrote that he found two arguments regarding the Reservation of Water applications to be compelling. First, the applicant made a compelling argument that the Department of Natural Resources should not allow PacRim to develop a coal mine that would significantly and negatively impact the Chuitna River watershed, and second, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and others made the compelling argument that while the state and federal permitting processes must be stringent, they must also allow for a predictable and complete permitting process that allows all available information to be compiled and presented to the state and federal regulatory agencies.
“The Water Resources Section will analyze the entire Chuitna watershed and the consequences and protections of the different proposed uses. This review will occur after other mine-related permitting is complete and the best information is available for all the Chuitna water right applications," Schade said.
"I really appreciated the public’s involvement in this process. We received more than 8,500 comments and held a hearing on the objections raised by a number of groups with conflicting views about this decision. This involvement was helpful in making the best decision possible,” Schade said.
Division of Mining, Land and Water Director Brent Goodrum added, “This decision culminates a vast amount of hard work and public participation on these applications. The decision provides for the continued protection of fish and wildlife habitat within in the Chuitna River watershed. The decision also allows for a continued rigorous evaluation of the proposed coal project by state and federal regulators.” He also noted, “This decision is unique in that it is the first time that the State of Alaska is awarding a water reservation on state waters to a private entity.”
By issuing this decision, the Department has complied with and fulfilled an Alaska Superior Court order to issue a decision on the Chuitna Citizens Coalition’s Reservation of Water applications. The decision may be appealed to the Commissioner of the Department Natural Resources within 20 days.
To read the decision and related documents, go to http:// dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/water/reservations/chuitna.cfm.
Note: Reservations of Water are also frequently referred to as Instream Flow Reservations.
DNR Newsroom: http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/dnr_newsroom.htm
DNR on Social Media: http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/social_media.htm
DNR Public Information Center: http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/
Here is a piece we have posted in the last 24 hours on our NGP Facebook and Twitter pages re: Alaska's economic future.
Today's Wall Street Journal Editorial: "A new report takes apart the EPA’s veto of a mining project" (Thanks for the tip, Dan Kish.)
In an accompanying piece the WSJ notes:
Our columnist Bret Stephens writes that at the President’s Friday press conference, Mr. Obama described alternatives to his Syria policy as “mumbo-jumbo,” “half-baked ideas,” and “as-if” solutions. “So it is with this president. It’s not enough for him to stake and defend his positions. He wants you to know that he thinks deeper, sees further, knows better, operates from a purer motive. His preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration,” says Mr. Stephens.
One for the annals of overbearing bureaucracy—the EPA issued a rejection of an Alaskan mining project before the mine’s owner had even applied for permits. A Journal editorial says that a report due to be released today finds that the EPA’s decision to ignore regular procedure led to basic scientific flaws. As a result, other government agencies refused to cooperate with the Beltway regulator.
It is by now beyond dispute that the Environmental Protection Agency went rogue when it halted Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine project. And yet, there’s more.
The more comes via an independent report that criticizes the agency for its pre-emptive 2014 veto of Pebble, a proposal to create the country’s largest copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska. Under the Clean Water Act, the Army Corps of Engineers evaluates permit applications for new projects. The EPA has a secondary role of reviewing and potentially vetoing Corps approval. Here, the EPA issued a veto before either Pebble could file for permits or the Corps could take a look.
Pebble CEO Tom Collier didn’t take this lying down. He filed a lawsuit. Then he asked former Senator and Defense Secretary William Cohen to conduct an outside investigation. Mr. Cohen agreed, as he writes, “on conditions of independence. I would follow the facts wherever they may lead, and any conclusions would be mine alone.” His 346-page report, released to be Tuesday, is a straightforward yet withering takedown of EPA’s conduct. Read more, here.
Alaska's Economic Survival. Certainly part of the State's economic survival rests on the outcome of federal treatment of Alaska natural resources, as in the recent Pebble and Shell matters. But a big part of Alaska's future rests in the judgment of Alaskan public officials.
Some, like me, will say, "Alaskans, their governor and legislature need to help our biggest investors become MORE competitive in a low price environment."
Others will say, "We need to take more from our biggest investors in a low price environment NOW so we don't suffer."
The first group is dedicated to the long haul and to a sustainable economy. The second seeks maximum transfer of wealth "from them to us" NOW, at the expense of the long term, at the expense of our kids' generation.
The first approach offers an economic spiral up, leading to a brighter future for all. The second leads to an economic death spiral down, wherein the hope of the future is mortgaged for the temporary pleasures of the present.
The same principle of a sustainable and hope-filled future applies to national taxing, spending and economic sustainability issues.
Dave Harbour, former Chairman
Alaska Council on Economic Education
See Our Aussie Energy Expert's Current View On Alaska's Energy 'Leadership'
ADN/AP Shell Announcement by Dan Joling/Yereth Rosen
Our Commentary On Shell's Alaskan Arctic OCS Exit
With Alaska's "Plan B" failing what's wrong with relying again on "Plan A"?
Alaskans will be seriously questioning the future of their state when they wake up and read the news this morning.
This is because Alaska is more than any other North American state or province dependent on oil production and production is down, down, down.
Alaska North Slope (ANS) production once fed about 20% of domestic oil supply at a rate in the '80s that exceeded 2 million barrels per day.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) transporting that oil is about 40 years old now and -- as important as it still is -- it is merely a reflection of its former, vigorous self, losing about 5% of its throughput every year as ANS field production declines. It's nearly 3/4 empty and without added production could shut down in a few years.
Shell's success could have helped sustain Alaska's job economy and ANS throughput in TAPS.
Alaska depends upon taxes and royalties from oil flowing through TAPS for almost 90% of its lavish state operating budget.
Recent statistics label it the highest per capita spending state in the nation and the highest per capita debtor state in the nation. It has the highest number of non-profit corporations in the country per capita, most of which are directly or indirectly dependent on oil for at least part of their budgets.
Available state savings accounts currently protect a $3.5 - 4 billion annual operating deficit, but that savings will be gone in a year or two. Even a return to $100/barrel oil would not put Alaska in the black based on current production and state spending trends.
In addition, over a third of the 49th State's total economy depends on oil revenue and oil-dependent jobs.
With falling production and increased opposition to oil operations both within and from outside Alaska, state policy has drifted aimlessly for many years.
It has pretty much been a policy of tax oil and spend that oil money while minimizing taxes/fees on people and maximizing transfers of state wealth to them.
"Plan A" first began to surface in the mid-1980s when various business groups began advocating for a constitutional amendment limiting government spending via a population and inflation formula.
By the early 1990s the University of Alaska's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) began showing the public and elected leaders how very modest spending controls THEN could have provided a "safe" and sustainable glide path toward a long-term, sustainable economy for current and future generations.
ISER has provided another path to sustainability (i.e. "Maximum Sustainable Yield") for the last few years, also largely ignored.
Neither an effective constitutional spending limit nor economically viable "safe economic landing" were embraced by those holding the purse strings and whose pleasure and reelection were sustained by taxing oil and spending on constituent desires. (Note: Civic groups did succeed passing, in 1982, an amendment, but lawmakers loosened it to allow capital project designations, among others, to weaken the stricter "population and inflation" formula. (Alaska Constitution, Article IX, Sec. 16)
With oil income falling and spending continuing to increase over the years, even the most deluded politicians could see that "something should be done".
We call that "something" the strategy of hope, which took four forms:
a. Hope that the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act's congressionally authorized "1002" area within the Arctic National Wildlife Range (ANWR) would be successfully developed, contributing to TAPS throughput, jobs and economic stability; and
b. Hope that sufficient new oil would be found in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska to maintain robust throughput of TAPS, state economic stability and jobs; and
c. Hope that sufficient new oil would be found within existing Alaska North Slope fields and other state lands to maintain robust throughput of TAPS, jobs and state economic stability; and
d. Hope that sufficient new oil would be found in the Alaskan Arctic OCS to maintain robust throughput of TAPS, jobs and state economic stability.
And wouldn't it have been nice if all four hoped-four outcomes had materialized?
How has the strategy of hope worked out for Alaska?
Well, the State has continued its upward spending and taxing trend, somewhat ameliorated by an oil tax reform law two years ago, but continually challenged by liberal lawmakers and their constituencies since then.
The president is operating the federally owned land in ANWR as if it were a wilderness area -- part of his end run around Congress using the 'pen and a phone' tactic.
The president's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has promulgated regulations that effectively 'lock up' half of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A). Together with other regulatory agencies like the EPA, BLM has also significantly delayed and increased the expense of new oil production in areas of NPR-A that are open to exploration and development.
The current Governor is raising the old Palin flag of populism and anti-oil rhetoric, threatening the oil industry, endangering a pending LNG project, and signaling investors that investment even in existing oil fields -- and other state lands -- is accompanied by a high risk premium. Some even believe that the objective of the current governor is to socialize the energy industry (Our notes, here and here).
Now, on top of these first three disappointing Plan B results comes Shell's decision based, in part, on a hostile, federal regulatory regime.
Plan A -- involving support for Alaska's major industry and spending discipline -- didn't work out when the Plan B strategy of hope offered the above 4 lifelines.
Now that the reality is setting in that there is so little hope for the strategy of hope, Alaska may be forced to reconsider the best approach of all: the original Plan A.
Plan A has the negative qualities of being distasteful to big public spending and high oil taxing constituencies.
It requires citizens to 'do without' certain government amenities.
It requires lawmakers and the governor to seek the high road, be the adults in the room and prepare a sustainable economy for the next generation. This includes fighting the hostile and debilitating overreach of the federal government.
But Plan A has the major benefit of preventing intergenerational inequity, of providing a sustainable economy for Alaska's children rather than robbing their generation to secure the selfish wants of this generation.
Keep watching. We'll know the political class for what it is after absorbing today's news.
Will politicians embrace Plan A along with the dedication and self discipline it requires?
Or, will they do everything to avoid political pain at the expense of the next generation (i.e. as the federal government has done), perhaps by constructing a Plan C that is no more responsible than Plan B's strategy of hope?
Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work
Shell has spent upward of $7 billion on Arctic offshore exploration, including $2.1 billion in 2008 for leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, where an exploratory well about 80 miles off shore drilled to 6,800 feet but yielded disappointing results.
"Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the U.S.," Marvin Odum, president of Shell USA, said in The Hague, Netherlands. "However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin."
Shell will end exploration off Alaska "for the foreseeable future," the company said, because of the well results and because of the "challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska. (Our emphasis added. -dh)
The Burger J well drilled this summer will be plugged and abandoned, Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino said.
Other references will be added here:
- Wall Street Journal
- Greenpeace's "Great News"
- Alaska Oil & Gas Association
- Consumer Energy Alliance
Alaska's LNG Prospects
Today, our Aussie oil and gas analyst friend wrote:
Further to the news story on Friday about the sovereign risks facing LNG projects even in the USA, such as Alaska LNG (AKLNG) - Alaska's populist Governor has subsequently formally introduced a concept that no doubt will look attractive to his peers in Mozambique, Tanzania, etc - a "gas reserves tax".
The intent of this concept is to tax resources in the ground, thereby presumably encouraging oil companies to develop assets.
The concept shows a fundamental lack of understanding as to what are "reserves" - which seems surprising for a State which is built on the oil industry.
Although Alaska's North Slope contains very substantial and well understood contingent resources of gas - it contains no gas reserves and will not do so until AKLNG reaches FID (i.e. reserves require commerciality).
By seeking to tax in-ground resources, Alaska's Governor reduces the chances of such resources actually becoming (commercially available) reserves.
Free subscription to Aussie Oil & Gas Observer
September 25, 2015
Regular readers will know that this blog considers the Alaska LNG (AKLNG) project to be the Aesopian tortoise of the LNG project world – not as flashy as some, but plodding towards first gas next decade.
However, that tortoise carries a heavy shell that would be familiar to LNG project proponents in most locations around the world – a Government that wants to maximize its share of something that does not as yet exist – and therefore risks getting a larger share in nothing rather than a reasonable share in something.
Australian readers of this blog will likely be familiar with only one Alaskan Governor – the surprisingly socialist (when it comes to taxing oil companies) Sarah Palin. Her populist instincts live on in the State and even the Russian news service Interfax today points out that AKLNG risks being bogged down by politics
Alaskan based website Northern Gas Pipelines today provides an update on the latest Government meddling in AKLNG and asks the reasonable question – “with so many government cooks in the LNG kitchen, really, what could possibly go wrong?”
SitNews, Ketchikan, Alaska, by Mary Kauffman
Alaska Governor Bill Walker issued a proclamation Thursday calling the Alaska Legislature into a special session next month to consider legislation to move a project forward to get the natural gas on the North Slope to market. Efforts to to commercialize North Slope gas dates back to the 1970s.
Addressing what the Governor describes as the urgency of North Slope gas production, Walker called the special session to be held in Juneau on October 24th.
“With a $3.5 billion budget deficit, this gasline project has gone from a wish-list item to a must-have,” said Governor Walker. “Under the negotiation process I inherited, very little has been accomplished on the commercial agreements. It is time to make the necessary legislative changes so a single party cannot delay the production of Alaska’s natural gas resources and sway our destiny.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski's reaction to Shell's announcement
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement regarding Shell’s decision to suspend operations in Alaska’s offshore waters:
“I am extremely disappointed by this decision, just as I have been deeply frustrated by the years-long path that led to it.
“In the more than seven years that Shell has held leases in the Chukchi, it has only recently been allowed to complete a single well. What we have here is a case in which a company’s commercial efforts could not overcome a burdensome and often contradictory regulatory environment. The Interior Department has made no effort to extend lease terms, as recommended by the National Petroleum Council. Instead, Interior placed significant limits on this season’s activities, which resulted in a drilling rig sitting idle, and is widely expected to issue additional regulations in the coming weeks that will make it even harder to drill. Add this all up, and it is clear that the federal regulatory environment – uncertain, everchanging, and continuing to deteriorate – was a significant factor in Shell’s decision.
“What we need – but still do not have – is a predictable and sensible regulatory system both onshore and offshore that encourages companies to make major investments in our future. Continued uncertainty will only further damage our competitiveness and our economy. And so today, I call on the administration to work with Alaskans – to develop a legitimate plan, driven by our input and preferences, to ensure the prolific resources in our federal areas are produced.
“There are many steps that can be taken, if the Interior Department and others commit to working with us. We must enable the sanctioning of GMT-1 and further development in NPR-A, rapidly progress Liberty and open new areas in the nearshore Beaufort Sea, extend offshore lease terms, conduct Lease Sale 237 as scheduled, finalize a strong Five-Year Plan for 2017-2022, provide for offshore revenue sharing, and expedite leasing throughout the state – including the non-wilderness portion of ANWR.
“There is also more at stake here than the current status of one company’s exploration program. Development in the Arctic is going to happen – if not here, then in Russia and Canada, and by non-Arctic nations. I personally believe that America should lead the way. The Arctic is crucial to our entire nation’s future, and we can no longer rely solely on private companies to bring investments in science and infrastructure to the region. As the Arctic continues to open, we urgently need to accelerate our national security investments in icebreakers, ports, and other necessities.” (See the source here.)
TODAY'S RELEVANT CONSUMER ENERGY ALLIANCE ENERGY CLIPS:
Southeast Green: PACE Says EPA's Clean Power Plan Would Raise Consumer Costs, Yet Fail to Lower Earth's Temperature
The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) issued a statement today that criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's unprecedented mandate on carbon dioxide emissions under its Clean Air Plan, especially the change to demand more reductions by 2030.
DC City Biz List: Offshore Drilling Could Boost The Economy Or Be An Unnecessary Risk
Drilling for oil the coast of Virginia is either a chance to boost the economy or an unnecessary risk for beachfront communities and the environment. Voices on both sides of the argument were in Richmond on Thursday for a forum hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance.
Consumer Energy Alliance: CEA Leads Discussion on the Need for Responsible Atlantic Offshore Energy Development
Consumer Energy Alliance today hosted the 2015 Atlantic Energy Forum in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Abigail Ross Hopper, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and other distinguished panelists.
New York Times: Shell Abandons Disappointing Offshore Alaskan Well
Royal Dutch Shell said Monday that it would stop exploration off the coast of Alaska “for the foreseeable future.” The decision came after the Burger J well, which the company drilled this summer, produced disappointing results. The company said the well had “found indications of oil and gas, but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration” of the Burger prospect, a geological structure.
The Hill: Senate Dems tell Obama to end Arctic drilling
Some Senate Democrats are once again asking President Obama to end oil and natural gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean. In a letter Friday, 12 senators asked Obama to block any additional drilling after Royal Dutch Shell wraps up its exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska, this fall.
The Hill: Clinton explains shift on Keystone, other key issues
Hillary Clinton on Sunday pointed to the nation’s shifting energy profile for her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline after she had initially seemed to voice support for its construction. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Clinton if her position on Keystone had changed as a matter of political expediency.
Post and Courier: Hillary’s slick move on XL pipeline
Hillary Clinton continued her unimpeded march toward the Democratic presidential nomination for 2016 by announcing her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. In doing so, she checked another box on her campaign strategy list, reassuring some core Democratic voters and probably ensuring some large campaign contributions.
The Hill: Energy empowers the world’s poor
The White House, the United Nations, even the Vatican are in full court press for action to reduce manmade global warming at the climate summit in December. Many well-intentioned people believe manmade global warming is so dangerous we should spend trillions trying to prevent it by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which would require tremendous reductions in fossil fuel use.
Fortune: Why America’s power grid needs natural gas now more than ever
Now that the Obama administration has finalized its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector, the focus of attention turns to the states, which must now find a way to reduce emissions consistent with the Plan. One question states face as they envision a lower carbon future is how much to rely on natural gas-fired generation.
Washington Examiner: House sets vote to lift oil export ban
The House is set to consider a bill on the floor this week to lift a 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil from the United States. The bill is being supported by the House leadership as integral to the Republican energy agenda this Congress, and many high-level lawmakers have vowed to see it passed before the end of the year.
Bloomberg: Oil Traders May Look to the Sea for Profit Amid Price Collapse
The global oil glut may soon expand to the ocean. While traders are already cashing in on the surplus by housing oil in onshore tanks across the globe -- including on the tiny Caribbean island of St. Lucia-- expanding the storage to tankers at sea may near a point where it becomes profitable, according to Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and IHS Maritime & Trade.
Associated Press: Alaska’s Walker brushes aside reserves tax criticism
Gov. Bill Walker on Friday brushed aside criticism from Republican lawmakers that they were blindsided by his call to reinstate the gas reserves tax during the upcoming special session. “I sat right at this table and talked about fiscal certainty and project certainty,” Walker said during a news conference at his Anchorage office. He met with lawmakersMonday to inform them of his call for the special session, which starts Oct. 24 in Juneau.
Alaska Highway News: Despite fracking fights, resource extraction key for Peace Region, says NDP candidate
When Kathi Dickie was considering whether to run for parliament as a New Democrat in Northeast B.C., one question was on the top of her mind. "My question to the NDP was if you're against development of our natural resources, then I'm not your candidate," Dickie told the party brass.
Beaumont Enterprise: Keystone XL Pipeline needs market decision
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against the Keystone XL Pipeline last week, a decision that will have an impact on the 2016 race. And Southeast Texas, because the Valero refinery in Port Arthur would process 150,000 barrels a day of tar sands crude from Canada - if it ever gets here.
Midland Reporter-Telegram: Government agency plans intensive safety study - Two-year project targets all aspects of oil and gas industry
High salaries and soaring numbers of new jobs were not the only things attracting attention as the oil and gas industry boomed in recent years. Industry fatality, injury and exposure rates drew focus, especially from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fuel Fix: California regulators restore emissions-cutting fuel rule
California regulators on Friday restored ambitious rules to cut transportation fuel emissions 10 percent within 5 years. The rules further strengthen California’s toughest-in-the-nation carbon emissions standards, but oil producers warn the changes could drive up costs for consumers at the gas pump.
Denver Post: Colorado oil companies say they are safer, stats say otherwise
The country's oil and gas companies say they are cooperating more and working harder to make jobs safer for employees even as a new report suggests oil-field work has never been more dangerous. The industry touts the rise of training networks, partnerships with governments and tough certification standards as helping to improve the work environment in one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
Fuel Fix: Pro-industry group throws support behind drilling on Texas university land
A pro-industry group is firing back at calls by environmental advocates to restrict drilling on university land in Texas, arguing that oil and gas revenue has provided massive financial support for the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
Houston Chronicle: Community colleges offer training for petrochem jobs
Petrochemical plants along the Texas Gulf Coast and the Port of Houston are spending billions of dollars to expand facilities. It is estimated that these projects, along with the retirement of existing workers, will provide jobs for more than 50,000 skilled workers.
Austin American-Statesman: Houser: Concerns about fracking on UT land overstated
University Lands, which comprises about 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas, is a resource unlike any other in the nation. The lands were set aside in 1839 specifically to benefit Texas higher education. Today, more than 20 academic and health institutions in the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems benefit from these assets.
Baton Rouge Advocate: Our Views: New roles for natural gas, including on the road, will help Louisiana’s growing natural gas industry
The price of oil is sharply down from last year, but if there’s one thing Louisiana has still got, it’s lots of natural gas at a historically low price level. That is of course good news for the metropolitan areas of the state, including big refineries in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles and in the River Parishes above New Orleans.
Columbus Dispatch: Oil, gas industry boosts local economy
There is no question, these are tough times for Ohio’s oil and gas industry. Prices for crude oil and natural gas are at their lowest levels in decades. The downturn in prices and drilling activity has caused many people to ask questions: Is Ohio’s oil and gas industry still a major contributor to our local economy? How important is this industry to the average Ohioan? The answers are yes, and, in fact, more important now than ever.
Washington Times: GOP will allow tax vote, if Democrats secure enough support
Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislature’s Republican majorities will allow a floor vote on a budget package that includes an income or sales tax increase if Democrats can secure enough support to pass it, officials said Friday.
Tribune-Review: 2 Marcellus pipeline projects move forward
Two large pipeline projects aimed at easing a glut of natural gas from the Marcellus shale advanced in the federal permitting process this week. Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group said its proposal to build the $2 billion, 165-mile Mountaineer Xpress in West Virginia entered a pre-filing phase before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
WKBN: Judge tosses Pa. landowners’ lawsuit against fracking opponents
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that landowners filed against people and groups who oppose fracking in a western Pennsylvania township. Natural gas drilling has been delayed in Middlesex, Butler County while some of the rural community’s 800 residents challenge a zoning ordinance that would allow drilling in 90 percent of the rural township.
Myrtle Beach Sun News: Offshore Wind a Viable Source for Future Electrical Energy
It’s evident, or should be, that electrical energy in the future will come from sources other than fossil fuels such as coal, oil or even natural gas. Offshore winds are one of the most viable alternate energy sources and coastal South Carolina residents should applaud ongoing efforts to produce power from the wind.
Yes, Low Oil Prices Also Affect Service Industries and Their Thousands of Employees and Sub Contractors!
Reader Commentary, Below, and Our Reaction
Commentary, "Telling it like it is" carries with it a responsibility for diligence and judgment: We are honored to receive so many calls and emails every week, over many years, from readers throughout the world. We hardly ever make public note of such moving messages, but we have archived a few here.
We are deeply grateful for our reader interaction and wish to highlight these two examples (i.e. left column) today out of respect and appreciation for all faithful readers.
Such support keeps us going strong. We know that industry cannot often "tell it like it is," for it is natural to fear that criticizing a local, state or federal regulator can produce retribution and shareholder losses. This in a country wherein government has grown to not fear the people, as the Constitution envisioned.
Ordinary citizens can't often take the time to study and communicate their reaction to complex energy issues; they just don't like the general result.
News media stories and editorials are pretty much sanitized by management.
So, it falls to independents like us to try to connect the dots and keep our readers informed via links, associations and commentary. And we want you to know that we know our credibility rests upon our sense of responsibility and judgment.
...glad you provide this information. It keeps us IN THE LOOP! Have a GREAT WEEK, DAVE! Bunny and Al Chong
... Most importantly you add such wealth of Knowledge on our energy and industrial and political business news in Alaska.
You are read by many and are the only news letter that covers all the economic and environmental concerns that occur in Alaska and DC as well as sister energy States like North Dakota and Wyoming.
Comment: Way to go, Marcella Munro! Could Canada be thirsting as much for anti-PC, "tell it like it is" truth-telling leaders as the U.S.?!!!
Calgary Herald by Don Braid. Marcella Munro, Premier Rachel Notley’s suddenly controversial new hire at McDougall Centre, has a surprising answer when asked if she’s against pipelines and the oilsands.
“Me? My BMW 325i is my favourite possession. There is no planet on which I could try to argue against the oilsands. I love all the good things petroleum does for me — including driving too fast on Highway 2.”
Notley’s new Calgary “outreach” director certainly isn’t hiding under the stairs at McDougall after being fiercely attacked by the Wildrose and PCs.
EPA ALERT: Let's mark our Thursday calendars. We would bet EPA will swiftly change tactics from apologizing for incompetence to avoiding blame and liability (i.e. Lawyer talk: "We are sorry for the inconvenience but were just doing our job to clean up industry's mess." -dh)
Committee on Natural Resources and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to Hold Joint Hearing on the EPA’s Animas Spill.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 10:00 AM, in Room 2167 Rayburn House Office Building, the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a joint oversight hearing titled, “EPA’s Animas Spill.”
Committee on Natural Resources and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform joint oversight hearing titled, “EPA’s Animas Spill”
WHEN: Thursday, September 17, 10:00 AM
WHERE: 2167 Rayburn House Office Building
Visit the Committee Calendar for additional information, once it is made available. The meeting is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast at House Committee on Natural Resources.
The Asia Pacific Resilience Summit kicked off this morning, an event that showcases clean tech solutions for island grids, communities, and military applications across the Pacific. The opening keynote speaker, Governor David Ige, wasted no time in making major headlines, stating, for the first time publicly, a strong opposition to proposed LNG projects.
Yes, Low Oil Prices Also Affect Support Industries!
Just as oil and gas producers and taxing governments are affected by low oil prices, so are the support industries and their thousands of employees, subcontractors and shareholders. Today, we bring you a few words from our respected, anonymous energy consultant friend from the Mid Atlantic region. -dh
"We have continually pointed out that the business models of the private equity companies and the E&P industry could hardly be more antithetical to each other. Cash flow back to the investor is a necessary part of the PE investment strategy, while E&Ps think positive cash flows are for sissies and big, dumb integrated oil companies. But the flood of money into the market and low interest rates have brought them together. Can this marriage be salvaged?
"One ancillary thought: Given the cash shortage for E&Ps for 2016, the Service Companies may get hit worse.
"Here are some thoughts from Wunderlich Securities on the prospects:"
Below the surface of the energy market, we believe that there exists a confluence of factors ready to bubble up and impact E&Ps, OFS, and MLPs. With continually low natural gas prices, abysmal NGL prices, very weak oil prices, and no V-shaped recovery in sight...
...structural shifts in the energy landscape.... Private equity continues to have a considerable interest in the space ... some banks may look to reduce their exposure.... the amount of funds in the space could remain very high. However, the cost of those funds could also be rising as funding from private equity replaces more conventional sources. ...with commodity prices making new lows and fewer hedges in 2016 than in 2015, we think there is a confluence of factors that could alter the energy landscape in the coming 3-6 months....
Obama Administration’s Regulatory Agenda will Result in Virtual Moratorium on Gulf Offshore Energy Development
Administration’s Policies “Undermine Safety, Rather Than Enhance It”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing in New Orleans, LA, on the current state of offshore oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico. The panel received testimony from U.S. Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), industry representatives, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
The hearing focused on the impact of federal policies on energy development in the Gulf, including DOI’s proposed well control rule, and what actions can be taken to promote the responsible development of outer Continental Shelf (OCS) resources.
"Federal regulations such as the proposed well-control threaten another moratorium by shutting down the majority of the Gulf rig fleet. Some provisions of this rule could actually undermine safety, rather than enhance it," stated Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT). "Other federal measures, such as the crude export ban, limit new market opportunities and U.S. production potential. We should encourage the production of affordable energy, not continue decades-old policies that force companies to shut-in those resources because they are not economic to bring to market."
"This administration's energy policy appears to have two objectives: cause Louisianans to lose their jobs and continue our dependence on foreign oil,” stated Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA). “We have already been through the moratorium and permitorium where the federal government shutdown the Gulf of Mexico's energy fields. These new illogical regulations on the offshore industry – conceived in a vacuum with insufficient stakeholder input – will not ensure safe exploration and production operations, but they will result in less production, more supply boats tied up and more people losing their energy jobs."
“The Obama Administration was held in contempt of court over its previous moratorium in the Gulf, so now President Obama is seeking through regulation to create a new moratorium by making it prohibitively expensive to drill in the Gulf,” stated Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee Chairman John Fleming (R-LA). “I’m glad the BSEE will finally be sitting down with industry experts, but it’s a shame they didn’t do that from the start."
9-7-15 BLM Cleanup Progress: Thanks to an Alaska Senator and Chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
BLM completes Cape Simpson cleanup work - 09/06/2015 (Login to read Full story) The federal Bureau of Land Management said Sept. 1 that it has completed cleanup of Cape Simpson legacy well sites in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. BLM said it facilitated removal of surface debris through an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The corps contracte....
Comment: President Barack Obama dined last night at the Anchorage home of Alaska Dispatch Publisher Alice Rogoff (NGP Photo). We hope that in addition to climate change issues, Alaska's major publisher was able to also discuss other matters.
Read other national and international news accounts of President Obama's Alaska visit, here.
We provided additional links, yesterday, here.
Alaska's dependence and constitutional reliance on natural resources largely rest upon Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) sustainability. This is because 90% of the state operating budget and over a third of Alaska's economy are based on oil revenue.
TAPS' sustainability, the President should know, depends in large measure on federal policies affecting the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska; the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (1002 area); oil and gas lease sales; energy project permitting, regulation and conditions.
Rogoff, a well known organizer of Arctic forums would also be in a good position to emphasize the importance of protecting US jurisdiction in the Arctic. Guarding American interests is particularly important as Russia becomes more and more provocative in staking out high value oil and gas resources in the Arctic, building infrastructure and increasing its military presence.
We have noted Canada's diligence in caring for its Arctic domain. The United States, Canada's NORAD partner, should be doing the same. -dh