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      This is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaskan and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. We update it daily for you. It is the most timely and complete northern energy archive anywhere — used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to name others existing before 2001.  -dh


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31 July 2015 1:26pm

Petroleum News by Alan Bailey.  A July 17 application by BP to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for amendments to area injection orders for the Prudhoe Bay field marks a critical step toward the possibility of building a major gas pipeline for the export of natural gas from the North Slope. The application requests approval for an increase in the maximum amount of gas that can be withdrawn from the field and approval to inject additional carbon dioxide into the field reservoir.

Although huge quantities of natural gas have been produced from the Prudhoe Bay field along with oil over the years, most of that gas has been ....  (More)


4-20-15 Could Alaska's Governor Be An Alaska Gasline Obstacle?I

20 April 2015 7:30am

KTUU Opinion by Senator John Coghill (NGP Photo).  

Respectfully, Gov. Bill Walker, with the best of intentions, has proposed “up-sizing” the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project, ASAP, as leverage for prospective negotiations with producers in the Alaska liquefied natural gas project, AKLNG.

On its face that “sounds good.” Unfortunately, up-sizing ASAP may result in significant negative consequences.

As we listened to testimony this session, a few themes developed: 1. the State, if Governor Walker continues on his path, may itself become a “risk factor” for alignment with AKLNG, and 2. if the State pursues two projects at once, it may likely undermine both projects.  More....


4-17-15 Will Excessive Pride Hinder Governor Walker's Ability to Succeed?

17 April 2015 6:28am

Sen. Murkowski: Iran Oil Could Hurt U.S. Production if Prohibition on Exporting Domestic Crude Oil isn’t Lifted

Restrictions on U.S. Oil Trade Amount to “Domestic Sanctions”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today drew attention to the potential impact that ending sanctions against Iran could have on U.S. production if the outdated prohibition on exporting domestic crude oil is not also lifted.

Click to view video

Will Excessive Pride Hinder Governor Walker's Ability to Succeed?


Dave Harbour

On February 25, we expressed optimism that Alaska's new, "'All Alaska' governor has the insight, courage, wisdom and grace to be both humbled at the challenges he faces and capable enough to overcome them.  We are also optimistic that Walker’s propensity to be flexible will enable him to reverse course if he sees the ship of state headed toward rocky shoals."

On February 28, our Daily Planet friend, Paul Jenkins wondered if Governor Walker is "crazy like a fox or crazy as a loon" when dealing with gas pipeline policy. 

Journal of Commerce writer, Tim Bradner, on March 4, 2015, thought the Governor might be throwing a 'wrench in the works', of the AK-LNG project.

In our April 3, 2015 editorial, we expressed concern about, "Administration interference with the Ak-LNG project by even talking about government involvement in a competing project...."

*     *     *

At yesterday's 'press availability', a reporter asked the Governor to comment on legislative suggestions that he may be 'paranoid'.  "I am not paranoid," he said.

Yet, during its due diligence stageWalker has risked losing the most advanced, Alaska North Slope gas pipeline project in history by demonstrating he does not trust the project to guarantee commercialization of gas.  To remedy that, he hopes to plow hundreds of millions in state monies into creating a competing gas transportation and marketing effort.  He believes that if the major AK-LNG project fails because of marginal economics, the state should be able to advance the competing effort because it could accept a lower profit margin than the producers.  (Astute observers, however, note that major Alaska producers are capable of financing a gas pipeline whereas Governor Walker does not have ready access to such financing.)

Yesterday's Senate Resources Committee hearing focused on the very dangerous effects of having the state create a gas pipeline project to compete with another gas pipeline project in which it is also invested.  (We were embarrassed that East Anchorage Senator  Bill Wielechowski tried to interrogate Legislative consultants on what the Legislature was paying them, etc...obviously attempting to divert the discussion from merits of proposed policies to irrelevant matters.)

Today, the Governor issued a news release commenting on his decision to withdraw his proclamation, calling on the Legislature to meet in joint session this morning to act on his appointees.

Walker appears to not trust the Legislature to do its job of voting on his appointments, fearing all the appointments could be made void should the session end this week without appointee confirmations.

Today's release below damns the Legislature by faint praise.  It suggests that he was successful in forcing the Legislature to provide him with a guarantee they would meet and act.

He goes on to suggest that this guarantee will improve relations between the Legislature and himself, that now he
"trusts them".  This is delusionary and prideful.

Then, late today (Friday), as we were completing this commentary, he vetoed the bill designed to keep him from using state resources to compete against the state's investment in the main gas pipeline project

We believe that Alaska's new governor could be honest and well intentioned.  That said, we also believe that, at best, he has a very sophomoric approach to professional relationships with high level public officials and corporate executives.

You don't ask sophisticated companies or elected officials to give you guarantees on matters that are best assured by simple, honest, effective communications and negotiated agreements.

Walker has established himself as a person who lacks the personal self confidence to communicate professionally and successfully with either Legislative or Corporate leaders.

Simply put, he is out of his league and Alaska will pay for his juvenile performance.

The two examples cited above demonstrate that Alaska certainly does not have a governor who is "crazy like a fox," nor has it been shown that his actions are free of paranoid motivations.

As we have often said, we wish Alaska's new governor well but now believe his unjustified sense of self pride may be a major factor in his desire to be a successful state governor.


“If sanctions on Iran are lifted, Tehran will be able to make money by selling their oil to our friends and may use that money to destabilize our allies,” Murkowski said. “If we lift the current sanctions on Iran while keeping in place our own domestic sanctions on crude oil exports, America’s ability to increase its domestic energy security and that of our allies will suffer.”

Click to view video

Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that sanction relief could result in as much as 1 million barrels a day of Iranian oil flooding the global market. Meanwhile, most U.S. oil production is blocked from competing on the world market by regulations leftover from the 1970s.

Murkowski, chairman of the energy committee, stressed the strategic benefits to the United States of rising domestic oil production, including providing flexibility in dealing with trouble spots such as Iran. “It doesn’t make sense that American producers are blocked by U.S. law from selling to the same markets that Iran could reach once the sanctions are lifted,” Murkowski said. 

“It is important for us to recognize that if these sanctions on Iran are lifted and we in fact keep our own domestic sanctions in place it effectively ends up being a liability for us,” Murkowski said. “U.S. producers should be allowed to compete directly with Iran in the global market.”

Click to view video

EIA Administrator Sieminski said rising U.S. oil production – currently at 9.2 million barrels a day, its highest level since 1972 – has helped stabilize world markets and keep prices in check.

“The impact of U.S. production goes beyond just the Iranian sanctions issue,” Sieminski said. “Back in 2012 and 2013, there were some really serious interruptions in oil production in countries like Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and others. They add up to a huge amount of oil – over 2 million barrels a day, at one point approaching 3 million barrels a day. If it hadn’t been for the growth in shale production in the U.S. and production in a few other countries, including Canada, the price of oil would have been a lot higher. Obviously that would have been a benefit to producers but the overall impact on the economy could have been pretty devastating. The growth in production in the U.S. played an important role in stabilizing the global oil markets.”

Murkowski has long called for modernizing U.S. energy and trade policy to end the ban on crude oil exports. In March, she held a hearing looking at the economic and strategic benefits of ending the outdated export prohibition. Murkowski released a report last year on the need to liberalize America’s energy trade policies.

Chairman Murkowski opening statement is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website. The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook is available here.

The end of week Consumer Energy Alliance energy links:

The Wall Street JournalObama Administration Proposes New Offshore Drilling Rules
The Obama administration on Monday proposed new offshore oil and natural-gas drilling regulations aimed at preventing the kind of explosion that erupted nearly five years ago on BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon rig, including provisions the industry has already adopted.
The Wall Street Journal: The Dirty Secret of Obama’s Carbon Plan
Americans don’t give much thought to whether their electricity will be there when they need it. You flip a switch, the lights go on. Your phone charges up. The medical equipment in the emergency room does its job. Yet electric reliability, long a bedrock of this country’s prosperity and high standard of living, does not come as easily as its steady presence might suggest.
CNBCWhat shuttering coal plants means for energy jobs
With new environmental rules looming this week, coal-driven power plants are closing all over the United States, and jobs are going with them. Utilities have been shuttering plants almost since regulatory changes were announced back in December 2011, but the number of closures has spiked recently, and several more plants are scheduled to close in the next few years.
ReutersU.S. shale oil output to fall in May, first drop in 4 years
Oil production from the fastest-growing U.S. shale plays is set to fall some 45,000 barrels per day to 4.98 million bpd in May from April, the first monthly decline in over four years, projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Monday.
CNBCOPEC slams oil producers with 'go-it-alone' attitudes
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries published a stinging critique on Monday of oil-producing countries that had refused to follow its lead in holding back supply in an effort to boost prices.
The Washington PostWhat environmentalists get wrong when they use the California drought to attack fracking
With the continual worsening of California’s drought, an odd argument — in some ways as much meme as argument — has arisen. It’s the notion that in the context of the drought, it’s important to cut back on the water used in industrial hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” operations in the state.
The Dallas Morning NewsA new era for nuclear power?
For decades the U.S. nuclear power industry has stood at a virtual standstill, a victim of economics and fears over safety. But as President Barack Obama prepares to roll out new carbon emission regulations targeting the power industry, nuclear companies are hoping a new era is upon them.
MarketWatch: Natural-gas market is ready to rally
Winter demand for natural gas has ended, but the fuel’s prospects for a price rally are just beginning. The U.S. natural-gas market has seen enough supply over the past year to “greatly reduce” the large storage deficit that followed last year, but there has also been enough cold weather to keep storage levels slightly below the five-year average, Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi Futures, said in a weekly report issuedMonday.
The HillStates outpacing feds in safety regs for fracking
The Department of the Interior recently introduced a rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands to much fanfare. Stating the need to update 30-year-old regulations, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell characterized Interior’s action as taking the lead and giving the states an example to follow.
The HillEPA blasts GOP’s bill to change climate rule
The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee joined the Environmental Protection Agency Monday in criticizing the House GOP’s efforts to weaken the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.
GallupAmericans Choose the Environment over Energy Development
About half of Americans (49%) say that protection of environment should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies, virtually unchanged from their sentiment last year. Fewer than four in 10 (39%) prioritize the development of U.S. energy supplies even if the environment suffers to some extent.
E&E PublishingBoth sides ready arguments for case that could scotch EPA power plant rule
Energy companies and 15 predominantly Republican-led states will press federal judges this week to halt President Obama's greenhouse gas standards for power plants.
ForbesUpstart Siluria Technologies Turns Shale Gas into Plastics and Gasoline
San Francisco-based startup Siluria Technologies has attracted $120 million in venture capital from the likes of Saudi Aramco on the promise that it has discovered a Holy Grail of the petrochemicals industry. Last month Siluria unveiled its new plant tucked in among dozens of giant petrochemical complexes on the Houston Ship Channel.
FuelFixOil firms may have to cut deeper than $126B, report says
The next round of oil-company earnings might show investors just how much firms still need to cut, even after executives stripped $126 billion from annual spending plans this year, a new report says.
FuelFixAs costs fall, companies may start completing wells again
Oil companies keeping thousands of barrels of crude off the market by drilling but not completing wells may soon start flooding the market again.
The HillTribes say no to Keystone
Native Americans are pressuring the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, warning the project could infringe on their water rights, harm sacred land and violate America’s treaty obligations. Tribes sent more than 100 pages of letters to the Interior Department earlier this year raising concerns about the project, which would carry oil sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Billings GazetteSafety is TransCanada's top pipeline priority
I am writing on behalf of TransCanada to address concerns over the Keystone XL pipeline plans raised in an article appearing on your website on April 5 titled "After two Montana breaks, scrutiny builds over federal pipeline regs". TransCanada has worked with PHMSA in planning Keystone XL, and has voluntarily agreed to 59 new safety procedures. Among these, river crossing precautions have been paramount.
Associated PressTexas House set to vote on bill banning local fracking bans
The Texas Legislature is poised to take a major step toward wiping out a highly-publicized local ban on hydraulic fracturing approved by a college town near Dallas — and ensuring that other communities don't follow suit.
Durango HeraldFrackers average at least two violations a day
Fracking companies average more than 2½ violations a day, according to a study of just a small portion of the public record. The Natural Resources Defense Council studied online reports for Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia covering five years.
Akron Beakon JournalMedina County group pushing community rights charter vote
A Medina County grass-roots group is launching a drive to adopt a new county charter with a community rights that might be used to block a planned natural gas pipeline.
The Wheeling Intelligencer‘Nuisance Oil’ Term in Contract Annoys Belmont County Landowner
Curtis Wallner is not sure what "nuisance oil" extracted via fracking is. Neither is a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which oversees mineral extraction in the Buckeye State.
Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewGovernor Wolf appoints business recruiter to advise on energy and manufacturing
Gov. Tom Wolf has tapped Democrat and lawyer-lobbyist David Sweet to fill a new advisory position the governor says he established to stimulate growth and competition in Pennsylvania's energy and manufacturing industries.
The Bradford EraTrailblazing classes: Shale gas emergency training held in Smethport
History was made over the weekend in training classes at the Tri-County Fire School Inc. in Smethport. The two-day, 16-hour class, “Firefighting at Shale Gas Emergencies,” was conducted for the first time in Pennsylvania, noted Jack Fowler, president of the school, which this year marks its 50th anniversary of providing fire training to area volunteer and industrial firefighters.
Huntington NewsFracking Waste Chemicals Allegedly Found in WV Near Drinking Water Inputs
Dr Gupta, this open letter is to ask for your participation in the upcoming public hearing held by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the permitting of two Lochgelly horizontal hydrofracturing (frack) waste injection wells that have been operating out of compliance, and unpermitted, for over a year, and to apprise you of the surrounding issue.
News & RecordProposed bill puts limit on fracking
A Piedmont Triad legislator has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent.
Maine Public BroadcastingMaine Governor Wants Nuclear Power Back on Energy Table
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has submitted legislation that would make it easier to site a small nuclear plant in Maine. The administration says it's time to update the law that governs siting of nuclear plants in the state.
Capital New YorkFracking protesters turn attention to Port Ambrose project
New York State's successful anti-fracking movement has found a new cause: Port Ambrose. The planned liquefied natural gas facility, to be built 19 miles off the coast of Long Island, has already generated vocal opposition from activists, residents and elected officials at rallies, hearings and in official correspondence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                            No. 15-036

Contact: Grace Jang, Press Secretary – (907) 465-3976
Katie Marquette, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 465-5801


Governor Walker Secures Promise from Legislative Leadership on Confirmation Votes

April 17, 2015 JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker today revoked his proclamation to convene the House and Senate into a joint session today at 10 a.m. to vote on his appointments.

“I just wrapped up a meeting with House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Kevin Meyer,” Governor Walker said. “They gave me their word that each of the 89 appointments would be given an up or down vote on Sunday. I trust them.”

Governor Walker said revoking the proclamation is an important step toward a positive relationship with legislative leadership.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             No. 15-37

Contact: Grace Jang, Press Secretary – (907) 465-3976
Katie Marquette, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 465-5801


Governor Walker Vetoes Bill That Ties Alaska’s Hands During Pipeline Negotiations

April 17, 2015 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker today vetoed HB 132, making good on a March 2 promise when the bill was introduced.

“This veto in no way means the end of discussions with legislative leadership,” Governor Walker said. “We continue to have multiple meetings to ensure AKLNG is successful and remains the priority while maintaining access to a backup option.”

HB 132 limits the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) from actively working on any gas line project other than the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (AKLNG) line. The State of Alaska is a partner in AKLNG along with TransCanada, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP.

“We cannot have legislation that ties Alaska’s hands while we are trying to negotiate the best possible gas line deal for Alaskans,” Governor Walker said. “This bill prevents the state from having an adequate backup plan should the AKLNG efforts not proceed.”

Governor Walker also continues to meet with AKLNG partners to advance this project.  Governor Walker has said multiple times AKLNG remains his administration’s priority and having a backup option with the ASAP line will not interfere with the AKLNG project.

(Attached: Veto letters to House Speaker & Senate President; Governor’s veto signature)




14 April 2015 2:15am

LEGISLATIVE NEWS RELEASE: New Bills Seek Savings for Electricity Along Railbelt

SB105 and HB187 would create the Railbelt Electric Transmission Authority


Update on the Alaska LNG Project- Anchorage Make it Monday Forum

Posted: 13 Apr 2015 04:16 PM PDT

The companies working on the Alaska LNG project are working hard to keep the project rolling through the next stage. In the summer of 2015, there will be continuing fieldwork as the project prepares for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will conduct one EIS for the project that will be accessible to all federal agencies. A 550-800 acre land acquisition is in the works to provide space for the liquefaction plant and marine terminal in Nikiski. The US Coast Guard is also working on the Cook Inlet Waterway Suitability Assessment that will be needed for the project to proceed. Community meetings are continuing at all levels of the project. FERC has opened a 9-month scoping period for the public to bring forward their concerns and questions about the project.

The Legislature and the Governor are locked in a battle over Alaska’s future for LNG. Governor Walker wants the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) to move forward on a project with a higher volume pipe, as an alternative to the AK LNG project. He states that it is good to have alternatives to make sure LNG is viable in Alaska. The Legislature wants to pursue only the AK LNG project and feels that splitting focus will create market confusion and instability in the Alaska oil and gas industry. Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Make it Monday Forum Presenter Larry Persily noted that he felt that AGDC was like a child in the middle of a highly contested divorce/custody battle. The internal battle between the Governor and the Legislature continues to cause frustration for many working on LNG in Alaska.

There are reasons that the AK LNG project could fall apart as well as reasons for optimism that it will continue and become a reality. The global demand for LNG could come up short, Alaska’s competitors could beat us on price, Russia could pull Asian markets to their product, and Alaska politics could get in the way of success for the project. However, there are still reasons to be optimistic moving forward. Alaska’s LNG has high BTU content, we have proven reserves with no exploration work needed, we are a proven supplier, and Alaska is the shortest distance to Asia from the other North American markets.

AK LNG will continue to move forward in their work and the Governor and the Legislature will continue their battle through the end of session next week and beyond. There will be many more discussions on this in the coming months and even years.

JUNEAU-Two bills have been introduced this week to help reduce electricity costs for a majority of Alaskans by creating the Railbelt Electrical Transmission Authority (RETA) to manage electrical transmission along the Railbelt.  The Railbelt is Alaska’s largest interconnected electric transmission area and home to the largest population centers: from Fairbanks in the north through the Mat-Su Borough, Anchorage, Seward and Homer in the south.  

The House Special Committee on Energy, co-chaired by Representatives Liz Vazquez, R-Anchorage, and Jim Colver, R-Palmer introduced House Bill 187 on Friday, while Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, introduced its companion bill, Senate Bill 105, in the Senate on Saturday.  

“Historically, we have had three generation and transmission (G&T) utilities along the Railbelt which had regional responsibility and voluntary compliance,” said Senator McGuire.  “Now we have five G&T utilities, each with their own regional challenges that cannot be resolved with the current structure.  We need to find a way to establish predictable, reliable and affordable economic dispatch across the Railbelt with open access policies for independent power producers.  There are tremendous savings possible for the consumer with a unified transmission system.” 

“Delivering affordable energy efficiently is absolutely crucial for Alaskan families and for our state’s economic development – and our Railbelt grid needs to be up to the task,” said Representative Liz Vazquez, R-Anchorage.  “As a former utility board member, I’ve seen this problem first-hand, and we’ve been working very hard this session to start developing a long-term solution. These bills are the first step in solving the problem and bringing affordable energy efficiently to the Railbelt.”

The legislation proposes the Railbelt Transmission Authority would be a division of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) which is currently the agency that oversees and regulates Alaska’s utilities.  Several similar concepts have been proposed by various utilities in recent years including the Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Electric Company (ARCTEC) and Transco (a Railbelt transmission company).  Though ownership structures differ in all three proposals each have similar goals: economic dispatch of electricity across the Railbelt, open and non-discriminatory access, regional planning of future transmission infrastructure and reduced end-user costs. 

“It is important to state that this bill is a starting point,” said Representative Colver. “We are starting a conversation that I hope results in a more efficient use of our power generation and transmission systems on the Railbelt.  Our goal is to lower the costs of energy to consumers.  I look forward to working with the RCA and engaging with all stakeholders.”

The sponsors of the legislation do not plan on advancing the bill during the current legislative session, but plan to hold meetings over the interim to further develop the plan in preparation for next January.

For more information, please contact Josh Walton in Representative Liz Vazquez’s office at 907-465-3892David Scott in Representative Colver’s office at 907-465-4859, or Jesse Logan in Senator McGuire’s office at 907-465-2995.


4-7-15 Gasline Confirmations Today

07 April 2015 3:46pm


Calgary Herald by Stephen Ewart.  Record oil production, increasingly complex energy transportation issues and unprecedented public engagement aren’t enough to prevent a nearly 25 per cent cut to the budget and large reduction in staff at the National Energy Board over the next two years.

News of the “operational realities” confronting the NEB — which will mean 73 fewer employees — emerged late last week with release of its 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities.

The reason for the drop-off in funding is easily explained.(More)

KTOO.  The Senate Finance Committee plans confirmation hearings for Gov. Bill Walker’s appointees to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board.

The hearings for Rick Halford, Joe Paskvan and Hugh Short are scheduled for Tuesday (Today).

They would replace three members removed by Walker earlier this year, including former pipeline and oil company executives.

Some lawmakers have raised questions .... (More)

Today's RELEVANT Consumer Energy Alliance energy links: 

Bill Martinez Live: Bill Martinez Show April 7, 2015 Michael Whatley (NGP Photo) Interview 
Michael Whatley, Consumer Energy Alliance, Bill Martinez Interview, Photo by Dave HarbourAssociated Press: Greenpeace activists board drill rig retained by Shell for Arctic offshore drilling
Six Greenpeace activists protesting Arctic offshore drilling on Monday boarded a drill rig as it was transported across the Pacific Ocean toward Seattle, where it will be staged for drilling on Shell leases in Alaska waters. The 400-foot Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean Ltd., was on board a heavy-lift vessel about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii when the activists approached in inflatable boats and used climbing gear to get on board, Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols said.
Real Clear Energy: Keystone XL Traded For Arctic Drilling Rights?
Few debates in energy have been more contentious than Keystone XL (KXL). Environmental groups opposed the pipeline and turned out a grass roots movement that astonished even battle weary Enviros. It also caused serious problems for the industry as their assets became stranded and they were forced to ship crude by rail and barge. It is estimated that this amounted to approximately $17B over the past few years in lost revenue due to public accountability campaigns. But it looks as though the Obama Administration and Big Oil merely traded KXL for Arctic drilling rights.
National Journal: Life After Keystone: The Future of the Climate Movement When the Pipeline Battle Ends
President Obama could reject or approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline any day, week or month now. And as a decision looms, environmentalists face a daunting question: Can they recreate the kind of mass appeal that Keystone inspires when the pipeline battle ends?
The New York Times: Laurence Tribe Fights Climate Case Against Star Pupil From Harvard, President Obama
Laurence H. Tribe, the highly regarded liberal scholar of constitutional law, still speaks of President Obama as a proud teacher would of a star student. “He was one of the most amazing research assistants I’ve ever had,” Mr. Tribe said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama worked for him at Harvard Law School, where Mr. Tribe has taught for four decades.
CBS News: Is oil and gas to blame for Okla. earthquakes?
Kim Hatfield, with the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, says the science to prove a definitive link simply isn't there. "Coincidence is not correlation," said Hatfield. "This area has been seismically active over eons and the fact that this is unprecedented in our experience doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't happened before."
The Independent: A disaster waiting to happen in Oklahoma?
Until very recently earthquakes were a rare occurrence in Oklahoma. Not any more. In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded just two earthquakes above 3.0 on the Richter Scale in Oklahoma. In 2014 it recorded 585, including 15 that measured over 4.0. The state is on target to break through 800 in 2015, taking California’s crown as the most active seismic state in the country.
Wall Street Journal: Fewer oil trains ply America’s rails
The growth in oil-train shipments fueled by the U.S. energy boom has stalled in recent months, dampened by safety problems and low crude prices.
Associated Press: Oil train cars need urgent upgrades
A spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute said the organization supports a "science-based" approach to safety that includes track maintenance and repairs in addition to any tank car upgrades.
Bloomberg: Safety Board Urges Aggressive Timetable to Replace Oil Tank Cars
U.S. railroad cars used to haul oil should be upgraded or replaced within five years with sturdier models better able to prevent explosions after derailments, federal safety investigators said in a proposal made public Monday.
Houston Chronicle: Oil's jolt means jingle for summer travelers
The global crude collapse that has jolted the oil industry will usher in the least expensive driving season in years, with pump prices expected to hover near $2 per gallon at some stations. Peak-season gasoline hasn’t been that low since 2009 during the economic downturn.
Statesman Journal: Oregon debates HF moratorium
A legislative committee will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill that would put a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production in the state. Proponents tout the economic benefits brought to communities with wells and the energy independence they afford.
The Motley Fool: The Biggest Threat Facing Offshore Drillers Keeps Getting Worse
Few industries have been so negatively affected by the oil crash as offshore drillers. In the past I've attempted to find drillers whose contract backlogs were relatively insulated from the downturn. To this effect I recommended SeaDrill Partners, because just 20% of its rigs had contracts expiring through 2016. Now however, news of contract cancellations from BP mean that the risk of contract cancellations -- which I believe to be the biggest risk to the industry -- is rising and in a most alarming way. Find out why and what it might mean for your portfolio.
The Hill: Hope for bipartisan action on energy
Hold onto your hats, there just may be bipartisan legislation on the horizon. And who would have guessed that after the hyper-partisan Keystone XL showdown, the topic to come together on would be of all things, energy? First, in the wee hours of March 27, after the contentious budget resolution was passed at 3 a.m., Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) appeared on a nearly empty Senate floor and quietly passed a stripped down version of their energy efficiency bill with a unanimous vote of two.
Fuel Fix: U.S. refiners can bulk up to consume more domestic oil
The United States can boost its consumption of the light oil increasingly flowing out of domestic wells today, a new government report finds, even as it warns that potential changes to the nation’s longstanding ban on raw crude exports risk undermining those investments.
Fuel Fix: Tensions ignite on East Coast as White House weighs Atlantic drilling
The prospect of a new generation of Atlantic drilling is stirring a heated debate up and down the East Coast, as fierce opponents warn that offshore oil development could jeopardize marine life and tourism-based economies. Oil industry leaders, meanwhile, are touting the potential jobs and economic gains that could flow along with crude from wells drilled at least 50 miles off the shores of Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. They envision a new frontier of Atlantic production that could emerge as a profitable replacement to shale oil extraction or continued pumping from the heavily tapped Gulf of Mexico.
Huffington Post: Illinois poll shows strong opposition to HF
Nearly half of Illinois voters oppose fracking, according to a new poll by the Simon Institute. The statewide poll reveals 48.6 percent oppose fracking while only 31.8 percent believe it should be encouraged, even if there are economic benefits. Opponents outnumber supporters in all regions of the state, including downstate where fracking is promoted as a jobs plan.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Gas tax can’t ignore prices
It's Wolf's misfortune to be attempting to address this failure in the midst of a gas glut. Given that the regional natural-gas price has plummeted by more than half over the past year, legislators and others have rightly questioned whether the governor's projected $1 billion a year in revenue from the levy is realistic.
Lancaster Online: Restoring aging county-owned bridges tied to impact fee
The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates. The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.
Power Source: EPA analysis details water usage in HF
The EPA’s report shows that many drillers in Pennsylvania and Ohio are reusing water more often than their counterparts in the West. More than 70 percent of disclosures that identified water sources in Ohio and Pennsylvania identified some amount of reused and associated types of water in base fluids.
The Post and Courier: Seismic testing permits go to public hearing
Nine companies so far want to use seismic guns to search for oil and natural gas off the South Carolina coast. The federal permits for them are up for public hearingWednesday. The hearing comes amid a swell of opposition that has been mounting since federal regulators last year gave a preliminary nod to the permits, opening an evaluation period by federal and state agencies.
Baltimore Sun: HF moratorium passes senate
By a 45-2 vote, senators sent the measure to the House, which has passed a version of the bill that environmental advocates believe is stronger. The House bill calls for a three-year moratorium and further study of the health and economic development impact of the practice. The Senate bill does not require a study.
Associated Press: ‘Fight Club’ actor speaks out against HF
In films, he’s played poker with Matt Damon and fought with Brad Pitt. Now actor Edward Norton is lending his voice to the anti-fracking campaign in Maryland.
San Antonio Business Journal: Series of earthquakes shakes Permian Basin in recent weeks
A series of three earthquakes hit the Permian Basin along the oil and natural gas-rich lands along the Pecos and Reeves county lines over the past two weeks, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Santa Fe New Mexican: NM oil production holds steady
Newly released numbers indicate that the pace of oil production in New Mexico did not slow in January. According to figures from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, oil-and-gas companies doing business in the state in January reported a production level of almost 13.6 million barrels of oil.
CBC News: HF criticism spreads, even in Alberta and Texas
The Alberta Energy Regulator, which is responsible for enforcing industry policies, rejects claims that fracking affects human or animal health. The AER says hydraulic fracturing, in use in Alberta since the 1950s, is one of several well-established methods of recovering oil and gas.


4-3-15 Gas Line Collision

03 April 2015 8:09am

AJOC by Tim Bradner  With about two weeks left on the clock, the 2015 session of the Legislature seems set to end with a big bang. A collision is shaping up between legislators and Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo) over the governor’s vision of a large state-led gas pipeline.

Notes from the road: We have little time to write while traveling (Today in L.A. on the way to Anchorage).  We do note that as the Alaska legislative session comes to an end our greatest concerns are:

  • Administration interference with Ak-LNG project by even talking about government involvement in a competing project; and
  • Administration support for a poorly thought out, government sponsored Interior Energy Project; and
  • Administration not using bully pulpit to support adequate spending cuts (i.e. the State Chamber calls them 'cosmetic') to create a sustainable government going forward...along with legislative proclivity to not cut spending due to last day 'trading' of special interest projects; and
  • Legislative initiative to create requirements for Regulatory Commission of Alaska to approve expensive, non-economically feasible alternative energy projects, subsidized by utility ratepayers (HB 78); and
  • In wake of low oil prices, lack of will to cut government spending, hostility of governor toward industry/legislature/Ak-LNG project, we anticipate the Governor working with certain constituencies to increase oil taxes within the next year or two.  Hoping this to be incorrect but fearing it isn't, we could foresee an "economic death spiral" wherein lack of spending discipline begets higher oil taxes, which begets lower oil industry capital spending, begetting lower production, which begets even lower state revenue, resulting in higher oil taxes, and so forth.  
  • Faced with such challenges, we believe Alaska's bright future can only unfold with leaders possessing wisdom, a spiritual connection with our creator and a commitment to become honest, effective communicators.


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