ADN by Alex DeMarban. Gov.-elect Bill Walker (NGP Photo) on Monday began the thorny task of meeting with officials from the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., an entity he targeted during his campaign as ripe for cuts, with its high salaries and the state's dueling gas pipeline projects.
Western Canadian pipelines may be looking better but they, Keystone XL and Energy East still have their challenges. -dh
Three proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas projects in northern B.C. have been awarded the environmental green light by the provincial government. The ministries of Environment and Natural Gas Development have now issued environmental assessment certificates for two pipelines and one export facility.
TODAY's Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Links:
New York Times: Its Grip on Oil Weakening, OPEC Will Meet on Prices
As oil prices continue to plummet, the once-dominant international cartel of producers is losing its sway over the global energy markets.
Reuters: U.S. House to hold hearing on oil export ban
A House of Representatives panel will hold a hearing on Dec. 11 to explore whether a decades-old law that prohibits the export of crude oil makes sense in an era of domestic energy abundance.
The Washington Times: Falling energy prices could cloud U.S. production boom: IEA
Falling global oil prices may be good for consumers, but pose new challenges for America’s producers, according to a new global energy survey issued this week by the International Energy Agency.
Oil & Gas Journal: EPA air proposals should recognize progress, API official says
The US Environmental Protection Agency should recognize progress that is continuing before it considers imposing costly new air quality requirements, an American Petroleum Institute official suggested.
The Wall Street Journal: What’s Wrong With Oil Transport by Rail
I recently sat down to dinner with a group of high-level agricultural sector leaders in Minnesota. Again and again, the conversation turned to an issue that’s at the forefront of these business leaders’ minds: the fact that railcars carrying crude oil are displacing cars carrying agricultural goods, resulting in massive delays in shipments of hundreds of pounds of food.
Pittsburgh Business Times: Shale wells become leading source of natural gas
Shale gas wells accounted for more natural gas production than any other type of well in 2013, marking the first year that has happened, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Washington Post: O’Malley report confirms that HF can be done “safely”
Outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley says he is ready to allow drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland, but only if energy companies adhere to some of the most restrictive public health and environmental safeguards in the country.
Houston Chronicle: Oil price slump to force spending cuts, Moody’s says
As crude continues to slump with no end in sight, Moody’s Investors Services predicted that oil companies will slash their capital budgets 20 percent next year and possibly more if weak prices persist.
New York Times: A Potent, Overlooked Greenhouse Gas
Although methane emissions are also produced by landfills and agricultural operations, the easiest to control are the methane leaks that occur in the drilling and transmission of natural gas and, to a lesser extent, oil. These emissions are expected to rise substantially as industry continues to exploit old and new natural gas deposits through the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
Politico Pro Morning Energy: Industry Group Seeks To Toss Fourth Colorado Shale Ban
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association is going after the last voter-approved fracking ban that passed in the last few years, asking a state judge on Monday to invalidate a ban blocking fracking in Broomfield, a Denver suburb home to about 59,000.
Daily Camera: Boulder commissioners extend moratorium
Boulder County commissioners have officially extended the county's temporary moratorium on accepting new oil and gas development applications until July 1, 2018.On Tuesday morning, Commissioners Deb Gardner and Elise Jones adopted a resolution that follows the 3 ½ -year moratorium-continuation decision they and Commissioner Cindy Domenico made on Nov. 13.
State Journal-Register: State begins accepting shale applications
Companies can begin filing for hydraulic fracturing permits in Illinois, though it remains uncertain how soon the hotly debated oil and gas production technique might begin. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has posted permit applications online, spokesman Chris Young said Tuesday. Companies must register with the department 30 days prior to submitting the application.
Bismarck Tribune: State officials denounce New York Times report
State officials Tuesday denounced a months-long investigative report conducted by the New York Times that ran last weekend as being an inaccurate portrayal of how state has regulated the oil and gas industry in recent years.
NPR: Most natural gas now comes from shale
Most of the natural gas in the United States now comes from shale gas wells, according to information released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Seven years ago, shale made up just 8 percent of the overall gas production for the United States, but last year it accounted for 79 percent of production.
The Journal: Is the shale boom in Virginia in for a bust?
There is no business quite as boom and bust as the oil and gas industry. A trend develops, high prices seem to be the wave of the future, massive investments are made, and then oops, things change and for a little while at least it’s a bust. This has happened so many times that it’s possible to lose count.
Houston Chronicle: Lone Star College building 'rig' to train workers
On 18-acres of an old oilfield near Tomball, construction workers will soon begin to build a new rig, but they're not trying to strike oil. Instead, the steel tower and platforms will be the newest classroom of sorts of the Lone Star College system's oil- and gas- drilling training program, providing a hands-on experience for would-be roustabouts to hone their skills in darkness, rain and heat.
Texas Tribune: College Voters to Blame for Denton Ban
Did college students tilt the outcome of Denton’s vote to ban hydraulic fracturing? That question has stirred debate since the city – home to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University – became the first in Texas to ban the oilfield technique that sparked a drilling boom and spawned tension in some urban areas.
Dallas Morning News: Signs emerge that Texas oil boom could be slowing
The drilling boom that has resurrected Texas’ oil industry is showing signs of slowing down. In West Texas, where a new generation of wildcatters has turned Midland into a boomtown again, drillers are starting to pull back from marginal areas where prospects are less certain.
SNL: Lacking production, Mexico to be dependent on US gas for years, ex-official says
According to a former Mexican government official, the refusal of the state-run PEMEX Gas y Petroquímica to invest in natural gas drilling will make the country dependent on gas imports from the U.S. for a considerable time.
US Thanksgiving 2014: Americans Thankful For Plenty Should Be Thankful To Their Creator and Their Devout Predecessors! After reviewing thanksgiving devotions of America's presidents (Below) -- and considering today's challengs -- can we afford to be less devout? -dh
2. Abraham Lincoln's First Thanksgiving Day Proclamation This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of ... George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving....
Reader Steve Borell provides this link: Germany overreacted by diminishing nuclear power in wake of the Fukushima disaster--and now is desperate for more coal fired power! -dh
Calgary Herald by James Wood. Alberta Premier Jim Prentice sees opportunity trumping obstacles. -dh
Today's Consumer energy Alliance energy links.
Pebble Partnership's short term judicial victory; but the jury is still out on the long term result of EPA coordinating with environmental activists to pre - emptively block development projects in violation of Constitutional, due process rights. -dh
Resource Development Council (RDC) Conference Part I, II
by Katie Bender (NGP Photo), Alaskanomics
The Resource Development Council hosted the 35th Annual Alaska Resource Conference last week. ... Alaskanomics ... highlight(s) the presentations from the conference.
The two-day event allows the resource industry to gather and look back at the past year, while planning for the coming year. There were many things to celebrate at this year’s conference, but participants and speakers were decidedly cautious about the State’s fiscal future.
As is the tradition, the conference started out with an outlook for the coming year by Alaska Department of Labor Economist, Neal Fried. With the exception of 2009, the Alaska economy has been growing for the past 25 years. The growth has not always been by leaps and bounds, but it has been moving in the right direction. In 2014, it is predicted that there will only be about 900 new jobs in Alaska, which is only 0.6 percent. This is not as strong as many would hope and there will be a breakdown of the employment categories in January when the annual wrap up is published. Fried continued with brief updates of the various resource industries.
- Timber has had very little change and is down with record lows
- Mining is largely unchanged as well and has slowed and growth has flattened out
- Fishing grew in both processing and harvesting this past year
- Oil keeps hitting new highs, North Slope employment has doubled in the past decade
- The Visitor Industry is up for the third year in a row
Alaska earnings have grown since a dip in the late 1990s and we currently have the second highest household income behind Maryland. The population grew in the past year, but the growth is starting to slow down.
Kara Moriarty of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association gave the update for the oil and gas industry. She shared the usual numbers that more than one third of all Alaska jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry and for every one industry job, 20 other jobs are generated through industry spending. The oil industry paid $6.9 billion in taxes and royalties and luckily the current tax policy generates more revenue at low prices than the old regime. This is very good since the price of oil has dipped below $80 a barrel. There has been a lot of new development on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet. Moriarty finished with the reminder that while we cannot control the price of oil or Alaska’s high cost environment, we could all be “Resource Proud”.
Stephanie Madsen of the At-Sea Processors Association shared that the fishing industry continues to grow and is currently the number one private sector employer in the state. The value of Alaska’s fisheries fluctuates because of the global market. The industry continues to be challenged by environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) calling for protected areas. Madsen continued by noting that Alaskan fisheries historically have been managed conservatively and are continually adapting to the varying definitions of sustainable.
Keith Coulter with Koncor Forest Projects gave the update for the timber industry, which by far has seen the largest decline of other resource industries. He noted that both fishing and forestry are sustainable and renewable and are not mutually exclusive. Rural communities that have lost timber are having a hard time replacing the jobs and income that were seen with the timber industry. Coulter shared that he felt that Federal Forests should be managed in the same way that private forests are and Alaska should resist efforts to adopt federal forest practices. He warned that changes to the Alaska forest practice should be informed by contemporary science. Coulter also urged the need for reform of federal overreach in the Tongass and elsewhere through fewer environmental regulations and restrictions.
Karen Matthias with the Council of Alaska Producers gave the update for the mining industry. She was proud to share that both Red Dog and Greens Creek Mines were celebrating their 25th anniversary of operation. She said the industry needed to do a better job at sharing success stories from around the state. An example is that Usibelli Mine has been in operation for more than 70 years and is mining responsibly. There are more than 5000 direct mining jobs in Alaska with an average annual wage of $100,000. Donlin Gold is in the permitting process and other mines could bring many new jobs to the state. Alaska is number one in the world for pure mineral potential and holds incredible potential in the mining industry. It was no surprise to conference attendees that permitting is consistently the biggest challenge in mining and is a very slow process. The outlook is bleak right now, but the industry can redouble efforts to fight against those trying to block responsible development and educate the public on the positive impact of mining so that things might improve.
Gideon Garcia with CIRI Alaska Tourism wrapped up the year in review with the tourism industry update. This past year, Alaska saw 1.96 million visitors, who spent $3.9 billion. The tourism industry adds 46,000 jobs for Alaskans. The projections for the 2015 season look good. Cruise traffic is predicted to have a 2.8 percent increase and overall visitor traffic is expected to jump 2-3 percent in 2015.
The year in review and 2015 outlook is a staple to the RDC conference and while presenters were proud to share accomplishments within their individual industries, it was obvious that the challenges of federal overreach, commodity prices, and regulations weighed heavy in the room.
Alaskanomics will continue to highlight the conference with Investment in Action by Trond-Erik Johansen of ConocoPhillips Alaska and Investing in Alaska’s Future with Janet Weiss of BP Exploration (Alaska).
The first day of the RDC conference continued with discussions from the heads of ConocoPhillips Alaska and BP Alaska about their investment in the North Slope. Both companies have had a busy year and are continuing the trend of investment in Alaska.
Trond-Erik Johansen of ConocoPhillips kicked things off, assuring the crowd that there are many good things happening in Alaska. There have been some challenging debates over the past few years, but ConocoPhillips will continue to move forward and will stay the course of investing on the North Slope. ConocoPhillips is very focused on converting resources that are in the ground into real oil in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The 2014 capital budget was up 50 percent from 2013 and is double the 2008-2012 average. The CD5 project, that was announced prior to SB21, is on schedule and on budget ($1 billion). The first oil from the project is estimated to flow at the end of 2015 with peak production at an estimated 16,000 BOPD in 2016.
The Alaska projects that were announced since SB21 hit the books are also still on track. Two new rigs were added at Kuparuk and are producing an additional 8,000 BOPD per rig. Each rig also added an additional 100 direct jobs for the state. Kuparuk production has flattened with the additional rigs. There are new projects in the Western North Slope/Alpine area that will help slow the production decline. A new Kuparuk drill site 2S (Shark Tooth) has been approved for construction. Peak workforce during construction will be 250+ jobs in 2015. The project has a budget of $500 million. An additional 8,000 BOPD is predicted to start in late 2015. Greater Moose’s Tooth is in the permitting stage. If permits are received by February 2015, the project will add 30,000 BOPD in 2017. Johansen wrapped up his presentation with a note about the Cook Inlet Assets and Natural Gas Sales. It is the only LNG plant to export from the US. Exports only occur in the summer because the gas is needed in Alaska during the cold, winter months.
Janet Weiss of BP Alaska shared Johansen’s optimism for the future of Alaska’s North Slope. As of November 18, BP and Hilcorp closed the deal that transferred a portion of BP’s North Slope assets to Hilcorp. The transfer allows BP to focus on the major fields and to remain competitive at Prudhoe Bay. BP will add a rig in 2015 and another in 2016, which will increase activity by 40 percent. They will also add an additional 25 miles of pipeline to bring more oil to TAPS in 2017. BP will also expand their current pads at Prudhoe and add a new drilling pad in the near future.
BP continues to invest not only in production, but also in Alaskans and education. As a company, BP has invested $28 billion in education and workforce programs in Alaska. They will continue their focus on growing the resource space that includes the people of Alaska and not just the capital.
Both ConocoPhillips and BP were cautiously optimistic about being able to slow the production decline on the North Slope. They are both working to move projects forward. Production is still far from the levels of the past, but both leaders felt that Alaska was moving in the right direction and that there are still plenty of resources to develop.
Governor Parnell stopped by the conference for a brief thank you to the resource industry. He highlighted the growth that has been seen during his time in office. Southcentral Alaska has new economic possibilities, especially along the Kenai Peninsula. The Governor thanked everyone in attendance for their support and their work to create more economic opportunities and growth. He concluded by saying how thankful he was for the opportunity to serve Alaska and its citizens and looked forward to getting back to work as a regular citizen.
More RDC highlights will be posted throughout the week.
Calgary Herald by James Wood. Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) says he can do business with the Ontario and Quebec premiers even as they put in place potential new hurdles to pipeline development. On Friday, Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne and Quebec’s Philippe Couillard agreed to a joint response to projects such as TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East, saying that such pipelines have to be environmentally sound, enjoy local community and First Nations support and provide economic benefits to the two provinces. (Video Here)
Drilling forecast calls for 10% activity decline in 2015
By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald November 20, 2014 ... 10 per cent decline in drilling activity in 2015 due to delays in takeaway pipeline construction, ...
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) today applauded the Department of Energy’s authorization for Alaska’s proposed liquefied natural gas project (LNG) to export to countries with free trade agreements (FTA) with the United States.
The decision authorizes exports to South Korea and other nations FTA with the United States. A separate authorization is needed to ship LNG to non-FTA countries.
“This FTA license is good news for Alaska, but by law it had to be approved. The real test is the non-FTA license,” Murkowski said. “I am watching the process carefully to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in approving exports to Japan and other non-FTA countries. I have said from the beginning that DOE should continue to consider Alaska gas exports on their own separate track – as they always have.”
Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Ontario, Quebec discuss Energy East pipeline strategy
The bargaining chip that is the Keystone pipeline
The pipeline that would connect Alberta's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas and Louisiana fell ... It doesn't have an impact on U.S. gas prices.
Nisga'a Nation signs LNG pipeline benefits deal with BC
KTNA Radio: Listen to the Audio. The State of Alaska has made many attempts to build a gas pipeline. Currently, a lot of effort is being put into the Alaska LNG Project, a partnership between the state, the three largest oil producers, and Trans-Canada. The project recently held an open-house meeting in Trapper Creek.
Calgary Herald. TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) is plotting new pipelines that would tap into burgeoning U.S. shale oil deposits, a company executive told investors a day after efforts to speed up approval of its Keystone XL project failed in the U.S. Senate.
Paul Miller, the executive in charge of liquids pipelines, divulged few details of the nascent projects at the company's annual investor conference in Toronto.