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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available 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 suggest others existing before 2001.

 

Interstate Gas

9-11-4

19 September 2014 4:47am

FERC Approves Alaska LNG Project Prefiling request, Sean Parnell, Governr, Alaska, Dave Harbour PhotoFERC Approves Alaska LNG Project Pre-filing Request.  

Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) said yesterday. "Alaska is well-positioned to bring gas to Alaskans and markets beyond."

See Pipelines International Report.  -dh

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Bill Walker, Alaska, Governor, Candidate, LNG Project, Valdez, lawyer, Dave Harbour Photo

We consider this Alaska Journal of Commerce piece by Tim Bradner to be the most enlightening analysis to date of the Alaska LNG Project perspectives of Governor Sean Parnell and his challenger, Valdez lawyer Bill Walker (NGP Photo).  -dh


Calgary Herald by James Wood.  Alberta’s new point man in Washington believes the tide is turning in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline and he plans to be direct — but polite — in pushing the stalled project.

James Prentice, Premier, Alberta, Keystone, Rob Merrifield, Dave Harbour PhotoRob Merrifield, named this week by Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) to serve as the province’s representative to the United States, said in an interview that upcoming mid-term Congressional elections could be “pivotal” for the proposed $5.4-billion TransCanada Pipelines’ project aimed at connecting Alberta’s oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

President Barack Obama has delayed making a decision on the pipeline but Merrifield said Thursday the Senate is only three votes short on a vote on Keystone.


CBC.  Barack Obama's Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, was in Ottawa for talks Thursday and signed a memorandum of understanding with Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford on 11 areas of bilateral energy co-operation.

At a joint news conference, both were asked whether Ukraine could soon import oil and gas from North America to help reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

"We're taking steps to diversify our markets," Rickford said, reiterating the Harper government's strategy of trying to find new export opportunities in response to a declining demand in the U.S. for Canadian oil as it builds its own indigenous supplies.

"We're looking for our rightful place in a fair global pricing of oil," Rickford said. "I think that's obvious and plain and clear."

When Moniz was asked whether his department had been asked to examine the viability of oil exports from Texas to Europe, all he would say is that "we provide technical assistance when we can to our administration colleagues."

In the short term, the U.S. does not have a surplus of domestic oil available to export to Ukraine. But, he hinted, that could change. 

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9-17-14 Comment Now On EPA Overreach In Alaska. Deadline Friday!

17 September 2014 4:36am

Comment Before Friday On 1) EPA's Overreaching Jurisdiction, 2) Erosion Of America's Rule Of Law, And 3) Attack On Our Constitutional Right Of Due Process.  All Americans In General And Particularly Every Alaskan Are Entitled To Be Outraged!  Reference: Our many editorials on this issue, including this one, and this.  Is This The Country The Founders And So Many Generations Have Loved, Then Defended With "...Our Lives, Our Fortunes And Our Sacred Honor?"  -dh


Deantha Crockett, Alaska Miners Association, Pebble, Watershed, Bristol Bay, Gold, EPA, Overreach, rule of law, Photo by Dave HarbourFrom Deantha Crockett (NGP Photo), Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association, comes this action request which we heartily endorse:

Friday, September 19 is the deadline to comment on the EPA's Proposed Determination Pursuant to Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act on the Pebble Deposit Area.  The agency’s intention is to preemptively place restrictions on development of a mine at Pebble, however, they are effectively a veto of a mine at Pebble. 

Other:

Jim Prentice, Alberta Premier, Pipeline, Priority, Cabinet Changes, Dave Harbour PhotoWe know Alberta's new Premier, Jim Prentice (NGP Photo), to be one of North America's great leaders.  This week, he makes pipeline projects a top priority -- and shuffles his cabinet accordingly.  See Stephen Ewart's Calgary Herald story.  -dh


Sean Parnell, Alaska Governor, Bill Walker Reckless, Gas Pipeline, Dave Harbour PhotoADN Op-Ed.  Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) says Opponent's Gasline Criticism Is Reckless.


BOEM's John Callahan tells us that Shell's draft 2015 Revised Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan will be posted here.  -dh

Points to consider in your testimony and comments:

  • A preemptive decision, prior to permit or project application and completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, is unacceptable, whether it be approval or denial of any project in any industry.
  • The proposed determination ignores existing processes, undermining existing agency responsibilities on both the state and federal level.  Further, the EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Water Act to preemptively block  development
  • Any potential 404(c) actions against the Pebble Project are premature.  The project has not yet been finalized and no permit applications – including detailed plans and environmental mitigation strategies – have been submitted to government agencies, nor has the NEPA process been initiated.  As a result, the current assessment and any preemptive action would deprive government agencies and stakeholders of the specific information, science, and rigorous reviews that would come out of the multi-­‐year NEPA process.
  • Every project, no matter the size or location, should have an opportunity to be reviewed under existing legal processes.  In the case of mining, there are more than 60 major permits and hundreds more from local, state, and federal agencies that must be successfully obtained.  If the process determines a project as designed cannot protect the environment and other resources, it will not advance.  The process will not permit one industry or resource to advance at the expense of another.
  • Any 404(c) action outside the existing permitting process would be an extreme case of federal overreach and an assault on Alaska sovereignty.  The Pebble mineral deposit is not located on federal land, nor inside a refuge or park.  It is located on state land designated for mineral exploration.  The State of Alaska depends on the responsible development of natural resources on its lands to diversify and support its economy.
  • Until an application is filed describing the project in detail and an Environmental Impact Statement is completed, the EPA is prematurely determining adverse impacts based on hypothetical assessments and inapplicable modeling.
  • The proposed determination and potential actions would undermine existing regulatory processes and set a dangerous precedent for future projects.  If the EPA preemptively stops projects before they enter the permitting process, any large project could be at risk.  Preemptive action by the EPA could become a new tool opponents use to stop projects, or at a minimum, introduce significant uncertainty and delay, chilling Alaska's business climate.
Ways to comment:
 

1) Submit Online:

Reference Docket ID No. EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505: http://www.regulations.gov

2) Send an email to: ow-docket@epa.gov, include Docket #EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505 in the subject line. 

3) Mail three copies to:           

Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency       

Mail Code 2822T

Attn.: Docket ID No. EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20460

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Alaska Gas Project Moves Foreward

12 September 2014 5:04pm

Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner.  Step by step, the Alaska LNG Project is moving forward. The project made a big advance Sept. 5 with its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin a pre-filing process for the project. 

Earlier this summer an application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy for a license to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG. Pre-Front End Engineering and Design work, or pre-FEED, which will cost about half a billion dollars, also got underway this summer.

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9-8-14 - ALASKA-JAPAN Memorandum Of Cooperation Is A Giant Step Forward For LNG Project

08 September 2014 2:55am

Alaska governor, Sean Parnell, Alaska LNG, LNG Export, METI, Japan, Memorandum of Cooperation, FERC, Photo by Dave HarbourAlaska Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) reacts to FERC progress toward Alaska LNG export project and TODAY'S Japan-Alaska Memorandum of Cooperation (i.e. two-year, renewable, non-binding understanding between governments ... Read full statement, with link to actual Memorandum).


Business News Network.  Are Canadian LNG Export Projects Facing An Uphill Battle With Competition?

(Reuters) - Japan's trade ministry and Alaska's Department of Natural Resources on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to help Japan procure low-cost and stable supplies of liquefied natural gas(LNG), a government official said.  (Other links: Platts, O&G Journal, US Energy Information Administration)

As Energy East application nears, communities weigh risks, benefits of pipeline
CALGARY - For the mayor of North Bay, Ont., it's all about protecting the city's ... Roughly two thirds of it would make use of underused natural gas pipe ...

NIKKEI JAPAN REVIEW -- Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will assist domestic businesses in importing natural gas produced in Alaska, hoping to secure a relatively low-priced fuel from a region not susceptible to geopolitical risks.

     Global energy producers, including Exxon Mobil and BP, are pursuing a natural gas project in northern Alaska, with a goal of starting production in 2023-24.

     The ministry will sign a memorandum of understanding with Alaska's energy authority on Monday to ensure Japanese electricity and gas utilities can obtain favorable terms, including prices and reselling rules, in importing output from the project.


TODAY'S NEWS LINKS FROM: Office of the Alaska Gas Pipeline Federal Inspector.

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9-4-14 Mining and Oil & Gas Have Much In Common: Sustaining Canadian & American Lifestyles

04 September 2014 6:01am

Mining.com.  Here, "Visual Capitalist" helps us to grasp the enormous breadth, depth and wealth of Canada's Oil Sands, which makes a conduit (or, pipeline conduits) through the United States and other Canadian provinces even more valuable to those areas due to associated jobs and property tax benefits.  

Citizens of both states and provinces should not be fooled by environmental activist tomfoolery which seeks to isolate and lock up that wealth for both current and future generations.  Demonizing and then snapping a ball and chain around the legs of reasonable natural resource development can only cripple job creation, economic opportunity and associated North American lifestyles for this and future generations.  

We are grateful to reader, Steve Borell for bringing this lucid analysis to our attention.  

Yesterday we urged readers to consider attending and supporting both mining and oil and gas conferences where policy decisions often originate and achieve decision-maker consensus.  The oil sands project is a perfect example of how mining and Oil & Gas share symmetry.  

Other examples include Alaska's Pebble Project challenges, which, if lost, will eviscerate America's 'rule of law and Constitutional due process guarantees', and empower the EPA through precedent to PRE-EMPTIVELY BLOCK any agricultural, commercial fishing, petroleum, mining, forestry, hydroelectric, federal highway or state bridge or municipal right of way project -- BEFORE THAT PROJECT HAS EVEN FILED A PERMIT APPLICATION OR PRESENTED A DEVELOPMENT PLAN.  -dh

Mining.com.  There’s no shortage of discussion on Canada’s oil sands. Even Leonardo Dicaprio has recently toured them while subsequently providing commentary that ruffled the feathers of the province of Alberta.

As a whole, the oil sands are about as big as the state of Florida. The mineable portion makes up about 3% of that total, which is for bitumen deposits less than 75 metres below ground. For perspective, this is about 6x the size of New York City. Meanwhile, the rest (about 97%) must be recovered by “in situ” methods such as SAGD where heavy oil is pumped to the surface.

Surely something with this size and scope must have a big impact in other places – and it does. The oil sands produce more than 56% of Canada’s oil and contains over 98% of Canada’s proven reserves. Over the next 25 years, $783 billion in royalties and taxes will be paid to the government.  (More....)


Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Clips:

The Lufkin News: Keystone XL pipeline a boon for tax rolls The Keystone XL pipeline will funnel more than black tar sands through Angelina County now that it’s on the 2014 tax rolls.
 
Omaha.com: Ruling on Keystone XL could come down to 2 key points The nearly six-year odyssey of the Keystone XL pipeline could turn this week in 30 minutes. The Nebraska Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Friday morning on a constitutional challenge involving one of the most bitterly fought environmental battles in a generation. President Barack Obama is awaiting a ruling from Nebraska before moving closer to deciding the fate of the massive oil pipeline.
 
Bloomberg: Keystone Redux Haunts Trans Mountain as Fight Shifts to Climate
The next fight over oil pipeline development in Canada is starting to look like Keystone XL version 2.0. This time the target is a $4.9 billion project by Houston billionaire Richard Kinder’s energy empire.
 
The Canadian Press: Leonardo DiCaprio visits Alberta oilsands to research documentary
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest celebrity to visit Alberta's oilsands. Sources involved with the visit say DiCaprio is doing research for an environmental documentary.
 
Inside Climate News: Keystone Ads Mislead on Canada's Deep Cuts to Environmental Monitoring
Canada has cut nearly $3 billion in spending and up to 5,000 jobs from its science-based departments, according to a union representing federal scientists.
 
KETV- Omaha: Gov. Heineman voices opinion on Keystone XL pipeline's slow process
Later this week the Nebraska Supreme Court will hear arguments about the Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
The Globe and Mail: TransCanada’s Energy East faces hurdle as U.S. oil boom swamps market
As TransCanada Corp. prepares to file for regulatory approval for its $12-billion cross-country pipeline project, booming U.S. oil imports are creating a new challenge: a domestic market saturated with low-cost crude.
 
The Guardian: As Shell gears up to drill the Arctic, investors must ask serious questions
The oil company has filed plans for offshore drilling but past safety blunders and operational failings in the region make it a high cost, high risk venture.
 
Huffington Post: No New Oil Drilling in Our Oceans
Labor Day represents the end of summer-- and nothing says summer quite like a trip to the beach. At the beginning of summer, my family spent a few wonderful days exploring the beaches lining a small South Carolina coastal town. Enjoying the catch of the day at a local crab shack, we gazed at a sign across the road at a grocery store that pleaded "Don't ruin our ocean with sonic cannons." As we talked to long -time residents, we were struck by the deep concern they have that drilling for oil offshore would kill this community's tradition of great seafood, clean beaches, and sea turtle nesting.
 
The Beaufort Gazette: SC policymakers push for offshore drilling despite environmental, tourism concerns
When Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling scans the horizon of his city, he doesn't see a place for oil rigs. He fears the impact offshore drilling operations could have on South Carolina's coastal tourism.
 
Bloomberg BNA: McConnell to Intensify Push to Roll Back EPA Regulations if Republicans Flip Senate
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will make it a top priority to derail Environmental Protection Agency regulatory efforts through the appropriations process if Republicans retake the Senate this fall, the senator and several former congressional aides say.
 
The Energy Collective: EPA's Clean Power Plan: Texas's Last Stand or Last Hope?
August has been an eventful month here in Texas. And, no, I’m not referring to news about Governor Rick Perry, rather some of his appointees. The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Railroad Commissioners (RRC) Barry Smitherman and Christy Craddick, and State Representative Jason Isaac held a joint session to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Clean Power Plan (CPP).
 
Reuters: From Seoul to Mexico City, pressure mounts to ease U.S. oil export ban
Washington is facing growing international pressure to ease its long standing ban on crude oil exports, with South Korea and Mexico joining the European Union in pressing the case for U.S. oil shipments overseas.
 
The New York Times: Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water
The small prefab office of Arthur & Orum, a well-drilling outfit hidden in the almond trees and grapevines south of Fresno, has become a magnet for scores of California farmers in desperate need of water to sustain their crops. Looking at binders of dozens of orders for yet-to-be-drilled wells, Steve Arthur, a manager, said, “We’ve got more stacked up than we’ll do before the end of the year.”
 
Reuters:  Why the shale revolution is not about to end
Doubts about the sustainability of the North American oil and gas boom center on rapidly declining output from many shale wells after they are initially drilled. Shale skeptics point to the need to drill an ever-increasing number of new holes just to replace the declining output from existing wells, let alone expand production. At some point it will become impossible to keep up, they argue.
 
The Hill: White House reviews federal-land HF rules
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has started to review new regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, the last step before the rules can be made final. The rules for the oil and gas drilling process, also known as fracking, were proposed last year after a mid-2012 proposal was pulled back.
 
Houston ChronicleWater resources a problem worldwide, report finds
The great conundrum of the drilling revolution unfolding in the United States and now being exported to other nations is that some of the countries with the biggest oil and gas resources also have the least amount of water to dedicate to extracting them. According to the analysis by the World Resources Institute, 38 percent of the earth’s shale gas and tight oil resources are in areas that are either arid or under high levels of water stress already _ a scenario that does not mesh with the high water demands of today’s extraction techniques.
 
Saint Louis Post Dispatch: 'Fracking' one step closer to breaking ground in Illinois
Friday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources officially released proposed rules to govern the controversial oil-extraction process. It now will be considered by a state legislative committee, which will decide within 90 days whether to go forward with the proposed rules—which have already garnered some 30,000 comments from the public.
 
The State Journal: Hydraulic fracturing could improve geothermal energy
A recent issue of The Economist had an article titled “Geothermal Energy, Hot Rocks, Why Geothermal Is the New Fracking.” The month before, a New York Times article titled, “Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.”
 
Philadelphia Inquirer: Marcellus Shale gas boom sparks land disputes
The Marcellus Shale natural gas discovery has triggered an associated boom in Pennsylvania land disputes, as formerly valueless mineral rights are now potentially worth millions.
 
State JournalWV workforce lacks oil and gas expertise — for now.
“It is amazing to consider how rapidly production has risen in recent years: For instance, the 33 percent rise in production that occurred just between 2012 and 2013 is significantly higher than anyone would have expected a few years ago,” said John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University. “More generally, performance has been consistently outstripping expectations in recent years.
 
Longview News-Journal: Texas shale keeps gas prices affordable.
Whenever overseas turmoil has pushed energy prices higher in the past, John and Beth Hughes have curbed their driving by eating at home more and shopping locally. But the crises in Ukraine and Iraq did not stop the Hughes family from making the two-hour drive to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, have a chicken-fried steak lunch and buy fish for their tank before driving home to Corpus Christi.
 
Houston Chronicle: As more oil travels along rail, safety concerns come up.
Across the country, intense scrutiny has descended on rail transit of crude, a partnership that built the national energy system in the age of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil. As traffic has surged, a series of accidents, including a spectacular derailment that killed dozens of people last summer in Canada, has led to outcry from fire marshals and assurances from rail industry officials.

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9-2-14 Remember When The Alaska Gas Project Would Be 'Largest Construction Project'?

02 September 2014 6:51am

Remember When Alaska Considered 'Gas To Liquids'?
 

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

A main component of Sasol’s final regulatory hurdle has been cleared.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday approved Sasol wetlands modification permit, allowing the company to disrupt -- and later replace -- wetlands during construction.

Mike Hayes, Sasol’s public affairs manager for U.S. megaprojects, told the American Press on Friday that the permit will also allow Sasol to move ahead with the project's financing.

"This means we can start planning to ask management for our Final Investment Decision," Hayes said. "On the ground, we will be able to begin pre-construction activities, such as site cleaning. We will also start preparing for the construction of the dock from which will we offload our modules." 

US KHATYN, Russia, Sept 1 (Reuters), by Vladimir Soldatkin - President Vladimir Putin on Monday oversaw the start of construction on a giant pipeline that is due to ship $400 billion worth of Russian gas to China in the three decades after flows begin in 2019.

The 4,000 km (2,500 mile) "Power of Siberia" pipeline, being built by state-controlled Gazprom, forms a key part of the Kremlin's energy strategy, symbolising Russia's attempts to wean itself off dependence on European markets that account for most of its exports.

"Just now, we along with our Chinese friends are starting the biggest construction project in the world," Putin told a Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and a group of Gazprom workers in Russia's far east.

He said the first gas pipeline between Russia and China: "Will not only allow us to export gas, but to develop gas infrastructure.....  (More)

(Note:  We suspect there will be no permitting delays, no frivolous lawsuits, no enviro-extremist pickets and no regulatory gauntlets.  -dh)


AP, US News, by Johathan Fahey. Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.​


30 places available globally for the Downstream leaders of tomorrow

BP today started its 2015 Future Leaders Programme (FLP), a recruitment campaign which aims to fast-track early career recruits to be the business leaders of the future. The FLP is a highly selective global recruitment and development programme, run by BP for candidates around the world to work in its Refining & Marketing businesses and its Safety & Operational Risk and Information Technology & Services functions.

This year’s programme builds on the success of previous years’ campaigns and aims to attract 30 individuals of the highest calibre to benefit from a bespoke global development programme that lasts a minimum of three years. Participants will benefit from significant mentoring and access to senior BP executives, combined with a real business role and an overseas placement. As a minimum, applicants must have a postgraduate qualification, at least three years’ professional experience, a global outlook and the ambition and potential for senior leadership.

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