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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


Notes From the Road

4-3-15 Gas Line Collision

03 April 2015 8:09am

Our Great Concerns With Walker's Policies

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 (Reference Bradner Commentary Above): 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.



11-18-14 TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline: "The Medium Is The Message", But All Is Not Lost....

18 November 2014 6:50am

Personal note: en route today from Cuenca, Ecuador to Anchorage....

Globe & Mail.  In Alberta, Jim Prentice, Alberta, Premier, oil sands, environmental, Dave Harbour Photowhere the Conservatives are Progressive, Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) accurately described his province’s biggest challenge in a weekend speech to his party. Alberta, he said, has to find new markets in Asia for its oil, and the only way it can do that is by redefining the province “as an environmental leader.”

CBC.  TransCanada is launching an aggressive campaign to get public support and recruit "advocates" for its Energy East pipeline.  Documents obtained by Greenpeace and shared with CBC News show the energy company is using the U.S. public relations firm Edelman, the largest in the world, to promote the massive oil pipeline project.                  ...

Edelman suggested a "campaign-style approach" and borrowing tactics from opposing environmental groups that "press their advantage" and successfully use online campaigns to leverage "large and passionate audiences that show a propensity to vote and take other political action."  (See our earlier story.)

The Medium Is The Message But All Is Not Lost


Dave Harbour, APR

This CBC story likely resulted from some friend of Greenpeace leaking private company correspondence which revealed an Edleman proposal to TransCanada for a grass roots campaign to bolster support for the Energy East pipeline project.  

Of course, it is like a big fundraising gift for Greenpeace, which can tell its multi-million dollar donors that corporations are engaging in a "sneaky" grass roots program to organize advocates for the Energy East Pipeline.  

The leak gave environmental extremist opponents the excuse/ammunition to say their opponents are trying to manufacture support.  

One can only imagine the hair raising political strategies exchanged by the various environmental advocacies, that could cripple modern society.  

But then, CBC is not investigating those, and that is another story.

Sure, large companies need to organize grass roots programs.  Some of the most effective ones are done with dedicated, 'in house' resources, with little public fanfare.  Others require more extensive and specialized outside resources.  Yes, companies can retain outside strategic and/or tactical support but -- as this instance teaches -- they must anticipate additional security challenges.

Canadian media master Marshall McLuhan had it right when he introduced a novel communication concept, "The medium is the message."

TransCanada and Edleman have unintentionally tripped on this precept.  Instead of being able to quietly and efficiently organize messages and advocates, a leaker in their midst has provided information about a proposal which suggests that, in effect, "We are organizing grass roots advocates by spending a lot of dollars to convince you to politically support us."  

This leak is a case history in - the - making that will be prominently featured in the annals of modern Public Relations challenges.  

It is a classic example of the critical importance of confidentiality in this digital age.

Energy East deserves support on the merits; the merits could convey a good "message" via an effective and voluminous citizen voice "medium".  

In short, TransCanada has a great chance of winning public and regulatory support by quietly and professionally engaging in low key, intense, effective communication efforts from this point on.  

But now, the leak has proclaimed Edleman's relationship with TransCanada and the medium of that relationship is becoming an unhelpful TransCanada message, an unwanted corporate PR crisis.  

Together, Edleman and its client have an unexpected challenge as their opponents will likely try to identify "corporate money" and "PR hacks" as the medium which they hope becomes the message. 

While this leak makes messaging more difficult, a good outcome is still possible, if not likely.  

In the CBC story, TransCanada did the right thing.  Its spokesman, Shawn Howard, affirmed that the company is engaging in a program -- without being defensive.  

Marketing the oil will benefit Canada and the entire free world.  As to emissions, we know the world's consumers will obtain fossil fuels somewhere and we'd rather it come from North America than Russia or the Middle East.

TransCanada should move steadily forward, without missing a step--in spite of the fairly one-sided CBC piece. 

Indeed, TransCanada should know that citizens are aware that this is an age of multi-million dollar environmental and social activism.  

TransCanada should be confident that citizens also know, 1) employers create the jobs and, 2) private income and tax wealth supports civilization, and 3) that companies must defend themselves, and us, against those advocating destruction of our way of life, knowingly or unknowingly.


7-24-14 Keeping Oil Tax Reform Sustains Alaska

24 July 2014 2:03am

Alaska Dispatch by Jonathan Katchen.  Much of the discussion surrounding our oil taxes is driven by emotion and ideology instead of facts. Most Alaskans want a vibrant oil industry that generates good paying jobs, keeps the oil flowing for years to come and provides Alaskans with a fair share of revenue. Here’s why voting to repeal SB 21 will jeopardize these goals.


7-23-14 If Pipelines Can't Do It Railways Will!

23 July 2014 2:51pm

Calgary Herald by Stephen Ewart.  Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway reported record second quarter financial results in the past week, based in part on strong North American energy markets that included the growing volumes of crude transported by rail as well as increased shipments of frac sand and drill pipe.



02 April 2014 6:33am

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today released a report demonstrating that the Department of Commerce retains the power to modernize its regulations and allow condensate exports.  

The report contains more than 40 pages of Commerce Department decisions from the 1970s and 1980s on expanded exports of residual fuel oil, petroleum coke, butane, specialty naphtha, and other petroleum-related products.

Fairbanks News Miner by Matt Buxton.  Mayors from communities along the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline still are wary about the project’s impacts despite Gov. Sean Parnell’s creation of a project review board.

E&E News (4/1/14) reports: A federal court in Washington, D.C., today upheld a pair of sweeping 2011 settlements between the Obama administration and environmental groups over the streamlining of endangered species decisions, concluding that a homebuilders coalition lacked standing to challenge them. It marked the fourth time in a row federal courts have determined groups have no basis for challenging the legal agreement signed with WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity.



31 March 2014 5:34am

Kenai Peninsula Clarion Editorial.  Sean Parnell, Alaska, Governor, Municipal Advisory Council, gas pipeline, Photo by Dave HarbourLast week, Gov. Sean Parnell created a municipal advisory board to weigh in on issues surrounding a natural gas pipeline project that could eventually tie communities together from Prudhoe Bay to Nikiski (i.e. See News Miner Story).​  While it’s laudable that the governor chose to allow several of those communities to weigh in — representatives from North Slope, Fairbanks North Star, Denali, Matanuska-Susitna, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough will be able to weigh in — we find other parts of the pipeline development process to be troubling.   More....

Latest On the Enviro-Industrial-Governmental Cabal

Powerline Blog, 2-27-14.  

But the UN climate body now says it is no longer so certain. The second part of the IPCC’s new assessment report is due to be presented next Monday (I.E. TODAY) in Yokohama, Japan. On the one hand, a classified draft of the report notes that a further “increased extinction risk for a substantial number of species during and beyond the 21st century” is to be expected. On the other hand, the IPCC admits that there is no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct thus far. . .

The draft report includes a surprising admission by the IPCC — that it doubts its own computer simulations for species extinctions. “There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately,” the report notes. Very low extinction rates despite considerable climate variability during past hundreds of thousands of years have led to concern that “forecasts for very high extinction rates due entirely to climate change may be overestimated.”

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