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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.  -dh

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3-25-15 Gasline Bill Passes - Alaska Economic Update - Arctic Residents Take Place At Arctic Policy Table

25 March 2015 7:16am

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Seizes Arctic Initiative: Criticizes Environmental Carpet Baggers!

Gasline Bill Passes Alaska House

Alaska Economic Update- Part 2  - See Part 1 Here

By Mark Edwards (NGP Photo)

Mark Edwards, AlaskanomicsIn our last post, we discussed the falling oil prices and the possible impact on the economy. Today we will look at jobs, unemployment, and population.

Payroll jobs increase only 0.3% in 2013 and 2014.  No growth predicted in 2015 - Alaska's payroll job count increased by 1,000 jobs or 0.3% last year, similar to 2013 results.  This slight increase is much lower compared to 5,300 jobs added in 2012 and 4,900 in 2011.  The total number of payroll jobs, not including uniformed military and the self-employed, is about 336,700 on average throughout the year.  It is important to note this is a preliminary estimate by the Alaska Department of Labor using nine months of actual data from employer tax returns and three months of estimates.  The final numbers will be revised in March of 2015.  (Economic Update continued below...)  

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Gasline Bill Passed House Yesterday (KTUU Video - Left; News MinerAJC background)


Jason Brune, OCS, Point Hope, Consumer Energy Alliance - Alaska, Dave Harbour PhotoFrom Jason Brune (NGP Photo), Chairman, Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska.  

"Great decision Point Hope! The original suit included the anti-development Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, and National Audubon Society. What happens to them now that they don't have the local face they took advantage of to give the appearance of credibility to their arguments. 

Rex Rock, Resource Development Council for Alaska, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Point Hope, Dave Harbour Photo, OCS"If you haven't seen it yet, watch ASRC president Rex Rock's (NGP Photo) speech to RDC which outlines how Alaska Native communities are preyed upon by these outside environmental groups and what they're doing about it."  (See Rock's RDC Speech Here)

Charlotte Brower, Arctic OCS, ANWR, NPR-A, Dave Harbour PhotoComment: Rock's welcome initiative matches in the private sector the creative and courageous local government initiative taken by Alaska North Slope Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo) on behalf of her Arctic constituents.   -dh

(Economic Update continued...)  The Alaska Department of Labor’s forecast for 2015 is no change in employment levels.  They predict continued large losses in the government sector.  This has been occurring in federal government as budgets have tightened and are now predicted to decline in state and local government due to low oil prices. 

These public sector job losses will be balanced out by equal growth in the private sector. Continued gains of 200 new jobs are expected in the health care industry due to the continued demographic situation where Alaska has both an aging baby boomer population and a young, under 20 generation.  People require the most health care at the beginning and end of their lives. 

Oil and gas is expected to grow by 200 jobs despite low oil prices because of several large projects underway like Exxon’s work in Point Thomson and off-shore investment by Shell.  Newer entrants like Repsol, Hilcorp and Calleus Energy are also making significant investments in the state.

Retail growth is reemerging after the national recession as many franchise businesses that were preparing to enter Alaska in the last five years are finally following through with their expansion plans now that the US economy has rebounded.  Lower oil prices are also helping consumers by providing more disposal income.  This area is predicted to grow by 300 jobs.  Other forecasted contributors to positive labor growth include seafood (+200) and leisure and hospitality (+300).  We are likely to have a record number of tourists visit the state this year.  Declines of 100 jobs are expected in construction due to low oil prices and lower government spending.  This also impacts professional and business services which is forecasted for a 200 job decline in 2015.

US unemployment rate improves, now better than Alaska - Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate finished the year at 6.3%, compared to 6.4% at the end of 2013.  The comparable national rate in December was 5.6% an improvement of over 1% from 6.7% at this time last year. 

As seen in the graph below by the Alaska Department of Labor, for over five years Alaska had been doing better than the U.S. in terms of unemployment.  The rate in Alaska in blue has been relatively stable, despite the national recession and the U.S. rate spiked much higher.  Now the U.S. rate is improving relatively faster than Alaska.  This appears to already be affecting population migration trends as jobs are more easily found in the lower 48.


The unemployment rate is better in Alaska’s largest communities.  The preliminary, not seasonally adjusted, rate for Anchorage was 4.7%, Juneau 4.8%, and Fairbanks at 5.6%.  The Mat-Su rate improved from 8% in 2012 to 7.1% in December of 2014, but is still higher than the national unemployment levels. 

Anchorage and Juneau’s rate is in the range of what economists call “full employment.”  At these low levels a majority of those unemployed are due to seasonal, frictional, structural or cyclical reasons.  For example, some seasonal workers only plan to work part of the year and collect unemployment benefits for the remainder of the year.  The frictional part is the natural short-term movement of workers between jobs and first-time job seekers.  The most important issue for employers is these low rates inevitably lead to a scarcity of qualified workers and upward pressure on wages.

Ketchikan and Sitka are the two newest markets for Northrim.  They show moderate rates of unemployment at 6.6% and 5.4% respectively.

High levels of unemployment still persist in several rural areas of Alaska.  The worst situations are the Hoonah-Angoon Census Area at 21.6%, Wade Hampton Census Area 21%, Municipality of Skagway at 21.2%. However, the North Slope Borough has the lowest unemployment levels in the state at 3.7%. 

Population remains virtually unchanged in 2014, first net loss since 1987 - The most recent Department of Labor estimate for Alaska's population is 735,601.  That is a loss of 61 people net for the year.  It is significant because it is the first year since 1987 that the state did not grow.  Since that time there have been 13 years where the net in and out migration of people was negative and 13 years where it was positive.  However, in all the negative migration years, the rate of natural increase (births minus deaths) was larger than any migration losses.

Over the last decade we have been averaging about 11,000 births and 3,500 deaths for a net natural increase of about 7,500 per year.  Natural increase was 7,427 in 2014.  Last year there was a much larger than normal net out migration of 7,488 people.  This is the highest level seen since there was a net loss of 19,245 people between 1986-87 and 15,710 people from 1987-88.  The driving factor is likely to be the relative improvement of the U.S. and world economy compared to Alaska.  Also, the aging baby boom population may be slowly retiring out of Alaska.  

The 61 person net loss in 2014 is compared to a 4,471 population gain in 2013.  To put these last two years in perspective, the average population growth for the prior decade was 8,946 per year from 2002 to 2012.

Join us for our next discussion about personal income and longer term interest rates.



21 March 2015 4:16pm

Petroleum News.  In early February Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell, confirmed that his company was moving ahead with plans to restart its exploration drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea during the 2015 summer open water season. In apparent confirmation of that statement notices relating to requests from Shell for some go....


3-6-15 Oil Investors Continue To Face Federal and State Obstacles

06 March 2015 7:32am

Alaska Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner.  Just as things seemed to be going reasonably well for the large Alaska LNG Project, the $45 billion to $65 billion gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas initiative in which the state is a partner, Gov. Bill Walker may be throwing a wrench into the works.  More....

Houston Chronicle by Jennifer Dlouhy.  The Obama administration will decide soon whether to sign off on Shell's request for extra time to hunt for oil in Arctic waters, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday.

Without action, Shell's oil and gas leases in the Beaufort Sea will begin expiring in 2017, followed by its drilling rights in the nearby Chukchi Sea two years later.

The same fate awaits Chukchi Sea leases sold in 2008 to Statoil and ConocoPhillips, which have made similar appeals for more time, citing regulatory uncertainty and other obstacles.

"We are actively working with Shell and other leaseholders up there on their request for suspensions," Jewell said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "We will be resolving that relatively soon."  (Read more....)



3-3-15 Yesterday's Alaska Rally For "OCS Yes"

03 March 2015 10:19am

OCS YES! Consumer Energy Alliance Rally, 3-2-15.

This video documents yesterday's rally and news conference, held in conjunction with a Federal Government OCS lease sale hearing at the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage.

Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska Executive Director Anne Seneca organized the program and introduced speakers supporting a responsible, OCS five-year leasing program.  

Approximately 100 "OCS Yes" supporters filled a room in the convention center before attending the formal BOEM event afterward in an adjacent room.  For more details, see yesterday's notice.  

Following is a listing of speakers included in the video:

  • David Holt, president of Consumer Energy Alliance.  Holt, a frequent speaker at Alaskan energy events told his audience that, "Alaska energy is under assault."  He said a robust federal lease sale program is needed in Alaska and other OCS areas around the country.  Without that commitment, he said, energy supply is at risk when energy is the "fabric of the US economy."
  • Former Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell pointed out that the 5-year leasing plan BOEM proposes is inadequate.  He said that with regard to natural resource issues, the federal government, "...is paddling against us."  
  • Carl Portman, longtime Deputy Executive Director of the Resource Development Council for Alaska reminded the audience that the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) upon which Alaska's economy rests, is 3/4 empty.  He said that reasonable on- and off-shore development could sustain Alaska's economy for decades, that energy is the "lifeblood" of Alaska's economy.  He noted that with the country still importing a quarter of its oil, Alaska's potential production could lead the U.S. faster to energy independence.
  • Executive Director of the Alaska Trucking Association, Aves Thompson, represents 200 corporate members that, in turn, are the backbone of about 3,000 family and corporate owned trucking businesses in the state.  He said that OCS development is vital to his members for several reasons, including the fuel that powers equipment, the fuel Alaska needs and the fuel the country needs.  He said the BOEM is obligated to move its process forward to assure dependable energy supplies and went on to discuss Alaska's vast potential and trucking demographics.
  • Angela Cernich introduced herself as a wife, mother, grandmother, small business owner and Alaska Native with a rich family background (Owner, Arctic Branding and Apparel).  She said that employment is essential to the survival of Alaska and that energy development and care for the environment does and can co-exist.  Referring to the efforts of the federal government to block resource development in Alaska, she asked, "Can you imagine if Texans were told not to develop their resources?"
  • Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami emphasized the number of jobs OCS development could produce in both Alaska and Nationally,  He also noted the importance of Alaska training programs funded by the state operating budget and how citizens should encourage the Legislature to not cut those Department of Labor training program items.  He said he will be urging the Obama Administration to approve Alaska OCS leasing that would extend the life of TAPS--a critical energy link for America.
  • The Rally's last speaker was Deputy Executive Director of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Andy Rogers.  He said that the 5-year leasing planning process was needed but that to be truly effective business looks for long term certainty--supporting critical long term investment decisions.  

    (Note:  your writer once served on the national CEA board of directors and remains a supporter of the organization to this day, along with other groups represented at the rally.  -dh)



3-2-15 Here's Your Invitation To BOEM Day In Anchorage - What Do You Call It When Enviros Give Aid & Comfort To Anti-US/Canadian Energy Attacks?

02 March 2015 5:59am

CEA invitation to attend TODAY'S Pre-BOEM hearing press conference and reception:


Wall Street Journal Video: Western NY cities trying to secede from anti-fracking state to join Pennsylvania where fracking produces wealth and jobs.  Also ... Russia flowing money through anti-fracking groups to stall US fracking projects (Note that some of the groups named in these various reports are TransCanada, Keystone XL opponents).  

Does Russian and middle eastern money laundered via US environmental activist groups to oppose US Energy Independence = Foreign Aggression + US Enviro Disloyalty = Foreign/Domestic Enviro Conspiracy?   

Could this be a conspiracy that gives aid and comfort to enemies of North American energy and national security?  

With the evidence we do have, we must also ask if other leftist allies are involved in developing/executing this Anti-American strategy.   

Based on the foregoing revelations, we now wonder if any Clinton Foundation donations from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman (some of whom have been aggressive supporters of terrorist organizations) have been funneled to hostile, anti-US/Canadian energy independence efforts by enviro-activists.  

We suspect that someday the truth will out....         -dh                                

PRE-HEARING Press Conference & Reception: Alaska and the Federal Government's New Five-Year Offshore Lease Sale Plan

Please come out to show your support for Alaskan energy before the Department of Interior's (DOI) Public Hearing on the Proposed Five-Year Offshore Lease Plan.

TODAY: March 2, 2015

Reception: 2:00 pm-5:00 pm
Press Conference: 2:15 pm, prior to DOI public hearing at 3:00 pm
Anchorage Marriott Downtown
820 W 7th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

Confirmed Speakers:

David Holt, President of Consumer Energy Alliance

Andy Rogers, Deputy Director of the Alaska Chamber

Carl Portman, Deputy Director of the Resource Development Council of Alaska

Aves Thompson, Alaska Trucking Association

Former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell

Vince Beltrami, AFL-CIO


2-16-15 Ready To Be Part Of A Fundamentally Transformed Country?

16 February 2015 6:11am

Energy Users and Internet Users Both Experience Government Overreach And Deterioration Of The Rule of Law

(Canada is not immune)


Dave Harbour

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama's push for 'Net Neutrality' will be "adopting a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist using legal authority we don't have."

To our energy readersThe dictatorial, FCC action described by Commissioner Pai, is consistent with the lawless character of the U.S. executive governmental branch.  

In Alaska we've seen due process and the rule of law attacked by federal administrative / regulatory acts to block access:

Jim Prentice, Alberta, Premier, Keystone XL, Dave Harbour Photo"The energy relationship shared between our two countries is bigger than a single pipeline."  Jim Prentice (NGP Photo)

Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.  -Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources

America has elected a person who perverts the rule of law and the Constitution he swore to uphold, gives comfort to America's enemies and scorns our most loyal, trusted allies: Canada and Israel.

Congress must act to override these lawless executive actions and democrat members must decide whether they are for or against the survival of the republic.  

All Members must then have the courage to decide whether to decisively undertake impeachment proceedings; the rate of loss of freedom is so rapid that waiting until the next election to change leadership, at this point, puts the nation at risk.  

Our Canadian readers must know that you are headed in the same direction.  While you have a strong and honorable Prime Minister today, and a strong, wealth producing energy industry, the fabric of your own free enterprise system is under attack as well.   

Democracies must realize as environmental extremists, socialists, race mongers, Islamic political operatives and others have figured out: that democracies can best be defeated from within and controlled by erosion of moral values, intimidation, protests, lawsuits, redistribution promises, racial strife strategies and community organizers all focused on achieving a majority vote to elect minority special interests ... who are assuming powers over a 'fundamentally transformed' society of 21st century worker-drones.       

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