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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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You Read It Here First

8-20-15

20 August 2015 1:39pm

Please note our June 25 commentary on competitiveness.  

Then, bookmark our April 17 commentary.  -dh

Comment: Critical reading of today's events below demonstrates some good news in the form of COP's new drilling at its CD5 property on the Alaska North Slope (ANS).  Then, we note from our Australian and Ohio analysts the increased difficulty faced by an ANS gas transportation project in a low energy price, high production environment.  

ALASKA DECISION MAKERS: Does this not mean Alaska must become even more competitive to market its natural resources, not less?   See this week's August 18 editorial, "Outrageous Decisions"; here are some reviews.  -dh

 


CD5, ConocoPhillips, BLM, EPA, National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, COP Photo

Wilderness Society vs. Institute for Energy Research

Michael Brune doesn’t believe Dan Kish, should speak for the Native people of the North Slope.  Which he wasn’t doing!  

But Brune apparently was trying to speak for Alaska's Native people.  He also suggested that no new oil and gas areas should be developed because climate change (in his opinion) required all new energy to come from alternative energy sources (i.e. wind, solar, etc., we presume).  This is more evidence that, indeed, to enviro-activists the 'end justifies the means,' and intellectual honesty has no role in their strident advocacy.  -dh

Today ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) announced that development drilling has begun at its CD5 drill site on the North Slope. CD5 is the first oil development within the boundaries of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), and first oil is expected in the fourth quarter of 2015. Click here to view the full news release.

 


 

​Today's Consumer Energy Alliance links to issues important to NGP readers

Kenai Peninsula Gas/LNG Links important to our readers


THE ENERGY ANALYSTS SPEAK...AND, YOU READ IT HERE FIRST!

Today we bring you two of our favorite private analysts, whose names shall not be revealed.

One writes from the Mid Atlantic interior state area while the other writes us from far across the Pacific.

Today's Aussie O & G Observer writes:  

  • ...the Alaska LNG Project is....(Read more)  
  • The oil market has been smashed again overnight.... (Read more)

Our Ohio Observer says:

  • The highwater mark for rigs operating in the Bakken during the past two years was October 2014 (see below) at 194. Since that time, the number of rigs has fallen 60%. Yet production is almost at record monthly levels, and (Read more)

 

 

AJOC by Elwood Brehmer.

All Alaska Gasline Development Corp. contracts would be open to the public under a draft regulation proposed Aug. 13 at its board of directors meeting.

A contract submitted for board approval would be posted on the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC, website at least 10 days prior to the meeting at which it is to be discussed, the draft regulations state.

Overall, the five pages of proposals limit what types of confidentiality agreements the corporation and its directors can enter into.

“If the regulations are adopted in this form it is simply going to be fairly open going forward,” AGDC attorney Ken Vassar said. “We’re not going to enter into any contracts that by their terms are themselves confidential. That’s just not an agreement that would be available to u

    


​Today's Consumer Energy Alliance links to issues important to NGP readers:

Argus Media: States urge dismissal of Oregon LCFS suit
The federal court lawsuit brought by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (AFPM), American Trucking Association and Consumer Energy Alliance echoes arguments they made against the California LCFS. The judge in that case said that the AFPM lawsuit could not go any further because of a 2013 decision by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that said the California program did not explicitly discriminate against out-of-state products in violation of the US Constitution.
 
Alaska Dispatch NewsWith Obama's visit less than two weeks away, details trickle out
Public officials and residents alike, from Anchorage to the 400-person village of Kivalina on the northwest coast, are watching and waiting for more details about President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Alaska.
 
Fox NewsClinton hit for breaking with Obama on Arctic drilling, staying mum on Keystone
Hillary Clinton is taking heat from Republicans for breaking with the Obama administration on Arctic drilling while continuing to hedge on her position on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
National PostKelly McParland: Obama’s Arctic drilling rationale doesn’t even convince supporters
Barack Obama is a curious individual. The U.S. president has delayed making a ruling on Canada’s Keystone XL oil pipeline for seven years, seeking to burnish his environmental credentials and please supporters in the green movement. The refusal upset Ottawa no end, but the White House deemed Canada’s vexation less crucial than making a point about the importance of battling climate change.
 
Town Hall: Poll: Americans Think Obama’s Climate Change Plan Will Increase Energy Costs – They’re Right
The Obama administration’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 has a majority of Americans feeling their wallets since electrical costs are projected to go up. The increase specifically places fixed-income seniors in the cross hairs. Moreover, the projected job losses are will hit rural America the worst.
 
Real Clear EnergyOne Loser in Obama's Climate Plan? Existing Nuclear
Right now, the biggest source of clean energy in the United States is nuclear power. The country's 99 commercial reactors provide 20 percent of our electricity, all without emitting carbon dioxide. Compare that with wind at 4.9 percent or solar at 0.6 percent.
 
Heartland InstituteHouse Cuts EPA Budget, Would Block Clean Power Plan
The House Appropriations committee cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 9 percent, or $718 million, and blocked key Obama administration climate rules when they approved a $30.17 billion Interior and Environment spending bill.
 
Fuel FixCommentary: Fossil Fuels are the Solution, Not the Problem
The George C. Marshall Institute has recently released a study on fossil fuels and the economic well-being. It describes why energy is an essential input to economic activity. Because fossil fuels are such a large part of the world’s energy supply, they play a dominant role in enabling people everywhere to enjoy a higher standard of living and greater personal freedom.
 
ForbesPennsylvania and Truth in the Incidence of a State Severance Tax
Pennsylvania policymakers are nearing a two-month budget stalemate between Governor Tom Wolf and state GOP leadership, at least part of which can be attributed to their divergent views on the implications of a proposed severance tax on the production of unconventional natural gas.
 
Economic TimesOil prices hit 6-1/2-year low as US crude supplies rise
Oil prices in New York sagged to a new six and a half year low Wednesday following data showing an increase in US petroleum stocks. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September dropped $1.82 to $40.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell as low as $40.46 a barrel earlier in the session.
 
New York TimesOil Companies Sit on Hands at Auction for Leases
With oil prices collapsing and companies in retrenchment, a federal auction in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday attracted the lowest interest from producers since 1986. It was the clearest sign yet that the fortunes of oil companies are skidding so fast that they now need to cut back on plans for production well into the future.
 
San Antonio Express-NewsLow crude prices affect offshore drilling auction
Oil and gas companies are set to pay $22.7 million for drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico following a lackluster government auction Wednesday that reflected low crude prices. With just five companies participating and only 33 leases sold, the turnout marked the smallest western Gulf of Mexico lease sale since area-wide auctions began in 1983.
 
Fuel FixOil and gas cos. among most profitable per employee, analysis finds
Oil and gas companies were among the best at squeezing the most revenue from a small number of employees last year, according to data collected by a business research website. Researchers from FindTheCompany calculated profits per employee among companies on the S&P 500 in 2014. Among the top 25 companies ranked according to that metric, 15 were oil and gas exploration and production companies.
 
UPIWood Mackenzie: Mexico oil swaps only slight U.S. move
Approval for oil swaps with Mexico opens the spigot for U.S. crude oil, but might not be the export indication supporters are hoping for, an industry analyst said. The U.S. Commerce Department last week granted a request from Mexican energy company Petroleos Mexicanos, known also as Pemex, to swap as much as 100,000 barrels of U.S. crude oil per day for Mexican refining. The deal forbids the re-export to other nations.
 
Houston ChronicleSenators ask SEC to review oil companies' disclosure on offshore risk
A dozen senators are asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to probe whether oil and gas companies are fully disclosing the risks associated with their offshore operations.
 
Alaska Journal of CommercePaper: Cooperate rather than lead on AK LNG
A leading U.S. economist says a large natural gas pipeline project is vital to the state’s economic future and that the state should cooperate with experienced large companies in developing the project rather than attempting a plan for the state to lead the project.
 
Orange County RegisterObama's Clean Power Plan is bad news for California
The White House recently released its Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by 2030. Almost immediately, California Gov. Jerry Brown praised the plan, claimed it should be the model for international agreements and touted California’s own statewide plans. But California’s carbon control program should be a warning to the rest of the country, not an endorsement of the president’s plan.
 
The Argus LeaderMy Voice: Getting Washington working again for Americans
When Republicans campaigned for the Senate majority in 2014, we made a simple, yet important pledge to the American people: If you elect Republicans to the majority, we will get the Senate, which has been dysfunctional for years, working again. That was not a half-hearted campaign slogan; it was a commitment on which we intended to deliver.

The City WireArkansas severance tax revenue set fiscal-year record, pace falls in new year
Arkansas severance tax collections tumbled nearly 59% in the first month of the state’s fiscal year 2016 as Fayetteville Shale drillers were unable to sustain production levels due to continued weak natural gas prices, spending cuts and fewer operating rigs.
 
Lincoln Journal StarLocal View: Five seasons Nebraska should reject the EPA’s mandate
The EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” would drastically increase energy costs for all Nebraskans without achieving its stated goal of combating climate change.
 
Milwaukee Journal SentinelEnbridge claim hard to swallow
None of us should be surprised when fossil fuel company executives tell a whopper or two in order to promote their interests, protect their massive government subsidies or avoid regulation of the deadly carbon pollution they freely loose upon Earth's increasingly damaged atmosphere.
 
Chicago TribuneColorado already put methane caps on drillers, and it worked
For an idea of how the U.S. government's proposed methane rules will affect drillers, look no further than Colorado. The state became a test case for similar controls last year when a coalition of energy companies and environmental groups agreed on measures to cut the pollution. In a bid to address smog, regulators there adopted the nation's first requirements for oil and natural gas companies to find and fix methane leaks.
 
Wheeling IntelligencerW. Va Leaders Bash Clean Power Plan
For better or for worse, depending on one's perspective, President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan will significantly change America by the year 2030 - if its goal of cutting 32 percent of CO2 emissions from electricity plants becomes reality.
 
Andover TownsmanNatural gas pipeline could add $950K to tax coffers
Andover could rake in nearly $1 million in new property tax revenue if a plan by energy giant Kinder Morgan to build a high-pressure natural gas line through town ever comes to fruition. Kinder Morgan officials said last week that Andover would get $950,000 in tax revenue while Methuen would earn $700,000 for being hosts to a portion of the gas pipeline. Dracut, meanwhile, could earn more than $2 million for hosting some of the key infrastructure for the pipeline system.   


Observer #2 (Ohio).  The highwater mark for rigs operating in the Bakken during the past two years was October 2014 (see below) at 194. Since that time, the number of rigs has fallen 60%. Yet production is almost at record monthly levels, and has increased in the past two months. Part of this has to do with the number of uncompleted wells dropping by 77, leaving 848 still in the inventory of uncompleted wells. This volume can apparently be maintained for some time. According to the monthly report from the North Dakota DMR,

At the end of June there were an estimated 848 wells waiting on completion services, 60 less than at the end of May.

The current rig count plus NC well inventory is sufficient to  maintain 1.2 million barrels of oil per day for 24 months

Bottom Line: If this carries over to other oil shales, it is going to be difficult to see any drop in domestic crude oil production in coming months.

 

   


Observer #1 (Australia)  The oil market has been smashed again overnight (more below).   Current sentiments appear to be very bearish, with every piece of bad news being the signal for a sell-off.

A quote from Tudor Pickering Holt's daily note to clients yesterday is set out below.  To my mind this provides a clue as to the source of much of this bear-ishness:

"The snapback in stocks / commodities coming out of the 2008/2009 financial crisis spoiled us…it’s usually not that easy exiting a down cycle."

This to me says that the market is going through the "five phases" of grief after last year's oil price crash - and we are now only at the second phase: anger that the re-bound has not yet come (and is not in sight).  If this cod-psychology is correct, then we have still three phases to go....

Commodity prices

Brent closed down more than 3% at US$47.00, whilst WTI was even harder hit, closing down 4.3% at US$40.55.  The twelve month forward price is now worse than it was during the 2008/09 GFC induced oil price fall.

The numbers du jour which induced this fall was data from the EIA's weekly report, which indicated that US crude inventories increased by 2.6 mmbbls (although net product inventories - gasoline and distillate - fell by 2.1 mmbbls).  The market consensus figure earlier in the week had not anticipated the extent of the build.  The EIA also reported that US daily imports had increased by ~0.5 mmbopd - implying that the US is being used as the global storage site of last resort.

The Henry Hub natural gas price closed down 1c at US$2.71.

LNG

Regular followers will recall that this blog considers that the Alaska LNG project is the tortoise of the LNG world - well placed to beat some of the flashier hares.  However, Alaskan politics is currently bouncing a few rocks off the shell of this plodder.  Readers around the world will recall that Alaskan Governors can often be colourful characters - looking no further than one of the favoured running mates of The Donald, one Ms Sarah Palin.

Not wanting to be beaten by Ms Palin's appetite for socialist oil industry taxes, the latest Governor (Bill Walker) has introduced a concept worthy of Hugo Chavez: taxing gas resources in the ground (a "reserves tax") at the same time as he has signaled he would like the State to takeover 51% of the BP/Exxon/Conoco AKLNG project.

As this is the USA, I expect reason to prevail eventually - but this shows that LNG projects everywhere are subject to politicians mistaking fragile eggs for golden gooses.

Governments and fracking

Victoria's Auditor General released a report yesterday concluding that the State was not as well placed as it should be to manage issues associated with on-shore oil & gas exploration.  This has led the Greens to issue a clarion call for the ban of fracking for the period of "forever" (rather than the usual mealy-mouthed five year moratorium).  The Farmer's Federation wants more "science".  Clearly more than a million safely fracked wells don't provide a statistically valid sample size......

Company news - Armour Energy Ltd (AJQ)

Micro-cap AJQ has announced today that it has signed a non-binding deal with large US private equity firm, American Energy Partners (AEP) under which the latter may farm-into AJQ's Northern Territory acreage.

AEP was founded a few years ago by the colourful ex-CEO of Chesapeake Energy (the second largest US gas producer), Aubrey McClendon.  This is the first deal that it (or Chesapeake, to my knowledge) has done outside the USA - the well costs, etc, will not be familiar!

If the deal is turned into a binding one, it will see AJQ be 25% free-carried through a US$100M program, and receive US$11M cash up-front as well.

AEP's founding investor was another US private equity firm, Energy & Minerals Group (founded by ex-Exxon MD Lee Raymond's son) - who themselves recently entered the Northern Territory through a farm-in with private Australian company, Pangaea Resources.

Company news - A J Lucas Ltd (AJL)

AJL has a 40% stake in the UK's best known shale gas exploration company, Cuadrilla Resources, who were recently awarded further exploration licences in on-shore England.

Company news - Beach Energy Ltd (BPT)

BPT today announced that it had appointed an acting-CEO - Neil Gibbons - as MD Rob Cole was absent for family reasons.

Company news - Santos Ltd (STO)

Tomorrow STO will announce its half-yearly results.  Its full year results in February included a A$1.6B write-down - but using oil price assumptions that are significantly higher than the current forward strip - or indeed than the bearish sentiments on price that came from Woodside's results briefing earlier this week.

STO will have to walk a narrow line between not being seen as being over-optimistic on oil prices versus not wanting to precipitate the equity raising which its leadership has nailed its credibility to not doing.

Quote of the day

Aubrey McClendon's robust views on the fracking debate:

"We frack all the time. What’s the big deal? Where is the mushroom cloud? Where are the dogs with one leg?”

 

 

Gas/LNG links courtesy of Larry Persily, Kenai Peninsula Borough:

Oil and gas news briefs for Aug. 20, 2015

Report says U.S. LNG must be price competitive to succeed
 RBN Energy; Aug. 17) - The U.S. over the next three to five years will become a top exporter of LNG, and may emerge as the world’s leading exporter by the mid-2020s. The 12 liquefaction trains now under construction at five sites in the Lower 48 states together will have the capacity to export up to 54 million metric tons per annum, about 7 billion cubic feet of gas a day. How much more the U.S. LNG export potential can grow is covered in a report released this week by energy analytics firm RBN Energy.
 
The report, “LNG is a Battlefield — The Prospects for U.S. Success in Overseas Markets,” said that despite gas becoming the “hydrocarbon of choice for power generation, heating and many other uses across much of the global energy market … LNG must not be cost-prohibitive.” And until LNG demand grows as expected over the long term, the short-term view looks week. “A lull in demand growth — coupled with new liquefaction capacity — has bloated LNG supplies and slashed prices in the past year.”
 
Even with low oil prices, which have dropped the oil-linked price charged for LNG under traditional long-term supply contracts, “the U.S. should remain a cost-competitive supplier to international markets,” the report said. A lot will come down to price, it said. “Returns on investment in U.S. LNG export infrastructure as well as the extent of future expansion depend on price competitiveness in international markets.”
 
 
Buyers’ market pushes Australia LNG developer to focus on costs
 
(Reuters; Aug. 19) – Australia’s largest independent oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum said it has stepped up marketing for its proposed Browse floating liquefied natural gas project, but conceded it is facing a buyers' market against a backdrop of weak oil prices. “The project will need to deliver an acceptable return at the current expectations of oil pricing, meaning it needs to break even at the sorts of oil prices we’re seeing in the marketplace today,” CEO Peter Coleman said.
 
Despite some analysts expecting a delay, the company is still targeting a final investment decision on Browse in the second half of 2016, having moved into the front-end engineering and design phase this year. Woodside has been able to cut cost estimates by 20 to 30 percent for the subsea and pipeline pieces of the long-delayed project off Western Australia, which analysts previously estimated at $45 billion when it was planned with a land-based liquefaction plant.
 
The partners are now focused on driving down costs so Browse can be profitable even if oil fails to rebound, and will be marketing the gas aggressively this year. One of those partners, Shell, whose floating LNG technology is the template for Browse, recently said it was far from certain the partners would approve the project. 
 
Gazprom faces serious challenges, including all-time low production
 (Agence France Presse; Aug. 16) - Facing a cold shoulder from Europe and increased competition at home, Gazprom has struggled to assert dominance on the global energy market, prompting speculation the natural gas giant could have no choice but to splinter. With the Russian economy slipping into recession on the back of lower oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine, the economy ministry has predicted Gazprom would produce 14.6 trillion cubic feet of gas this year, an all-time low for the company.
 
Gazprom's market capitalization has crashed in recent years. Before the 2008 global financial crisis, the company was worth over $300 billion. Its value now hangs around $50 billion, trailing far behind other major energy companies. "Gazprom is confronted with the greatest challenge in its history," said Chris Weafer, a partner at the Macro Advisory consultancy firm. "What remains to be seen is whether Gazprom becomes an appendage of the foreign ministry or evolves into a global energy company."
 
Gazprom is grappling with a series of issues, including its recent loss of the Ukrainian market, Europe's energy diversification and increased competition at home. And without U.S. technology blocked by sanctions, experts fear that Russia will not be able to exploit its Far East resources that had been destined for LNG exports. "This is bad news for Russia because the production of LNG is a strategic objective in the region," said Valery Nesterov, an analyst at Sberbank Investment. Some analysts have said Gazprom could benefit from dividing into smaller entities that would be more efficient and transparent.
 
 
Gas supply a question for Canada’s East Coast LNG export projects
 
(Globe and Mail; Canada; Aug. 17) - Two proposed liquefied natural gas projects on the Nova Scotia coast have received approval from Canada’s National Energy Board to export LNG, but they are counting on U.S. producers to supply much of the gas. In that case, they likely need new pipeline capacity to move that gas into New England to provide the supply to underpin their ambitious plans. Pieridae Energy and Bear Head LNG each received Canadian approval of their gas export license late last week.
 
The two projects are in addition to two others proposed for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, all of which count on Canadian and U.S. gas making it north to the proposed liquefaction plants. “The big questions are: Where is the gas going to come from, and how are you going to get it to an LNG facility,” Fred Bergman, senior policy analyst with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, said in an interview.
 
Nova Scotia’s offshore fields have supplied gas to Canada’s Maritimes provinces and the U.S. Northeast for years, but will begin a steep decline later this decade unless companies develop new gas reserves. Another option for the LNG plants is Spectra Energy’s plan to build a new gas pipeline from the prolific Marcellus Shale field in Pennsylvania to New England, where it can be moved into Nova Scotia. But that project has run into stiff opposition in Massachusetts. 
 
Oman struggles with growing domestic demand vs. LNG exports
 
(Platts; Aug. 18) - Over the past two years, Oman has quietly expanded the number of countries to which it exports LNG to well beyond those with which it has long-term supply contracts. In a state that needs increasing volumes of gas to fuel its oil and heavy industrial sectors, this raises far-reaching questions about energy strategy and allocation of gas resources to exports vs. domestic needs.
 
Oman’s government two decades ago saw LNG exports as an important means of diversifying the economy and moving state revenues away from a heavy dependence on oil exports. A total of 10.4 million metric tons per year of LNG production and export capacity was developed, with plants commissioned in 2000 and 2005. Oman signed long-term supply contracts with Japanese, South Korean and Spanish buyers, which in some cases were also the project shareholders.
 
Oman planned to negotiate additional contracts with new customers, predominantly in Asia. However, industrial expansion and rampant population growth in Oman, as elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula, meant that securing domestic gas supply quickly trumped exports as a government priority, leaving the LNG plants significantly underutilized. In 2011, senior government officials suggested that at least one of the plants might be decommissioned once the long-term supply contracts expire.
 
 
 
Top LNG carrier owners join up to market short-term charters
 
(Reuters; Aug. 18) - Three of the world’s top liquefied natural gas carrier owners have decided to market 14 vessels jointly on a spot-charter basis, part of a new pooling arrangement aimed at cutting operating costs in a depressed market. The pool, consisting of eight modern vessels from Norwegian shipper Golar LNG and three each from Gaslog, headquartered in Monaco, and Dynagas, based in Greece, will commence chartering operations in September, a statement from Gaslog said Aug. 18.
 
A glut of newly built LNG vessels emerging from shipyards in Asia has been one factor driving down daily charter rates to around $30,000 per day, compared with $130,000 two years ago. "The LNG Carrier Pool allows the participating owners to optimize the operation of the pool vessels through improved scheduling ability, cost efficiencies and common marketing," the statement said. The vessels will seek employment exclusively for charters of 12 months or less.
 
The move reflects a growing LNG market shift toward short-term trading of cargoes as prices come under pressure and new production from Australia and the United States is expected to add to oversupply. "The real driver primarily is the fact that we are seeing the short-term shipping market growing substantially. In the year to date there have been 97 short-term vessel fixtures versus around 78 in 2014," said Gaslog CEO Paul Wogan. "It's becoming a much more important piece of the (LNG) shipping market.”
 
 
 
LNG spot market in Asia back up to $8
 
(Platts; Aug. 18) - The Platts LNG Japan-Korea Marker for September deliveries averaged $8.007 per million Btu July 16 – Aug. 14, up 8.3 percent from August, the highest month-on-month gain so far this year, on renewed buying interest and waning availability of spot cargoes in Asia. It was the highest monthly average price since February, when it was $9.911. However, it’s the seventh consecutive month that prices have hung around $7 to $8 since falling from the $9-to-$10 level in January-February.
 
With northeast Asian end-user demand still tepid and Indian importers reluctant to pay more than $8, the market appeared to have hit a ceiling. Even with the slight boost to $8, year-on-year the marker for September deliveries was down 25.2 percent compared with the average price a year ago at $10.702.
 
 
B.C. communities want share of energy project revenues
 
(Globe and Mail; Canada; Aug. 17) - The indirect cost of workers commuting to energy-sector jobs has prompted 21 local governments in Northwest B.C. to band together and press the province for a greater share of project revenues. Representatives met in Terrace, B.C., on Aug. 15 to formalize the Resource Benefits Alliance. Stacey Tyers, the group’s chairwoman, said workers used to move their families into northwestern B.C. towns for new projects but now most people fly in and out for a job.
 
“[Workers] use our services, they impact our social systems while they’re here. They use our hospitals … but there’s no contribution to the community in that regard,” said Tyers, who is also chairwoman of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. She said the “unprecedented” agreement between communities empowers them to work on their shared goal of funneling provincial cash from energy projects back to the communities.
 
The alliance wants a commitment based on a percentage of project profits, and they’ve given themselves three months to get the province to start negotiations. The alliance calculated a 3 percent revenue share would produce $1 billion to cover infrastructure, mitigate social impacts and develop a legacy fund. The communities have amassed an infrastructure deficit of $500 million, Tyers said, as workers stretch capacity to the limit for roads, sewers and water but take their wages back to their home communities.
 
 
B.C. LNG hopeful starts site evaluation work
 
(North Coast Review; BC; Aug. 18) – Chinese-owned Nexen Energy has taken another step in the early days of its proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on Digby Island, in front of Prince Rupert, B.C., with its provincial application to begin evaluating the site for potential development. The Aurora LNG project applied Aug. 5 to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources for an investigative-use license for geotechnical and geophysical studies.
 
If approved, the first phase of work would occur before the end of September, with the second phase to continue through the end of the year. Nexen would set up a temporary staging area for the work, transporting crews and equipment to the site by water taxi, boat, barge or helicopter.
 
The project has been estimated at about $20 billion to build a plant with capacity of 10 million to 12 million metric tons per year. Nexen has talked of making an investment decision on the project in 2017. The company has started its application process with the B.C. environmental assessment office. In addition to Nexen holding a 60 percent stake, two Japanese companies hold 40 percent of Aurora LNG. The proposal is one of almost 20 LNG hopefuls looking at supplying B.C. gas to overseas markets.
 
 
Oregon community debates LNG project workforce housing camp
 
(The World; Coos Bay, OR; Aug. 17) – The North Bend (Ore.) planning commission has extended the public comment period on Jordan Cove LNG's workforce housing camp application an additional 10 days. Following the commission’s contentious hearing July 20 on the conditional-use permit for the housing camp, city staff received an abnormally large amount of written testimony. They weren't able to get it all online until late Aug. 14, and the commission unanimously agreed Aug. 17 to keep the record open until Aug. 27.
 
After that deadline, Jordan Cove will have until Sept. 3 for its rebuttal. The commission will meet Sept. 21 to issue a decision, which could be appealed to the North Bend City Council. Meanwhile, the community debate continues. Boost Southwest Oregon members turned out Aug. 17 to support the project. “This area was built on industry, not on tourism. And I love tourism, it's really great if we can survive on that, but it's industry that builds this city, so I'd just like to see more of it,” said Bruce Payne, of Coos Bay.
 
The anti-LNG crowd also showed up, ready to make their case against the housing camp for the proposed liquefied natural gas plant and export terminal. Simpson Heights resident Ron Wiggins questioned the city sewer system’s ability to take on the camp with almost 1,900 workers.
 
 
Santos on target for September start-up of Australia LNG plant
 
(Sydney Morning Herald; Aug. 18) - Santos has marked a major milestone at its $18.5 billion liquefied natural gas project in Queensland, Australia, that firms up its start-up target for around the end of September, but its shares softened further as the market remained preoccupied by funding concerns and the weak oil price. Santos reported that it had introduced coal-seam gas into the first LNG production unit at its GLNG project on Curtis Island in Gladstone, signaling the huge project is within weeks of start-up.
 
It will now move to start up the pre-treatment units for the gas, then chill down the liquefaction units to start making LNG. Santos CEO David Knox said the upstream coal-seam gas fields are now "fully operational," while the plant is the final stages of commissioning. Construction at the flagship project has been underway for the past 4½ years. At full production, the plant will be capable of making 7.8 million metric tons of LNG per year. Partners include Malaysia’s Petronas, Korea Gas and France’s Total.
 
 
Israel reaches deal for development of offshore gas field
 
(Reuters; Aug. 16) - Israel's Cabinet Aug. 16 approved a deal with a U.S.-Israeli consortium that would move forward development of the huge Leviathan offshore gas field. The controversial deal reached late last week, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes will bring Israel several billion dollars in the coming years from development of Leviathan and two smaller fields, still needs parliamentary approval.
 
The deal will allow Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group to keep ownership of the largest offshore field, Leviathan, with an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of gas. In return for retaining their stakes in Leviathan, the two companies are required to sell off other assets, including stakes in another large deposit called Tamar. Critics of the plan said the government gave into most of the companies' demands and left Noble and Delek with too much power by controlling most of Israel's gas reserves.
 
Israel, which has gone from an energy-dependent country to a potential gas exporter, currently receives its gas for electricity generation from Tamar, which began production in 2013. Leviathan is slated to begin production in 2018 or 2019 and expected to supply billions of dollars of gas to Egypt and Jordan in addition to supplying Israel. As part of the deal, the companies agreed to invest $1.5 billion in the next two years toward developing Leviathan, and also agreed to lower domestic gas prices for several years.
 
 
U.K. to open areas for fracking; opponents vow ‘hundreds of battles’
 
(The Guardian; UK; Aug. 18) - Large areas of Yorkshire, the northwest and the east Midlands are to be opened up to fracking after the British government announced it will offer a fresh round of licenses for oil and gas exploration, covering 1,040 square miles. Areas near Leeds, Sheffield, Lincoln and Nottingham are to be offered to companies in an expansion plan that green groups predicted would trigger “hundreds of battles” over the future of the countryside.
 
Ineos, the Anglo-Swiss chemicals group that wants to lead the U.K.’s shale gas industry, was awarded three licenses and said the latest ones could pave the way for gas to be pumped by 2020. The applications are subject to approval by local councils, which will have 16 weeks to decide. The government promised last week to step in if councils fail to keep to the deadline.
 
The government’s promise to fast-track shale gas in the U.K. comes on the back of strong opposition by environmental groups and a decision by the Lancashire county council to reject an application by exploration firm Cuadrilla on the grounds of visual impact and noise. Both Scotland and Wales previously imposed moratoriums on fracking for shale gas.
 
 
EIA lowers its U.S. oil forecast to $49 this year, $54 in 2016
 
(U.S. Energy Information Administration; Aug. 19) - Amid high uncertainty in the global oil market, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has lowered crude oil price forecasts in its Short-Term Energy Outlook, expecting West Texas Intermediate crude to average $49 per barrel in 2015 and $54 in 2016 — $6 and $8 lower than forecast in last month's energy outlook.
 
Concerns over the pace of economic growth in emerging markets, continuing (albeit slowing) supply growth, increases in global oil inventories, and the possibility of increasing volumes of Iranian crude oil entering the market contributed to the changed forecast, the EIA said.
 
 
Pennsylvania looking at more revisions to oil and gas rules
 
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Aug. 18) - Pennsylvania environmental regulators are making a list of items they want to see in another major revision to the state’s oil and gas rules, just as they near the end of a contentious rule-drafting process that will have taken half a decade when it is finished next year. In an Aug. 12 conference call to announce the final rules package for aboveground oil and gas activities, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley cast his comments repeatedly toward the future.
 
“This is not the end of the process,” he said. “There is more study needed on additional measures, and there will be more rule-making in a separate process, to ensure responsible drilling and protection of communities, public health and the environment.”
Regulators gave few details about what the next round might hold, but they signaled some areas. Quigley said the agency will release more information about the potential scope of the next regulatory package, probably between October and December.
 
Rules to control noise from well sites — which the department drafted then dropped from the current package, calling them “premature” — might become part of a future regulation after the agency develops a best-practices guide, state officials said. Quigley said the agency is “looking in particular at public health protections” as it compiles a list for the next regulatory package “because that is certainly one of the areas of biggest concern.” One source said air quality issues would be covered in the next round.

 

Categories:

8-17-15 Feds Permit Half A Loaf (adding many conditions) For Shell's Arctic Program

17 August 2015 11:46am

Breaking News: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received approval of one Application for Permit to Modify (APM) to conduct exploratory drilling activities into potential oil-bearing zones offshore Alaska at one of the wells at the Burger Prospect, Burger J.  Read More....


OUTRAGEOUS: Alaska's "Socialist Governor In Sheep's Clothing" Begins To Bear All.  See Tim Bradner's piece in the Alaska Journal of Commerce.  We will have plenty of comment tomorrow.  -dh

"Gov. Bill Walker is still pushing North Slope producers for a larger share of the Alaska LNG Project, and may promote a state gas reserve tax as leverage against the companies, state legislative leaders briefed recently on the governor’s plans said in interviews."


 

After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received approval of one Application for Permit to Modify (APM) to conduct exploratory drilling activities into potential oil-bearing zones offshore Alaska at one of the wells at the Burger Prospect, Burger J.  The company remains limited to the top section of the Burger V well.

Shell submitted an APM on August 6 to modify the Burger J Application for Permit to Drill (APD), which previously restricted Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones since a capping stack was not on hand and deployable within 24 hours, as required by BSEE.  A capping stack is a critical piece of emergency response equipment designed to shut in a well in the unlikely event of a loss of well control.  The capping stack, staged on the vessel M/V Fennica, is now in the region and capable of being deployed within 24 hours.

“Activities conducted offshore Alaska are being held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards,” said Salerno. “Now that the required well control system is in place and can be deployed, Shell will be allowed to explore into oil-bearing zones for Burger J.  We will continue to monitor their work around the clock to ensure the utmost safety and environmental stewardship.”

Shell is still prohibited from simultaneous drilling at Burger J and V, in accordance with the approved APDs, which define limitations related to marine mammal protection consistent with requirements established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Consistent with regulatory requirements, a USFWS Letter of Authorization (LOA) issued on June 30 requires Shell to maintain a minimum spacing of 15 miles between active drill rigs during exploration activities to avoid significant effects on walruses in the region. 

Under the LOA, Shell is also required to have trained wildlife observers on all drilling units and support vessels to minimize impacts to protected species.  Shell must stay within explicitly outlined vessel operating speeds and report daily regarding all vessel transits.

To ensure compliance with this and other conditions, BSEE safety inspectors have been present on the drilling units Noble Discoverer and Transocean Polar Pioneer 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide continuous oversight and monitoring of all approved activities.  The inspectors are authorized to take immediate action to ensure compliance and safety, including cessation of all drilling activities, if necessary.  BSEE experts have been engaged in thorough inspections of both drilling units and Shell’s response equipment.

The Burger Prospect is located in about 140 feet of water, 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright.

BSEE’s close oversight of drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea this year is consistent with its continuing efforts over the past five years to upgrade safety standards to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas development.  In addition, building on the lessons learned from Shell’s 2012 drilling operations in the offshore Arctic and incorporating the recommendations of a Departmental review of those activities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on May 11, 2015, provided conditional approval of Shell’s Exploration Plan, which established numerous additional stringent safety requirements:

·         All phases of an offshore Arctic program – preparations, drilling, maritime and emergency response operations – must be integrated and subject to strong operator management and government oversight, as detailed in Shell’s Integrated Operations Plan;

·         A shortened drilling season to allow time for open-water emergency response and relief rig operations late in the drilling season before projected ice encroachment;

·         Capping stack must be pre-staged and available for use within 24 hours;

·         A tested subsea containment system must be deployable within eight days;

·         The capability to drill a same season relief well;

·         A robust suite of measures to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals and their habitat, impacts to Native subsistence activities, and other environmental impacts; and

·         Drilling units and their supporting vessels must depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of each exploration drilling season.

The Department has also published proposed regulations to ensure that future exploratory drilling activities on the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf are done safely and responsibly, subject to strong and proven operational standards andShell’s Chukchi Sea operations are being held to many of standards in the proposed regulations.

NGP Readers may find the APM and decision letter here.

Categories:

7-30-15 Murkowski's Senate Energy Committee Votes to Lift Crude Export Ban and Allow State OCS Revenue Sharing

30 July 2015 6:02pm

Overnight Energy & Environment

TONIGHT: YOU READ IT HERE FIRST!

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed major bills Thursday on lifting the crude oil export ban and its broad energy package.

The oil export bill would also increase offshore drilling and provide revenue sharing for neighboring states. It passed 12-10, along party lines.

"It's the result of collaborative efforts by members of this committee to boost offshore development, allow revenue sharing for coastal producing states and lift the outdated ban on crude exports," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the panel, said of the export and offshore drilling measure.

Categories:

7-7-15 Judge Clears The Way For 2015 Arctic Exploration

07 July 2015 9:50am

Click on one of the Alaska Oil and Gas Congress public service ads above or in the right column for a Northern Gas Pipelines conference discount (We receive no financial incentive for providing this information.  -dh)

We compliment Congress for denying the EPA funds to create new and harmful, anti-energy / anti-consumer regulatory programs.

This Afternoon's Release courtesy of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance and the Alaska Oil & Gas Association:  "Arctic Exploration Program Moves Forward": In a blow to environmental groups that file lawsuits designed to delay or halt resource develop projects, The United States District Court for the District of Alaska recently ruled in favor of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Alaska Oil & Gas Association (AOGA). 

The two parties defended the agency’s Incidental Take Regulations (ITR) for the Chukchi Sea against a challenge filed by Greenpeace, Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other anti-development organizations.  More....


ADN by Alex DeMarban.  

Hilcorp Energy is continuing its aggressive push into Alaska’s oil and gas industry, recently inking a deal to buy the Cook Inlet assets of an Exxon Mobil subsidiary.

Hilcorp, based in Houston, Texas, plans to purchase two offshore platforms from XTO Energy as well as a tank facility and offices in Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula, said Lori Nelson, external affairs manager at Hilcorp Alaska.  (We have noted that large companies sometimes "Buy high and sell low" {e.g. ARCO / Anaconda, recent stock buy backs, etc.}, whereas smaller, more nimble companies, like Hilcorp, may be more able to "Buy low, sell high."  This is not to ignore the reality that Price/Earnings and ability to repay debt and future economic outlook can play large and even decisive roles.   -dh)

Representatives of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), NANA Regional Corporation (NANA) and Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) announce the establishment of the Iñuit Arctic Business Alliance (IABA).

IABA’s mission is to provide a unified voice, collective vision, guidelines and venue for doing business in the Arctic. IABA’s goals are to ensure that their respective regions directly benefit from activity and operations in the Alaska Arctic. IABA will provide the Arctic Alaska Iñuit a voice, with respect to transportation, infrastructure, energy and all facets of sustainable economic development and cultural stewardship.

“It is important that we speak for ourselves with a collective voice. With increased interest in the Arctic, there is too much at stake to let others speak for us. This partnership is a mechanism to make sure it is our message that is being heard,” said ASRC President and CEO Rex A. Rock, Sr.

“Cooperation is our natural way of doing business,” said NANA President and CEO Wayne Westlake. “The planning for this business alliance has spanned over a year and we have now agreed to work together on common priorities.”

President and CEO of BSNC, Gail Schubert remarked, “Global interests continue to focus on the Arctic, and we, Iñuit, have always worked together to ensure our collective destiny remains in the hands our people.  The Iñuit Arctic Business Alliance is the conduit to ensure we lead this effort.”

The three corporate members of IABA were established as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Their combined land base and traditional territories span coastal Alaska and neighboring uplands from the Yukon River Delta to the Canadian border. Together, they own a total of 9.3 million acres of Arctic surface and subsurface real estate and represent more than 31,900 Alaska Native shareholders.

IABA is governed by a nine member board of directors comprised of three individuals from each member corporation.

ABOUT:

ARCTIC SLOPE REGIONAL CORPORATION
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is owned by and represents the business interests of the Arctic Slope Iñupiat. Since opening enrollment in 1989 to Alaska Natives born after 1971, the corporation’s shareholder base has nearly tripled, growing from the 3,700 original enrollees to around 12,000 today. Corporate headquarters are based in Barrow, Alaska, with administrative and subsidiary offices located in Anchorage and throughout the United States. ASRC, along with its family of companies, is the largest Alaskan-owned company, employing approximately 10,000 people worldwide. The company has six major business segments: petroleum refining and marketing, energy support services, construction, government services, industrial services and resource development.

NANA REGIONAL CORPORATION
Kotzebue-based NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) is one of the 13 Regional Alaska Native Corporations created pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. NANA manages the surface and subsurface estate of 2.2 million acres of land in Northwest Alaska. Its mission is to provide economic opportunities for its more than 13,800 Iñupiat shareholders and to protect and enhance NANA lands. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, NANA Development Corporation (NDC), was founded in 1974 and manages more than 30 companies operating in the oil, gas, federal and commercial sectors in eight countries and all 50 states.

BERING STRAITS NATIVE CORPORATION
Headquartered in Nome, Alaska, Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) was formed in 1972 as the Regional Alaska Native Corporation for the Bering Strait region, which encompasses the majority of Alaska’s Seward Peninsula and the coastal lands of eastern Norton Sound. This region is perhaps the most culturally diverse area in the state with three Native languages spoken: Siberian Yupik, Central Yup’ik, and Iñupiaq. BSNC began with 6,333 original shareholders and owns and manages nearly two million acres of subsurface land selected by 17 village corporations.

Categories:

6-11-15

11 June 2015 8:51am

Polar Bear, Photo, Copyright by Dave Harbour

 

Tomorrow....

 

 

Commentator Thorpe Watson advises us to get ready for a medieval lifestyle.  This morning he emails us that:

The G7 countries have declared war on hydrocarbon fuels (aka “fossil fuels”). 
 
They have pledged to end the production and use of coal, oil, and gas by 2100. (The Telegraph  9 June 2015 G7 pledges to end fossil fuel use this century”).
 
In other words, it is a pledge to commit economic suicide and to make us more vulnerable to natural climate change. It is a bleak future as depicted in this cartoon.
 
 
 
Does this mean that Prime Minister Harper has finally succumbed to the wishes of the opposition parties and the radical, foreign-funded, protest organizations; that is, to decarbonize Canada’s economy?
 
It should be noted that the anti-fossil-fuel narrative is driven by the unproven anthropogenic (CO2 induced), global-warming hypothesis.Please be assured that there is no scientific basis to relate climate changes to our emissions of carbon dioxide ("CO2"). The planet's climate has always been changing and is characterized by four major climate cycles.
 
Furthermore, our emissions are insignificant compared to natural emissions and, unfortunately, will never be sufficient to double the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Such a doubling (or more) would be highly desirable for crop production. The store of CO2 that supports life on this planet is at a record low level, having been seriously depleted by natural processes. It is delusional to believe that restricting the generation of this trace gas gives us the power to stabilize the planet's climate.
 
However, I strongly believe that denying the world's poor access to affordable, reliable energy is immoral. It not only condemns them to perpetual poverty but it also makes them more vulnerable to the four natural climate cycles.
 
The G7 needs to take a hard, independent look at climate science and wake up to the reality that the warming campaign's case is collapsing on its merits.  Climate computer models have failed to predict the current 18-year pause in global warming. More important, the weather is well within natural variability.  The proposed solutions would enrich an elite few, impoverish the masses, and do nothing meaningful to alter the climate.
 
It is tragic that this scientific fraud continues to be endorsed by politicians. For example, Ontario is accelerating down the green road to bankruptcy under its so-called Green Energy Act.
 
Any person, who rejects the evidence and supports the anti-fossil-fuel policy, should be prepared to immediately adopt a Medieval life style, which is devoid of modern conveniences and the many products provided by the petrochemical industry (e.g. polyester clothes, computers).
 
We must demand that our politicians stop this anti-fossil-fuel insanity!

Today's Energy Links From Consumer Energy Alliance:

Town Hall: Follow the Trend: Support Energy Development 
A new trio of polls shows what’ll be at the top of Americans’ minds when they hit the voting booths next year to elect a new commander-in-chief – energy production. Surveys administered recently by Consumer Energy Alliance show that more than 80 percent of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – the first three primary states – said that candidates’ energy policy would be a key decision point on how they vote next year. This resonated not only with Republicans but also with Democrats and the much-coveted Independents.
 
MarketWatchPoll: Energy and Infrastructure Will Play a Key Role in 2016 Election 
Recent polling conducted for Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) continues to examine what role the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Keystone XL Pipeline, offshore production and other energy issues could play in the 2016 presidential election. And as echoed in recent poll results from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia reinforced that energy policy will be an important issue when they cast their votes for president next fall.
 
Hot AirAtlantic Coast Pipeline pretty much as popular with voters as Arctic drilling When you think of pipelines making news, Keystone is usually the first one to come to mind. But you may not be aware of another project on the eastern seaboard which is on the way and generating its own share of controversy among domestic energy opponents. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a project being undertaken by a coalition of energy companies consisting of Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources.

E&E NewsEnergy issues will be key for Mid-Atlantic voters -- poll 
Mid-Atlantic voters in a trio of states reported that energy issues will play a key role in how they cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election cycle, while also endorsing a variety of measures to expand domestic energy production, according to a survey released yesterday.
 
Politico’s Morning EnergyPOLL SHOWS KEYSTONE, DRILLING SUPPORT 
The pro-drilling Consumer Energy Alliance has a new poll showing a majority or plurality of voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia want construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline feeding natural gas into the region, more offshore energy exploration, keeping coal power plants running and expanding shale production through hydraulic fracturing. The poll also showed energy policy being a major issue in the upcoming election, along with a tightly packed Republican presidential field and Hillary Clinton leading big among Democrats in all three states.
 
FierceEnergy: Energy policy top of mind among voters 
The results of a new poll by the Consumer Energy Alliance suggests that voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia strongly support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the development of energy infrastructure.  The poll takes the pulse of how these issues could play in the 2016 presidential election.
 
WHSV-TV3Poll: Virginia Voters Support Atlantic Coast Pipeline 
A new poll conducted by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) has found that a majority of voters in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have heard about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and support it.
 
Augusta Free PressPoll: Voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia support pipeline 
Recent polling conducted for Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) continues to examine what role the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Keystone XL Pipeline, offshore production and other energy issues could play in the 2016 presidential election. And as echoed in recent poll results from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia reinforced that energy policy will be an important issue when they cast their votes for president next fall.
 
Rapid News NetworkAppeals court tosses suits challenging climate change plan 
“I wouldn’t put high odds on it, either”, Anderson said, because EPA has been “very careful from the outset in trying to cover their legal bases”. The lawsuits from a coalition of 15 states and the nation’s largest privately held coal mining company claim the EPA exceeded its authority past year when it proposed new curbs on pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
 
EnergyBizCourt throws out challenges to EPA power plant rule 
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed out lawsuits filed by Ohio -based coal producer Murray Energy Corp. and a group of 15 states. They claimed the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority last year by proposing a 30-percent national cut in emissions from existing plants through plans that individual states must design.
 
Consumer Energy AlliancePoll: Energy and Infrastructure Will Play a Key Role in 2016 Election
Recent polling conducted for Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) continues to examine what role the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Keystone XL Pipeline, offshore production and other energy issues could play in the 2016 presidential election. And as echoed in recent poll results from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, voters in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia reinforced that energy policy will be an important issue when they cast their votes for president next fall.
 
New York TimesE.P.A. Takes Step to Cut Emissions From Planes
The Obama administration said on Wednesday that it would take the first step toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes, but it acknowledged it would most likely take years before stringent standards are enacted.
 
ReutersIn twist, Obama emissions plan satisfies industry, worries greens
For two years, President Barack Obama has used his executive power to impose new rules to cut carbon emissions, targeting cars and power plants, buoying environmentalists and infuriating industry. His latest foray - regulating commercial aviation - had the opposite effect.
 
BloombergU.S. Ousts Russia as Top World Oil, Gas Producer in BP Data
The U.S. has taken Russia’s crown as the biggest oil and natural-gas producer in a demonstration of the seismic shifts in the world energy landscape emanating from America’s shale fields. U.S. oil production rose to a record last year, gaining 1.6 million barrels a day, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy released on Wednesday. Gas output also climbed, putting America ahead of Russia as a producer of the hydrocarbons combined.
 
MarketWatchWhy shale producers are happy with this EPA fracking study
The energy industry agrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — at least when it comes to the findings of an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing. Michael Krancer, partner and chair of the energy industry team at law firm Blank Rome LLP said a draft report on the EPA study shows that fracking is “safe,” with “no widespread issues.”
 
Fox BusinessAre the EPA and Anti-Frackers Drinking the Same Water?
The EPA says that fracking does not cause “widespread” harm to drinking water, but some anti-frackers claim to have found evidence that proves it does.  “Anti-frackers are just being clever,” FrackNation Producer Phelim McAleer told FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney.
 
International Business TimesUS Coal Production Will Decline Significantly If Obama EPA's Clean Power Plan Takes Effect: Report
The Obama administration’s signature plan to slash carbon emissions from power plants will deal a hefty blow to U.S. coal miners. America’s coal production could plunge to levels not seen since the 1970s if the proposed power plant rule takes effect, federal energy analysts said Wednesday. The dire forecast comes as major U.S. coal companies already are struggling with fierce competition from cheap natural gas, rising coal prices and waning demand from overseas customers like China.
 
Wall Street JournalExxon Tells Texas Regulators Its Wells Didn’t Cause Earthquakes
Exxon Mobil Corp. rejected any role in a string of recent earthquakes hitting the Dallas-Fort Worth area, saying geological data points to natural causes, not its operations.
 
BreitbartObama Expands Refuge to Stop Oil Drilling – Where No Oil Exists
To buy peace with climate change activists after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that oil fracking does not poison water, President Obama has signed an executive order tripling the size of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, just north of San Francisco. The order bans oil drilling in the area Obama renamed the “Greater” Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The move is merely symbolic, since there are no oil reserves in the area.
 
NPRAmerica's Next Economic Boom Could Be Lying Underground
There's a serious problem in the American economy right now: Big corporations are doing well, but real household income for average Americans has been falling over the past decade — down 9 percent, according to census data. "That's not good for America," says Harvard economist Michael Porter. "That's not good for America's standard of living. That's not good for our vitality as a nation."
 
Business WireCalifornia Dreaming: Water, Energy and Reality
California doesn't have a water crisis - it has an energy problem, according to Joe Petrowski, the managing partner of energy investment firm Mercantor Partners. Petrowski explains that the issues surrounding water are the foundation for the state's energy woes, and are destroying the underpinnings of the agriculture industry and limiting economic growth. As water rates rise and rationing takes hold, he warns that California's economy will take a hit.
 
ReutersU.S. should ditch 'outdated' oil export ban -Harvard
The United States must lift an "outdated" ban on oil exports to take full economic and geopolitical advantage of its hydraulic fracturing boom, according to a study by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group released on Wednesday.
 
Associated PressCalifornia oil spill cleanup costs $62 million
The cost of cleaning up last month’s oil spill on the California coast has reached $62 million so far. An official with Plains All American Pipeline told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the costs are running at $3 million a day, and there’s no timetable for when the cleanup will be complete.
 
Associated PressCourt strikes down rules aiming to cut pollution from Talen Energy's Montana coal plants
A federal appeals court has struck down pollution rules intended to reduce haze from coal that is burned in Montana to provide electricity for people in the Pacific Northwest. Haze reduces visibility and is caused by tiny particles of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.
 
San Antonio Business JournalWhat does the Eagle Ford Shale need more of? ... And less of?
They say that two heads are better than one but the University of Texas at San Antonio's Eagle Ford Community Development Program brought nearly 100 business and community leaders together at an Wednesday conference to decide what the region needs.
 
InforumFracking rule would hurt ND income, jobs, state says
North Dakota stands to lose $300 million a year in oil income and 1,900 jobs if a federal rule on hydraulic fracturing takes effect later this month, state officials argue in court documents.
 
KERA NewsWhy Advocates Who Helped Pass Denton's Fracking Ban Now Want to See It Repealed
When voters in Denton banned the oil drilling technique called fracking there last year, the North Texas city took center stage in a national debate over oil and gas, property rights and the environment. But now some of the same people who pushed for the ban are calling to repeal it.
 
Eagle Ford TexasTexas oil fighting an unfair fight, claims David Porter
This means war! So says newly appointed Railroad Commission of Texas chairman David Porter of the oil output levels established by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
 
Victoria AdvocateDespite slowing production, shale's economic impact continues
While the Eagle Ford Shale's oil production has slowed down, drilling - and in turn, economic impacts in Victoria County - are expected to continue through the next decade.
 
Times-PicayuneSmall players -- not Big Oil -- drive Gulf of Mexico drilling amid downturn
Low oil prices have prompted major companies to slash drilling budgets and delay projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico this year. Oil and gas service companies are now looking to Big Oil's smaller, more nimble competitors to prop up activity in the region.
 
New Orleans AdvocateStagnant oil prices create opening for smaller firms, conference is told
Stagnant oil prices have led some major energy companies to delay new offshore drilling projects while creating an opening for smaller independent oil and gas firms to take advantage of lower equipment costs, industry leaders said Wednesday during the opening day of the Louisiana Energy Conference in New Orleans.
 
Washington TimesNuclear energy may have big future in Virginia: study
Virginia could supply virtually all of its future energy needs from nuclear power and even become a player in the global market to supply power from nuclear sources, according to a new think tank report released Wednesday. The case for the Old Dominion’s potential nuclear future was outlined in a new analysis from the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, which argued that with the proper investments, Virginia could emerge as the newest contender in the international nuclear power market.
 
York Daily RecordYork County to receive more than $420,000 in natural gas revenue
York County will receive more than $420,000 in natural gas drilling impact fee revenue from activity in the Marcellus Shale starting in early July.
 
Observer-ReporterWashington County top recipient of gas impact fees for 2014
Washington County and its municipalities led the state in reimbursements from impact fees paid by drillers in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale in 2014, with the county receiving $6.5 million and its municipalities garnering $11.1 million for a total of $17.63 million, according to a list provided Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
 
Casper Star-TribuneNorth Dakota joins Wyoming and Colorado, oil and gas groups to urge delay in new federal drilling rules
North Dakota joined two other states and two oil and gas industry groups in asking a judge to postpone new rules for drilling on federal land while their lawsuit contesting the regulations moves ahead.
 
Albany Times UnionNew York fracking supporters pin hopes on EPA study
Supporters of the currently banned practice of hydraulic fracturing — or hydrofracking — for gas in New York state haven't given up hope entirely despite a decision by the Cuomo administration in December to continue the ban, which has been in place for more than five years.
 
Canton RepositoryIndustry executives say Utica Shale remains full of promise
Fewer permits are being issued and the number of rigs has dropped, but executives of companies that ship oil and natural gas said the changes shouldn’t be viewed as a sign that folks are backing out of the Utica Shale.
 
The Columbus DispatchFracking tax won’t be part of final budget deal, Ohio House insists
House leaders are largely holding their tongues on the sweeping Senate changes to their two-year, $71.3 billion budget, but they continue to make one thing clear: They will not pass a severance tax as part of the budget.
 
Winston-Salem JournalOpposition to test drilling for fracking faces entrenched power
There is no nice way to say it. The neighborhood where crews are drilling a 1,750-foot hole on public land to look for signs of natural gas isn’t pretty. Walnut Tree isn’t Buena Vista, Brookberry Farm Bermuda Run. Many of the homes along Crestview and Middlefork drives are two- and three-bedroom, one-bath jobs that sit on slabs of concrete.

Categories:

6-10-15 EPA's Latest! - Ohio's Kasich an Energy Disaster?

10 June 2015 9:49am

 

Friday
Polar Bear, Photo, Copyright by Dave Harbour

We Wonder If Today's EPA Announcement Pleases Our Energy Readers: layer this on top of the WOTUS, Ocean Policy, ESA, CAA, CWA and War on Coal MATRIX!  Like the industrious Lilliputians did with Gulliver, is EPA -- under White House direction -- strapping the great American economy to the ground, immobilizing it, pretext to total control of the people and their free enterprises?  Frankly, the EPA's authoritarian use of rulemaking -- to us -- more resembles a well coordinated attack strategy than simple incompetence.   -dh (Ref. 2012 E.O.)


RELEASED TODAY: BP's Statistical Review shows 2014 was a year of ‘tectonic’ shifts

in global energy production and consumption


Yesterday, we linked readers to BP In Alaska, the company's biannual listing the latest facts and figures around BP's ALASKA field data, hiring, community investment, special projects, and more. 


Related to headline above TODAY

1) Bloomberg: Court throws out challenges to EPA power plant rule....  "We are not surprised with the ruling in any way, given that EPA has not finalized the rule. We do, however, think that it is important to note that this is merely a procedural ruling and that lawsuits over the rule will be filed as soon as the agency completes its work and finalizes the rule," said Mike Butler, Mid-Atlantic executive director for the Consumer Energy Alliance, which opposes the rules.

2) Comment: The Out of Control, Anti-U.S., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to find under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aircraft contribute to the pollution that causes climate change, endangering....  More

3)  WSJ re: EPA.  The Obama administration is planning a series of actions this summer to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions from wide swaths of the economy, including trucks, airplanes and power plants, kicking into high gear an ambitious climate agenda that the president sees as key to his legacy.  More.

Kasich A Disaster For Energy?

Could Republican Governor John Kasich, like former Alaska Republican Governor Sarah Palin, be a disaster for the job and wealth producing oil & gas & support industries if elected to high national office?

by

Dave Harbour

Ohio's Governor John Kasich, a likely presidential contender, seems to have joined ranks of the wealth redistribution crowd in unreasonably attacking his home state's wealth and job producing oil industry.

Primarily democrats (including socialist, environmental and other social activists) have long sought to increase already high and discriminatory taxes and/or royalties on the oil industry in Alaska and Canada.

But populist, anti-oil industry policy, as we see in this case, is not reserved for activists of only one party.

We have commented on the danger of politicizing energy policy, including taxation, many times over the years, including this most recent editorial.

Here is what a good, mid Atlantic energy expert friend of ours says about Governor Kasich's most recent pro-tax attack.

Energy analysts released a report on Kasich's tax proposal a few weeks ago, available here.  

The study was prepared by Bernard L. Weinstein, Ph.D. Nicholas Saliba, B.A., B.S., BBA and Sam Lee of the Maguire Energy Institute,  Cox School of Business Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas and sponsored by the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

Our astute NGP readers throughout Alaska, the Lower 48 and Canada will recognize Kasich's tactics and the arguments against launching unreasonable, discriminatory volleys of tax assaults on the wealth and job producing sector which could otherwise be a jurisdiction's best economic friend.

Alaskans and Albertans in particular will find a number of familiar themes.  Their experiences, as we have documented over the years, underline the validity of the majority of the study's observations:

  • Because of the 50 percent drop in oil prices since last summer, and historically low natural gas prices, the industry is currently in recession and retrenching
  • Hiking Ohio’s severance tax rates will have profound effects on profitability
  • The severance tax will not be a sizeable or dependable revenue source for Ohio’s general fund (i.e. unlike Alaska, whose production occurs mostly on state land and whose economy has become over 1/3 dependent on one of the highest taxing (i.e. and highest per capita spending) jurisdictions in the free world.
  • The proposed hikes in Ohio’s oil and gas severance taxes are discriminatory
  • Higher tax burdens on Ohio’s oil and gas producers may retard future investment in the state
Kasich
John Kasich, stock photo
Palin
Governor Sarah Palin, Kasich, Oil Taxes, free enterprise, Photo by Dave Harbour

Conclusion: Kasich (Stock photo) appears to be approaching higher office with a very similar, anti-oil & gas attitude to the one we saw reflected in Governor Sarah Palin's (NGP Photo) populist administration.  

A populist approach to national energy policy could inhibit energy wealth and job production; stifle the manufacturing, transportation and service industries; exacerbate deficit spending and balance of payment deficits; and, weaken national defense capability.

Red State by Eric Erickson.  ...John Kasich does not want to be president....  ...one does not run for President in the Republican Party by hiring consultants who hate the Republican base to run the campaign of a Republican who says ....

Both proclaim themselves to be advocates of free enterprise.  In many ways, both seem to be well-intended and defenders of the national interest.  

However, both have sought to support their government spending priorities by unreasonably, if not unintelligently, attacking the ability of energy investors to increase their investments in a hostile political environment.  

In short, Kasich, as represented herein, seems afflicted with an dearth of diplomatic skill, an amateurish communication style and ignorance of the concept of tax hikes in a low oil price environment.  Such attributes in a national leader would likely be bad news for oil and gas producers everywhere -- not to mention the negative effect on consumers whose jobs and energy prices would likely be prioritized below populist, government spending programs.

(Note: We invite representatives from Governor Kasich's administration or his presidential advisory team to provide a response to this commentary.  Should we have misrepresented any facts, we will make appropriate and timely changes to assure the accuracy of our searchable archives.  We would, obviously, provide the same invitation to Governor Palin, particularly if she is planning to seek national, public office.  -dh)  

 

Dave Harbour, publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines, is a former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and a Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).  He served as NARUC's official representative to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).  Harbour is past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, former Chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and past President of the American Bald Eagle Foundation and the Alaska Press Club.  He is Chairman Emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.


Opinions or viewpoints expressed in this webpage or in our email alerts are solely those of the publisher and in no way reflect the opinion(s) of any affiliated company, person, employer or other organization.


 

From a Mid-Atlantic energy consultant friend of ours:

Ohio continues to pursue an onerous approach to an oil and gas severance tax, driven by Governor John Kasich. This has been an ongoing effort by Kasich since shortly after he was first elected governor over four years ago.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association has endeavored during that time to work with the legislature to adopt a reasonable approach to a severance tax that came close to the model ostensibly sought by the Governor. During that time neither the Governor nor his staff has made any effort to even meet with representatives of the industry, much less work out a fair approach to a severance tax. In the end, Kasich would not even allow the Ohio Senate to vote on the House proposal.

This year the Governor more than doubled his tax proposal, even in the face of horrible pricing for oil, gas, and liquids. It makes for terrible tax policy


 

Today...from your out-of-control, anti-US EPA, add a new layer to the 'enslave free enterprise and prepare for authoritarian control MATRIX':

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to find under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aircraft contribute to the pollution that causes climate change, endangering the health and welfare of Americans.

At the same time, the agency is releasing information about the international process already underway by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for developing carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for aircraft and EPA’s participation in that process. EPA is now seeking public input to inform future steps by the agency. 

For the past five years, ICAO — a specialized body of the United Nations with 191 member states — has been working with the aviation industry and other stakeholders to develop coordinated, international CO2 emissions standards for aircraft. EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration, representing the United States, are participating in ICAO’s process to ensure that any standards achieve meaningful CO2 emissions reductions through policies that are equitable across national boundaries. 

The ICAO standards are expected to be adopted in early 2016. The items issued today by EPA lay the necessary foundation for the development and implementation of a domestic aircraft standard, in accordance with U.S. law and the ICAO process.  

U.S. aircraft emit roughly 11 percent of GHG emissions from the U.S. transportation sector and 29 percent of GHG emissions from all aircraft globally. In 2009, EPA determined that GHG pollution from cars and light trucks threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects. Since then, the body of science on human-induced climate change has strengthened, supporting today’s proposed finding — under a different section of the Clean Air Act — that GHGs emitted from aircraft engines contribute to pollution that causes climate change endangering public health and welfare. Today’s action supports the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions from large sources of carbon pollution.

Today’s actions do not apply to small piston-engine planes (the type of plane often used for recreational purposes), or to military aircraft.

Once this action is published in the Federal Register, it will be open for a 60-day public comment period. Any future domestic actions toward aircraft engine standards would also be open to public comment and review before they could take effect.

For more information on the proposed contribution finding and the advance notice of proposed rulemaking, visit  http://epa.gov/otaq/aviation.htm


BP Statistical Review shows 2014 was a year of ‘tectonic’ shifts

in global energy production and consumption

The 2015 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, launched today, highlights how significant changes in global energy production and consumption have had profound implications for prices, for the global fuel mix, and for global carbon dioxide emissions.

The 64th annual edition of the Statistical Review highlights the continuing importance of the US shale revolution, with the US overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer and surpassing Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas.

On the consumption side, the Statistical Review records primary energy consumption slowing markedly, with growth of just 0.9% in 2014, a lower rate than at any time since the late 1990s (other than in the immediate aftermath of last decade’s financial crisis). Chinese growth in consumption slowed to its lowest level since 1998 as its economy rebalances away from energy intensive sectors, though China remained the world’s largest growth market for energy.

Speaking at today’s launch, BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley said: “The eerie calm that had characterized energy markets in the few years prior to 2014 came to an abrupt end last year. However, we should not be surprised or alarmed. These events may well come to be viewed as symptomatic of a broader shifting of the tectonic plates that make up the energy landscape, with significant developments in both the supply of energy and its demand. Our task as an industry is to meet today’s challenges while continuing to invest to meet tomorrow’s demand, safely and sustainably.”

The shifts in production and consumption had major effects on energy prices as well as the fuel mix. For oil, prices have fallen sharply, largely driven by the strength of supply as non-OPEC production grew by a record amount while OPEC maintained its output levels to maintain market share. Elsewhere, the growth of China’s coal consumption stalled and global natural gas growth was also weak, held back by a mild European winter triggering a sharp fall in consumption.

Renewables were the fastest growing form of energy, accounting for one third of the increase in overall primary energy use during a year in which global primary energy consumption growth slowed. Even so, they accounted for only 3% of primary energy.

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use grew by just 0.5%, the weakest since 1998 (other than in the immediate aftermath of last decade’s financial crisis). The slower growth relative to its average over the past 10 years or so was largely attributable to the changing pace and pattern of Chinese economic growth.

Review highlights – energy developments

Growth of global primary energy consumption decelerated markedly in 2014, even though global economic growth was similar to 2013. Energy consumption increased by just 0.9% in 2014, a sharp deceleration over 2013 (+2.0%) and well below the 10-year average of 2.1%.

·       Consumption increased for all fuels, reaching record levels for every fuel type except nuclear power. Production increased for all fuels except coal.

·       Emerging economies continued to dominate the growth in global energy consumption, as they have on average over the past decade, but growth in these countries (+2.4%) was well below its 10-year average of 4.2%.

·       Chinese consumption growth (+2.6%) was the slowest since 1998, yet China still recorded the world’s largest increment in primary energy consumption for the fourteenth consecutive year. OECD consumption experienced a larger than average decline (-0.9%), with weakness in the EU and Japan offsetting above-average growth in the US. The fall in EU energy consumption was the second-largest percentage decline on record (exceeded only in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009). Energy consumption in the EU fell to its lowest level since 1985.

·       Growth was significantly below the 10-year average for Asia Pacific, Europe & Eurasia, and South & Central America.

·       Oil remained the world’s leading fuel, with 32.6% of global energy consumption, but lost market share for the fifteenth consecutive year.

·       Energy price developments in 2014 were generally weak, with oil and coal prices falling globally. Gas prices fell in Europe, were relatively flat in Asia, and rose in North America.

Oil

Prices

·       Dated Brent averaged $98.95 per barrel in 2014, a decline of $9.71 per barrel from the 2013 level and the first annual average below $100 since 2010.

·       Crude oil prices remained firm in early 2014 in the face of continued large supply disruptions, but fell sharply later in the year.

·       The average WTI – Brent differential narrowed to $5.66 per barrel (from $10.67 in 2013) despite continued robust US production growth, but remained elevated relative to past levels.

Consumption and production

·       Global oil consumption grew by 0.8 million barrels per day (bpd), or 0.8% – a little below its recent historical average and significantly weaker than the increase of 1.4 million bpd seen in 2013.

·       Countries outside the OECD accounted for all of the net growth in global consumption. Chinese consumption growth was below average but still recorded the largest increment to global oil consumption (390,000 bpd).

·       OECD consumption declined by 1.2%, the eighth decrease in the past nine years. Light distillates (motor and aviation gasoline, light distillate feedstock) were the fastest-growing refined product category for a second consecutive year.

·       Global oil production growth was more than double that of global consumption, rising by 2.1 million bpd or 2.3%.

·       Production outside OPEC grew by 2.1 million bpd, the largest increase in our dataset. The US (+1.6 million bpd) recorded the largest growth in the world, becoming the first country ever to increase production by at least 1 million bpd for three consecutive years, and taking over from Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. Along with the US, production in Canada (+310,000 bpd) and Brazil (+230,000 bpd) also reached record levels in 2014.

·       OPEC output was flat, and the group’s share of global production fell to 41%, its lowest since 2003.

Refining and trade

·       Global crude runs rose by 1.1 million bpd (1.4%) in 2014 – the highest growth since 2010 and more than double the 10-year average. Refinery runs in the US rose by 530,000 bpd, the largest increase since 1986.

·       Global refining capacity expanded by an above average 1.3 million bpd, led by additions in China and the Middle East, with Middle Eastern capacity expanding by a record 740,000 bpd.

·       Global refinery utilization remained at 79.6%, its lowest rate since 1987.

·       Global trade of crude oil and refined products in 2014 grew by a below average 0.9%, or 490,000 bpd.

·       Import growth was driven by China and other emerging economies, while US net imports declined. China replaced the US as the world’s largest net oil importer in 2013.

Natural gas

Consumption and production

·       World natural gas consumption grew by just 0.4%, well below the 10-year average of 2.4%. Growth was below average in both the OECD and emerging economies, with consumption in the EU (-11.6%) experiencing its largest volumetric and percentage declines on record. The Europe & Eurasia region (-4.8%) had the five largest volumetric declines in the world in Germany, Italy, Ukraine, France and the UK. Globally, natural gas accounted for 23.7% of primary energy consumption.

·       Global natural gas production grew by 1.6%, below its 10-year average of 2.5%. Growth was below average in all regions except North America. The US (+6.1%) recorded the world’s largest increase, accounting for 77% of net global growth. The largest volumetric declines were seen in Russia (-4.3%) and the Netherlands (-18.7%).

Trade

·       Global natural gas trade registered a rare contraction in 2014, falling by 3.4%.

·       Pipeline shipments declined by 6.2%, the largest decline on record, driven by falls in net pipeline exports from Russia (-11.8%) and the Netherlands (-29.9%). Global LNG trade increased by 2.4%. International natural gas trade accounted for 29.4% of global consumption; LNG’s share of global gas trade rose to 33.4%.

Other fuels

Coal

·       Global coal consumption grew by 0.4% in 2014, well below the 10-year average annual growth of 2.9%. Coal’s share of global primary energy consumption fell to 30.0%.

·       Consumption outside the OECD grew by 1.1%, the weakest growth since 1998, driven by a flattening of Chinese consumption (+0.1%). India (+11.1%) experienced its largest volumetric increase on record, and the world’s largest volumetric increase. Global coal production fell by 0.7%, with large declines in China (-2.6%, the world’s largest volumetric decline) and Ukraine (-29.0%) more than offsetting large increases in India (+6.4%) and Australia (+4.7%).

Nuclear and hydroelectric

·       Global nuclear output grew by an above-average 1.8%, the second consecutive annual increase, and the first time nuclear power has gained global market share since 2009.

·       Increases in nuclear output in South Korea, China and France outpaced declines in Japan, Belgium and the UK.

·       Global hydroelectric output grew by a below average 2.0%. Hydroelectric output accounted for a record 6.8% of global primary energy consumption.

·       Chinese hydroelectric output growth (+15.7%) accounted for all of the increase in global output.

Renewables (including wind, solar, and biofuels)

·       Renewable energy sources – in power generation as well as transport – continued to increase in 2014, reaching a record 3.0% of global energy consumption, up from 0.9% a decade ago.

·       Renewable energy used in power generation grew by 12.0%, and renewables accounted for a record 6.0% of global power generation.

·       China recorded the largest increment in renewables in power generation for a fifth consecutive year; growth last year (+15.1%) was one-third the 10-year average.

·       Globally, wind energy (+10.2%, +65 tera watt-hours) grew by less than half of its 10-year average.

·       Solar power generation grew by 38.2% (+51 tera watt-hours).

·       Global biofuels production grew by a below average 7.4% (+144,000 bpd).

Notes:

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 is available online at:

www.bp.com/statistical review

The website contains all the tables and charts found in the latest printed edition, plus a number of extras, including:

—      Historical data from 1965 for many sections.

—      Additional data for natural gas, coal, hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, electricity and renewables.

—      An oil, natural gas and LNG conversion calculator.

—      PDF versions and PowerPoint slide packs of the charts, maps and graphs, plus an Excel workbook of the data.

—      Regional fact sheets.

—      Videos and speeches.

 


 Today, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool that uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN’s simple to understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience.

 “EJSCREEN provides essential information to anyone seeking greater visibility and awareness about the impacts of pollution in American communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EJSCREEN has been a valuable resource for EPA to advance our commitment to protect Americans most vulnerable to pollution. I’m excited to share this tool with the public to broaden its impact, build transparency, and foster collaboration with partners working to achieve environmental justice.

“State environmental agencies appreciate EPA’s collaborative work on the use and release of this important tool,” said Dick Pedersen, Director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and past President of the Environmental Council of States. “Citizens having access to environmental and demographic data is extremely important in helping states implement environmental programs and ensure public health and environmental protection for all. To that end, EJSCREEN facilitates vital citizen engagement.”

EJSCREEN can help governments, academic institutions, local communities, and other stakeholders to highlight communities with greater risk of exposure to pollution based on 8 pollution and environmental indicators, including traffic proximity, particulate matter, and proximity to Superfund sites. These indicators are combined with demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community 5-year Summary Survey enabling users to identify areas with minority or low-income populations who also face potential pollution issues.

EJSCREEN’s capabilities could provide support for educational programs, grant writing, and community awareness efforts so that users can participate meaningfully in decision-making processes that impact their health and environment. While EJSCREEN is being shared publicly to improve work on environmental justice, EPA is not mandating state governments or other entities use the tool or its underlying data. 

EJSCREEN does not direct EPA decisions; it does not provide a basis for identifying areas as EJ communities, and it is not an appropriate standalone tool for making a risk assessment. As a screening tool, its data may have levels of uncertainty, and is therefore incomplete in capturing the total number of pollution problems people face.

Today’s release of EJSCREEN initiates a stakeholder engagement period over the next six months. EPA will collect feedback on the datasets and design of the tool – as well as how it could be further enhanced – and will release a revised version in 2016.

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.  EPA’s goal is to provide all people with equal access to the environmental decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

To access the tool, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen.

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