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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.  -dh

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29 January 2012 9:25am

ABC News: Boehner: House Will Likely Attach Keystone Approval to New Jobs Bill - Speaker John Boehner says that the House will try again to tie approval for the Keystone pipeline project to a new jobs bill being introduced next week
The News-Tribune: Ian Urbina Untapped natural gas estimates lowered by 40 percent - The difficulty and uncertainty in predicting natural gas resources was underscored last week when the Energy Information Administration released a report containing sharply lower estimates in the Lower 48.
Juneau Empire: Pat Forgey Low taxes for more oil: Will it work this time? - The drilling in Cook Inlet, and the big finds already announced, are part of a legislative effort in recent years to use tax credits to have the state pick up much of the cost of new exploratory drilling.
Fairbanks Daily News–Miner: Ross Adkins Propane, a bridge to gas: Obtaining 'wasted' product from Slope could be the key - Harold Heinze, the outgoing CEO of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, says that there is an abundance of propane on the North Slope readily available for use.
Oil Online: Oil majors launch spill response program - The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) announced the formation of the Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Program (JIP) at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway.


28 January 2012 11:37am

Fox Business: Conoco To Shut Down More Natural Gas Output In '12 Due To Lower Prices - Conoco Phillips (COP) said Wednesday it plans to shut in only a small portion of its natural-gas production in Canada and the lower 48 states due to lower commodity prices as the bulk of its production is tied to oil liquids output and is still profitable.
AOL Energy: Margaret Ryan No More Slow Boat To China For US Liquefied Natural Gas - Widening of the Panama Canal, due to be completed in 2014, will allow most LNG tankers to transit the isthmus and make natural gas from Gulf of Mexico ports "instantly economic" to transport to high-price Asian markets.
Industrial Fuels and Power: Ian McInnes The Arctic – gold rush tempered by harsh corporate realities - Climate change is opening up one of the last frontiers for hydrocarbons on our planet. The Arctic could hold around 25% of undiscovered oil and gas reserves and the fact that the ice is retreating for whatever reason means that the region could be set for rapid change and development as exploration, production and infrastructure will have an inevitable, irreversible impact. (Comment:  The Arctic will be opened for exploration for hydrocarbons regardless of what the climate does. - AG)
Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects: Bill White  The three worlds of natural gas prices - Buyers of natural gas pay a vastly lower price in Europe than they pay in Japan. In the United States, the natural gas price is vastly lower yet. This wild disparity in prices is a relatively new phenomenon.


26 January 2012 7:39pm

Energy Digital:  The return to the gulf - But according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (NGP Photo), the new five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), including frontier areas such as the Arctic. In addition to the Gulf, offshore drilling in Alaska will recommence under the supervision of the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). 
Fairbanks Daily News Miner: by FDNMstaff Lawmakers share alternative vision for oil tax reform - At the start of the first full week of the 2012 legislative session, Democratic lawmakers are outlining what they see as meaningful tax reform on oil producers, an issue that will be a key focus of this year’s session.
Digital journalNancy Houser  China and Canada meet for Keystone XL pipeline partnership - Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing for a return visit to China, to meet with China's ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, in two weeks. On the table will be Alberta's vast oil reserves and Canada's Keystone XL pipeline, both vital to China's growth and booming economy.
KTUUJason Lamb  New In-State Natural Gas Pipeline Legislation Introduced in Juneau House - Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) and Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) have introduced the legislation that would, in part, turn three current legislative bills into one, in an effort to address Alaskans' energy needs.
Herald–TribuneMatthew Daily  State: 'Serious' questions on GOP pipeline bill - A Republican bill that would strip President Barack Obama of his authority to decide on a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline raises "serious" legal questions, the State Department said Wednesday in objecting to the bill.  (Comment:  This means that this plan is real and the House may very well proceed with legislation forcing the Obama administration to approve Keystone XL. - AG)

1-26-12 It's All About "Investment Climate" in Alaska and Canada

26 January 2012 8:33am

See How Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver Supports Greater Investment

See Senator Cathy Giessel's Investment Climate Commentary

See Steve Forbes' Alaska Investment Climate Commentary

See CEA Energy News Links - Congressman Doc Hastings Says Obama Rhetoric Wrong

Alaska Airlines Is Ejecting Passenger Prayer Cards!
Alaska Dispatch Commentary

Alex Gimarc, ACES, AGIA, by Dave Harbour, Alaska oil taxes

Invest in Alaska?

Commentary by

Alex Gimarc


Some Alaska Legislators are working furiously to counterbalance Governor Sean Parnell’s call for a cut in taxes on oil production from the North Slope. 
Hollis French, Alaska State Senate, by Dave Harbour, ACES, AGIAEarlier this week, Senator Hollis French (NGP Photo) gave a floor speech expressing his views on a repeal of the ACES tax on oil produced from North Slope oil fields.  In the speech, he demanded that the producers specifically provide a list of all projects that they are unable to do under the existing tax structure.  Along with that list, they are to provide how much each project will cost and how much oil it is intended to produce.   
Essentially, French proposes burying the producers under yet another requirement to provide a pile of paperwork detailing what they want to do an what they expect to get out of new projects.  After creating the paperwork, the producers are expected to show up, hat in hand, and await a ruling from on High.   (Cartoon by Chad Carpenter, for this webpage, 1-27-12)
Is this the way to treat those who invest in Alaska?  Senator French is tempting the producers to take their investment dollars – and taxes and royalties paid to the State of Alaska – elsewhere.  Senator French is simply making it more expensive and risky to invest in our state.
Not to be outdone, Representative Les Gara (NGP Photo) isLes Gara, Alaska State House of Representatives, ACES, AGIA proposing legislation that will get the State into the business of industrial planning in the oil patch.  He has proposed the Alaska Oil Production Enhancement Act, which has provisions that require the producers to make new investments in the State in return for tax cuts.
Industrial planning has never worked.  It will not work on the North Slope either.  
Fortunately, Representative Gara’s legislation has little chance of making it through the House. 
Unfortunately, Senator French’s worldview represents the majority view in the Senate, which does not bode well for any hope this session of rolling back the ACES economic disaster or encouraging a greater degree of investor confidence in our state.

Sen. Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo), R-Anchorage, yesterday addressed the State Senate about the just-released jobs study by Juneau-based McDowell group, which comparesSenator Cathy Giessel, ACES, AGIA, Alaska oil taxes Alaska North Slope job numbers with production.
“The McDowell report confirms that, yes, employment numbers are up on the North Slope, but unlike in past decades, production per worker is way down,” Giessel said. “At peak production of more than 2 million barrels per day in the pipeline, the ratio of what each worker produced was 200,000 barrels per year. Now, the ratio has dropped to 27,000 barrels per worker per year. In other words, it takes nearly eight times as many workers to produce that 200,000 barrels of oil.
“The argument that all is well on the North Slope, based on employment numbers, is specious,” Giessel said. “Production is what brings wealth to state government. Production is declining by 7-8 percent per year. Our focus must be on increasing production. Increased production brings with it more job opportunities for Alaskans, in good-paying jobs.”
Senator Giessel also noted that, even though North Slope job numbers are up a modest number, other oil producing areas have added tens of thousands of jobs. She cited Alberta, where tar sands production is fueling a huge boom, has 60,000 openings.
“This is oil that would have filled the Keystone pipeline, if the Obama administration had not rejected that project,” Giessel said. “The pipeline itself would have generated tens of thousands of construction  and operating jobs.”
The study, requested by the Senate Labor and Commerce committee, was paid for by the Senate Finance committee, at a cost of $175,000. Find the McDowell report here:
Listen to Sen. Giessel’s comments under Special Orders here:

Steve Forbes, Alaska oil taxes and economy, publisher forbes magazine, by Dave HarbourYesterday, at the Annual Anchorage Economic Development Corporation economic forecast luncheon, Forbes Magazine publisher, Steve Forbes (NGP Photo),  said, "The Alaska energy tax structure is (among) the worst in the world; I could only find one worse, North Korea."  We will provide a more detailed report of that meeting tomorrow.  -dh




Calgary Herald by Rebecca Penty.  Ottawa is moving quickly to mandate expedited reviews of new industrial projects in Canada.  Legislative and regulatory changes, including strict timelines for assessment, will be introduced this year, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Wednesday, a commitment that drew support from industry and the Alberta government but criticism from environmental groups.  Warning that lengthy reviews cause investment dollars to leave Canada, Oliver told a Calgary business audience he wants "expeditious" assessments of economy-boosting mining and energy projects, and is working to eliminate overlap of environmental reviews.

Consumer Energy Alliance National Energy Policy News Links:
Oil & Gas Journal: SOTU: Obama pledges to open more offshore acreage, promote gas **David Holt & CEA mentioned in article**
US President Barack Obama will direct his administration to open more than 75% of the nation’s potential offshore oil and gas resources for development, he said in his 2012 State of the Union address. “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will do everything it can to safely develop this energy,” he added.
Big Government: Obama’s State of the Union Energy Claims Undercut by Record **Op-ed by David Holt**
Tuesday’s State of the Union address is noteworthy because it appears to signal a change in the Administration’s approach to US energy development. If so, this is welcome news. Truly embracing an “all of the above” energy strategy that allows for the robust development of our oil and natural gas resources in the immediate term would boost economic development, lessen our dependence on hostile oil regimes, and save American consumers from record-high fuel costs.
Observer-Reporter: Shale group encouraged by Obama mention **CEA mentioned in article**
The region's largest natural gas trade group has expressed optimism about President Congressman Doc Hastings, Obama, Energy Policy, Alaska oil and gas, OCS, by Dave HarbourObama's support of shale gas production he mentioned Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address. Prior to the president's address, Kathryn Klaber, president of the Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, which has nearly 300 members from the natural gas drilling, production and supply chain, told reporters from the news and trade media she was pleased Obama was including natural gas as part of a strategy to make America energy independent.

Meanwhile, Congressman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo-r-above) says Obama's Rhetoric is not matched by action.


1-25-12 In State Gas Pipeline Group Meets Tonight In Anchorage - Alaska Airlines Ejects Prayer Card

25 January 2012 7:41am

Dan Fauske, AGDC, ASAP, Alaska Instate Gas Pipeline, AGIATONIGHT!  Anchorage: January 25, 2012, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Crowne Plaza, mid-town Anchorage at the corner of International Airport Road and C Street.  A project overview and update will be provided by Dan Fauske (NGP Photo) and members of the ASAP team will be present to answer Project questions.  The public is encouraged to attend and learn about the ASAP project. Refreshments will be served.

Comment: Today, Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines Logoannounced it has unilaterally canceled its over three decade long tradition of providing prayer cards for meals.  It did not query its customers in general nor its 'Gold' members for their opinions.  One wonders if Alaska Air's esteemed Alaska advisory groups weighed in.   Its reasoning lacks logic and common sense and could become a classic text book case of a marketing and public relations disaster, a 'pr boomerang'.   (If it had only said, "We're eliminating the prayer card because to counterbalance rising fuel costs we were forced to cut many non-essential operational expenses like this," the management would have at least had the appearance of honesty.)   Here is a link.   Here is a link to the Alaska Air Prayer Face Book page established several years ago by Pastor Kent Redfern, Muldoon Community Assembly (NGP Photo)  -dh

ADN/AP.   Rep. Les Gara (NGP Photo) Introduces Oil Tax Bill. Les Gara, Alaska House of Representatives, Oil Taxes, ACES, HB 110 Oil companies would need to invest in Alaska before getting a tax break under legislation proposed by an Anchorage Democrat.The measure, HB231, would provide tax breaks for exploration in new fields, investing in processing facilities and increasing well-related expenditures.

ADN by Becky Bohrer.  House Speaker Mike Chenault and Rep. Mike Hawker see the bill as empowering the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC, which is leading the effort to advance an in-state line. The measure, among other things, would incorporate three existing bills, including one establishing a fund for pipeline work.  Chenault and Hawker have supported an in-state line as a way to help meet energy needs in Alaska's most populous region. Chenault, R-Nikiski, said this bill, HB9, would not sanction a project, but rather would allow AGDC to get to the sanctioning stage, the point at which the Legislature would say build it, or don't.  Dan FauskeAlaska Governor Sean Parnell by Dave Harbour, Oil Taxes, AGDC, AGIA, ACES, OCS, State of the State, Alliance, AGDC president, said he's hoping for sanctioning by 2015. The group is aiming for a year-long open season, or period of courting gas producers, seeking commitments, beginning next January. On this timeline, and assuming the project gets the go-ahead, the goal is for first gas in the fall of 2018.  This comes as Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) seeks to jump-start efforts to advance a major line that would carry gas from the North Slope to market.   *    See Dispatch Story by Alex DeMarban.  


Time Business: Michael Sivy The unlikely green alternative to the Keystone pipeline? Railroads  - Whichever side is right in this argument, one beneficiary is clear: Railroads. Quite simply, some of the oil that would have been moved through the pipeline will now have to go by tanker car. If oil is more expensive or less available in some places, that will encourage the use of low-sulfur coal. Either way, it means more hauling business for the Big Rails, especially Burlington Northern, now owned by Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway.   (Comment:  this is the first of what I expect to be many articles defending cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The largest problem with rail, other than the sheer expense of hauling oil, is that the capacity to haul the sheer volume of heavy crude from Alberta in heated tank cars simply does not exist.  And when the more efficient, low cost solution of a pipeline to Texas is eventually approved, the new heated tank cars will no longer have product to carry. - AG)

CBC News: Pipeline only the start to supplying Asia, report says  - A new report prepared for the province by the University of Alberta's China Institute suggests the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will be only a first step in meeting the surging demand in Asian markets.

Reuters: Nichole Mordant and Jeffery Jones Ottawa sees itself as protector of oil sands benefits  - As about 50 protesters demonstrated noisily outside, Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, said in Vancouver that "environmental and other radical groups" are indiscriminately opposing any and all large industrial projects and are using Canada's regulatory system as their main battleground.  (Comment:  The action of continuing political battles in the courts and regulatory agencies by environmentalists has been called "lawfare.." - AG)

Wall Street Journal Market Watch: Bill Mann New route for Alberta oil: Northward?  - The Mackenzie, Slave and Athabasca Rivers could bring oil and pipeline equipment from the Arctic or Hudson Bay right into the heart of Alberta, where the oil sands are. There’s only one hitch — a series of four Slave River rapids up by the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.


The Hill: Obama speech steers clear of Keystone pipeline rejection, Solyndra failure  -  President Obama made no mention in his State of the Union address Tuesday of his decision to reject the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline or the federal loan guarantee to failed solar firm Solyndra.Obama rejected the pipeline last week under a GOP provision in December’s payroll tax cut law that required a decision on Keystone by Feb. 21. 

The Hill: Obama’s offshore drilling pledge re-states existing plan  -  President Obama’s State of the Union speech endorsed expanded offshore oil-and-gas drilling but didn’t alter existing administration plans that energy companies and Republicans complain are too narrow. Obama, in his speech, called for continued increases in U.S. oil production. “Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil-and-gas resources,” Obama said in the Capitol.
AP: Natural gas price rebounding from 10-year low  -  Natural gas prices are rebounding from 10-year lows as producers cut back and colder weather forces homeowners to turn up the heat. The price of natural gas futures rose Tuesday for the third straight trading day, adding 3 cents to finish at $2.55 per 1,000 cubic feet. The futures contract dropped as low as $2.32 on Thursday, the lowest since Feb. 25, 2002.
Bloomberg: Obama Stance on Fossil Fuel Angers Industry  -  President Barack Obama is taking credit for higher U.S. oil and gas production and lower imports, angering industry groups and Republicans who say he is working against domestic energy production. American energy will be a major theme of Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress tonight, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said in a briefing yesterday.
In his final State of the Union address before the 2012 election, President Obama did not shy away from some of the same energy and environmental issues that Republicans have said would be among his greatest weaknesses this fall. Obama referenced both his stalled climate change initiative and the bankrupt Solyndra solar energy company last night while chiding Congress for inaction on a host of energy issues. 
President Obama made the case Tuesday night for producing more of the United States’ energy supplies domestically in pursuing an “all-of-the-above” approach to further bolster the economy and national security. Speaking to a joint session of Congress in his third State of the Union address, Obama called for policies that harness a mixture of fossil-fuel and alternative energy resources.
The Houston Chronicle: State Department official defends Keystone rejection  -  A top State Department official today will blast a Republican bill that would circumvent the administration’s denial of a permit for Keystone XL and hand approval of the pipeline to a different agency. Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, the point person on Keystone XL, will defend her department’s rationale for recommending against a permit for the pipeline before a House panel, according to written testimony.
The Houston Chronicle: Big Oil had good 2011, despite 4th-quarter slump  -  After gangbuster results earlier in 2011, giant integrated energy companies are set to report lackluster fourth-quarter earnings starting Wednesday, and it has a lot to do with the price of oil in London. “The fourth quarter is going to be poor,” said Mark Gilman, an oil and gas analyst with the Benchmark Group. “The refining side is going to see very poor results.”

1-24-12 - The Alaska Oil & Keystone Debates Are Alive & Well - N.D. Commissioner Headed to FERC

24 January 2012 7:47am


Politico.  North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark (NGP Photo-r) is being nominated for an opening on FERC.  Sen. John Hoeven tells Jack Dalrymple, Tony Clark, FERC, North DakotaThe Associated Press that President Barack Obama will nominate Clark later Monday.  Clark would have to be confirmed by the Senate to take the job. FERC has five members; the commission now has one opening that's reserved for a Republican.  The agency regulates interstate oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and sales of natural gas and wholesale electric power.  Clark's term on the North Dakota commission ends this year, and he's not running for reelection. If he resigns before his North Dakota term ends, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (NGP Photo) will appoint his successor.  *   See Bismarck Tribune Story by Dale Wetzel.  President Barack Obama on Monday nominated North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark for an opening on a federal regulatory board that oversees natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and the reliability of the nation's power grid.  (Comment:  Your author has had the pleasure of knowing Commissioner Tony Clark for a number of years.  He is highly respected by his colleagues and currently serves as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).  He represents a state with varied natural resources, including oil and gas production, expected to surpass Alaska's declining output within a few years, and is sensitive to Canadian-American energy relationships.  -dh)

ADN/PNA by Westly Loy.  The topic for the day is Point Thomson, a heavyweight legal struggle between the state and the oil giant for control of a lucrative oil and gas field on Alaska's North Slope.  The Alaska Supreme Court is ready to hear oral arguments from the two sides, with West High School in Anchorage as the venue. The justices occasionally take their proceedings out of the courtroom and into the community under an initiative called "Supreme Court Live."

Brad Keithley Op-Ed (NGP Photo-L).  In an interviewBill Wielechowski, Alaska Senate, tax debate, tea party, ACES published in this week’s PetroleumBrad Keithley, ACES, Oil and Gas Taxes, Alaska News (“Wielechowski remains critical of HB 110 “), Senator Bill Wielechowski (NGP Photo) argues that, under their state oil & gas leases, producers are required to undertake additional drilling when they can make a “reasonable profit.”     This repeats an argument I first heard the Senator make repeatedly at a debate earlier this monthCathy Giessel, Tea Party Debate, oil taxes, ACES, Alaska State Senate with Senator Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo) and which he then repeated in a subsequent, extended exchange on Facebook  following that debate.  (“The leases … say they must produce, drill, develop when they can make a reasonable profit.”).  The problem?  The leases which cover the vast majority of the existing North Slope fields don’t say what Senator Wielechowski says they do.

The Hill: Ben Geman CRS Report: Congress can require Keystone pipeline approval
The Jan. 20 CRS legal analysis notes that while the executive branch has historically handled the approval of border-crossing facilities, it doesn’t have to be that way. “[I]f Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce,” the analysis states.
Calgary Herald: Rebecca Penty TransCanada considers new plans: Keystone pipeline may be built in stages in U.S. first
TransCanada Corp. is considering building U.S. portions of its Keystone XL pipeline and later seeking approval of an Alberta link to circumvent the Obama administration's rejection of the $7-billion project.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Jim Efstathiou Keystone XL pipeline seen moving ahead on alternative route
TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline still will move ahead with an alternate route after President Barack Obama’s decision to deny a permit, investors, public officials and analysts say.
Toronto Sun: Simon Kent Harper will clear the decks on oil
Harper’s government recognizes venture capital follows opportunity and unless Canada can ensure the development and sale of product from the oil sands, it will be left behind.
Startribune.com: Canada's oil: What goes around
Soon after President Obama chose to delay a U.S. decision last year on a proposed Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline called Keystone XL, Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, warned that his country would not be left at the altar.

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