Here's a Happy Valentine's Day Message from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. Keystone XL: Be My Valentine! -dh
Calgary Herald by Rebecca Penty. TransCanada Corp., (TSX:TRP) the company proposing the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, said fourth-quarter profit rose as it began oil shipments on the southern leg of the project.
Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada have submitted a series of draft environmental and socioeconomic reports to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Alaska LNG project.
A few minutes ago, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), released comments describing her introduction this week of legislation that would allow limited oil and natural gas activity within the non-wilderness coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
“For more than 30 years, Alaskans have shown that we can responsibly develop our natural resources without harming the environment,” Murkowski said. “Alaskans overwhelmingly support responsible development in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR – and there is simply no valid reason why we should not be allowed to access the world-class resources within just a tiny fraction of this immense area.”
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Authorizing Alaska Production Act (S. 494) on Feb. 12. The bill, cosponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, would allow development of no more than 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million acres of the Arctic coastal plain – part of the non-wilderness portion of ANWR’s 19 million acres. That is equivalent to just 0.01 percent of the entire refuge.
“The legislation will help ensure America’s energy security for decades and allow Alaska – and our nation as a whole – to realize the benefits that come from expanding American energy production in Alaska,” Murkowski said.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the area is North America’s greatest prospect for conventional onshore oil production, with a mean likelihood of containing 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as a reasonable chance of economically producing 16 billion barrels of oil.
With a resource potential comparable to Prudhoe Bay – the largest conventional oilfield in North America and one of the 20 largest fields in the world – the coastal plain represents an opportunity to create jobs, generate government revenues, keep energy prices affordable, and improve domestic energy security long into the future.
“Production and development of those resources will also prolong the life of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, provide revenues to federal, state and local governments, support job creation, and strengthen America’s energy security,” Murkowski said.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), an engineering marvel that has served as one of America’s great energy arteries for decades, is facing more and more challenges from declining throughput. Closure of the pipeline would shut down all northern Alaska oil production, devastating Alaska’s economy and deepening U.S. dependence on unstable petrostates throughout the world.
“Since the ANWR coastal plain is less than 60 miles from the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, development there is the quickest, most environmentally sound way to increase oil production in Alaska and ensure the pipeline will operate well into the future,” Murkowski said.
Future exploration and development in the Arctic offshore and National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A) also depends on the long-term viability of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
For decades, Alaskans, whom polls show overwhelmingly support development of the coastal plain, have been asking permission to explore and develop the area.
The bill includes strong environmental protections for fish and wildlife habitat and subsistence resources. The bill also ensures strict consultation with the residents of the coastal plain, the community of Kaktovik, as well as the regional government, the North Slope Borough.
“As we continue to struggle with long-term unemployment and an unsustainable national debt, we need to pursue development opportunities more than ever,” Murkowski said. “The shale oil and gas boom on state and private lands in the Lower 48 has been the shining light as our economy struggles to recover from the recession. Allowing limited development on the coastal plain offers us a chance to continue to grow our economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Today's Consumer Energy Alliance News Links:
Bloomberg: EPA's Power Plant Rule Defies Will of Congress, Senate Republicans Say
An Environmental Protection Agency proposal to curb carbon dioxide pollution from power plants would impose significant costs on utilities and ratepayers without providing tangible benefits for the climate, Senate Republicans said.
International Business Times: US Coal Industry Gears Up For Another Tumultuous Year As Cheap Natural Gas, Tougher Regulations Shrink Demand
One of the nation’s top coal producers Thursday unveiled its strategy for surviving another tumultuous year in the industry: Scale back. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. says it will slash costs and reduce operations as demand for U.S. coal continues to shrivel due to lower gas prices and tougher power plant rules.
Reuters: U.S. "clean coal" project demise shows EPA plan's weakness: lawyers
The U.S. government's move to suspend a trouble-plagued $1.65 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) project this month may have bolstered legal challenges to proposed environmental regulations on power plant carbon emissions, several legal experts said.
CNBC: The looming threat to American oil output
In recent weeks, the market has shifted its attention from cratering crude prices to the falling number of rigs operating in American oilfields. But in the coming months, the very life cycle of many of those wells may have many market watchers concerned about output and price stability, experts told CNBC.
Bloomberg: Big Oil Must Ditch Low Profile in Climate Clash: Shell CEO
Royal Dutch Shell Plc will call on the oil industry to speak up about global warming as executives at the world’s second-biggest energy producer fear losing ground to environmental voices.
Forbes: Don't Bet That New Sofa On Higher Oil Prices
Much of that supply growth, of course, is coming from the U.S., where hydraulic fracturing has led to the highest domestic oil output in 80 years. That surge in production has upended the traditional roles in the oil markets and contributed to a glut of supply.
Forbes: OPEC Calls The Tune And U.S. Shale Producers Follow -- By Cutting Production
What happens when Saudi Arabia, the world’s swing producer of oil, rejects its traditional market-balancing role? The job falls to American shale oil producers, which, initial data show, appear to be assuming some of the usual Saudi role of cutting production.
Huffington Post: Keystone XL, Cold War 2.0, and the GOP Vision for 2016
It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs. Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has broken this mold. Before his recent jaunt to London and into the thickets of American vaccination politics, he chose two surprising destinations for his first trips abroad as a potential Republican candidate. No, not Kabul or Baghdad or even Paris, but Mexico City and Alberta, Canada. And rather than launch into discussions of immigration, terrorism, or the other usual Republican foreign policy topics, he focused on his own top priority: integrating Canada and Mexico into a U.S.-led “North American energy renaissance.”
U.S. News & World Report: Company suspending efforts to acquire Nebraska land for Keystone Pipeline amid legal challenge
TransCanada Corp. will temporarily suspend efforts to seize Nebraska land for its much-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline after landowners sued, in what is one obstacle the Canadian company still faces in the 1,179-mile project.
Nebraska Radio Network: Nebraska Senators say Keystone XL debate won’t end with veto
Both of Nebraska’s United States Senators expect President Barack Obama to veto a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The Wall Street Journal: TransCanada Plans to Seek U.S. Approval for New Pipeline Project
The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline plans to ask the U.S. government to permit a new and different pipeline project.
Bloomberg: U.S. Rigs Are Being Idled, but the Boom Is Not Ending
The spending cuts led to speculation that U.S. gains would slow, eroding a global supply glut that sent prices tumbling last year. Oil has jumped 17 percent since closing at a six-year low of $44.45 a barrel on Jan. 28. Improving technology and a focus on the most promising acreage has made the rig count, a closely watched barometer of drilling activity, a less reliable indicator of future output.
The Hill: Proposed next steps for the House Republican energy framework
Although it is true that our energy landscape has changed, particularly due to presence of shale gas and an electricity mix increasingly reliant on natural gas and renewables, I'm not sure that we can also say that our national energy policy has not kept pace. That is, if you think of national policy being more than federal policy.
Colorado Gazette: Fractivists can't control property for free
Extreme anti-energy activists must be shown that property is not free. If it is free, none should feel secure in a business or home. None should count on keeping a car, if it is subject to uncompensated government reallocation. Food & Water Watch, an anti-energy group based in Washington, D.C., took to the steps of Denver City Hall on Tuesday to advocate a full fracking moratorium in Denver.
Associated Press: Colorado Senate Weighs Payments To Mineral Owners
Mineral owners would get compensation from local governments that restrict fracking under a Republican bill advanced by the Colorado Senate Thursday. The question pits homeowners concerned over industrial activity in residential areas and mineral owners who want to develop their property. Sometimes the matter is further complicated in Colorado by the fact that minerals belonging to one person are underneath a house owned by someone else.
Durango Herald: Mineral owners ask for protection
Republicans on a Senate committee Thursday advanced a measure that seeks to compensate mineral owners if a local government bans hydraulic fracturing. But the bill faces an uphill battle if it makes its way to the Democratic-controlled House, where a similar measure was delayed Wednesday after facing criticism from Democrats.
WNEP: Gov. Wolf Makes Case for Severance Tax
The governor`s plan to earmark that severance tax money for education has the support of teachers in Pottsville, where in recent years the district has struggled to avoid cuts and layoffs. But Republican lawmakers aren`t sold on the tax. Representative Mike Tobash questions the taxing of drillers at a time when natural gas prices, profits, and demand are all falling. Tobash says much of the money raised for education will actually be used to shore up teacher pension funds.
Bradford Era: Area lawmakers skeptical of severance tax proposal
Regional lawmakers are responding with skepticism to a new severance tax proposal they say could drive the natural gas industry out of north central Pennsylvania and with it, associated economic gains. “Governor Wolf’s severance tax plan includes a very high rate that I believe would have a negative impact on local jobs and the economy of rural northern Pennsylvania — especially when we consider that Pennsylvania already has some of the country’s highest taxes on businesses,” said Rep. Matt Gabler, R-DuBois.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shale application tabled by zoning board
The zoning board in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, on Thursday tabled an application from a Marcellus Shale gas drilling company planning to begin operations at the eastern end of the township. The decision concluded what was the first public hearing on plans for hydraulic fracturing since township commissioners began a process to revise local zoning laws late last year.
Express-Times: Pa. tax is bad for education, bad for the state
The Express-Times poll that accompanies the Feb. 12 editorial, "Wolf plan for extraction tax on Pennsylvania shale gas is a good start" provides only two possible responses, overlooking a point of view held by the growing number of Pennsylvanians who understand that a severance tax on fracking is bad for education and bad for the state.
Plain Dealer: Proposed tax increase on the oil, gas industry likely to be crippling
When OPEC refused to cut production last November, it was widely considered a move to cripple U.S. shale energy production. When Gov. John Kasich proposed a huge tax increase on the oil and gas industry last week, he should have understood that the effect on Ohio -- intentions aside -- is likely to be the same.
UPI: Oklahoma shale booming
An emerging shale play in Oklahoma is likely on par with rival basins in Texas and North Dakota, even with low oil prices, analysis finds.
KSAT: Texas comptroller visits SA, discusses state budget
Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hager visited San Antonio Thursday, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce. With a newly Biennial Revenue Estimate for Texas in the books, Hegar sat down to talk KSAT 12 about the state budget and what issues may lay ahead, including an unstable oil industry and layoffs in the Eagle Ford Shale.
Star-Telegram: Burton backs bill that would block bans on HF
State Sen. Konni Burton is pushing a bill that would block communities from following Denton by banning hydraulic fracturing, saying such prohibitions infringe on individual property rights. The Colleyville Republican filed a bill in Austin last week to amend the local government code that simply says that a county or municipality may not prohibit the drilling method for oil and gas wells.
Alaska Dispatch News: Shell's plan for summer Arctic offshore drilling clears major hurdle
The Obama administration on Thursday took a major step toward validating the government's 2008 sale of Arctic drilling rights to Shell and other companies.
Bloomberg: Revised Oil-Train Safety Rule Said to Delay Upgrade Deadline
The Obama administration revised its proposal to prevent oil trains from catching fire in derailments, giving companies more time to upgrade their fleets but sticking with a requirement that new tank cars have thicker walls and better brakes.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, yesterday applauded passage by the House of legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border. The House approved S.1 by a vote of 270 to 152.
New U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo) of Alaska delivers maiden speech (1/27/15): Supporting Keystone XL and "Big Dreams"and a federal government that, "ignites hope".
“Now that Congress has spoken overwhelmingly in favor of closer energy ties with Canada, it’s time for President Obama to make a decision,” Murkowski said. “To me this is a pretty simple choice between job creation and greater energy security on one hand or more of the status quo on the other. After six years of review – it’s been 2,336 days and counting since TransCanada first applied to for a permit – there’s no reason for further delay.”
The Alaska LNG Project provided draft environmental and socioeconomic reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is responsible for conducting the environmental review of the project. www.ferc.gov.
US/Canadian Pipelines And A Call For Market Freedom
Free enterprise, like water, always seeks a way out of containment in a natural quest for liberation.
In recent months, we have reported extensively on President Obama's improper (i.e. and totally rational, if one is a no growth advocate) blocking of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
|Town Hall Op-ed by David Holt (NGP Photo), President, Consumer Energy Alliance.
In less than a decade, the one-time feeble U.S. energy sector has accomplished a record-breaking 180-degree turnaround thanks to advancements in new technologies. In fact, at the current rate, the nation is likely to hit production marks not seen since the 1970s.
As such, we now live in a more energy self-sufficient nation, one that is inching closer every day to energy independence.
(We might add to Holt's commentary that the rapid growth of the U.S. toward energy independence is largely the result of exploration and production on private lands. The federal government, as we have demonstrated in these pages, has seemingly done everything possible to block oil, gas, coal and mining activity on private as well as federal lands. -dh)
That project would grant Alberta's oil sands crude oil transit into the free market and provide tens of thousands of jobs in the bargain.
In Canada, political forces in Eastern provinces are attempting to block TransCanada's Energy East project -- another way to liberate oil sands crude.
Canadian officials led by Alberta Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) are putting up a valiant fight against both Canadian and American, political, pipeline roadblocks.
Alaskans are understandably interested in TransCanada's fortunes because the company is a major player in the effort to liberate Alaska North Slope gas -- in today's low oil & gas price market -- by transporting it via pipeline and LNG tankers to Asian markets.
(Meanwhile, some Alaska politicians are seeking to force -- through loans and subsidies -- a gas distribution system into existence whether the underlying feasibility is solid or squishy. But we digress....)
With all the head winds Alberta oil sands crude faces, it is still desperately seeking freedom.
Yesterday, we reminded readers of a concept we reported on two years ago: freeing Alberta crude via shipment through an Alaskan port--in absence of the most obvious transportation routes and modes.
Today, we see Northwest Territories (NWT) Premier Bob McLeod (NGP Photo) is renewing his desire to see Alberta crude head North, rather than South or West, to find freedom via Arctic transport into the world market.
All of this market chatter should convince other elected leaders (i.e. as it has convinced the more enlightened Premiers of NWT and Alberta) that if they truly wish their economies to be strong and if they wish to see jobs created -- other than legions of government employed bureaucrats and regulators that ultimately burden a country -- they should quit trying to contain, delay and over regulate the free market.
If politicians simply can't resist the attraction of manipulating the free market, let them provide incentives to enable its success -- not tons of new regulations and restrictions that limit market freedom.
If our leaders don't begin to respect the wasted resource of a dammed up market, they can expect to see the free market trying to invent more and more ways of liberating natural resources, even though the resulting project(s):
- may be less profitable,
- provide fewer jobs,
- contribute fewer national and local taxes, and
- be much delayed and possibly abandoned or left in a state of bankruptcy.
Holt Op-ed here, and below:
Even Amidst Low Oil Prices, Staying the Course Will Ultimately Benefit Consumers, Producers
2/11/2015 12:01:00 AM - David Holt
In less than a decade, the one-time feeble U.S. energy sector has accomplished a record-breaking 180-degree turnaround thanks to advancements in new technologies. In fact, at the current rate, the nation is likely to hit production marks not seen since the 1970s.
As such, we now live in a more energy self-sufficient nation, one that is inching closer every day to energy independence. While we utilize roughly 25 percent of the world’s oil on a daily basis, about 40 percent of the petroleum we consume is imported, down from 60 percent not too long ago.
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) has advocated for years that if the U.S. continues to develop and explore new energy opportunities in economically and environmentally friendly ways, production would not only escalate, but the economy would also strengthen, as would job growth. Most important, consumers would keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets – and much of that has indeed unfolded.
With oil prices hovering around the $50 mark recently, gas prices have plunged, much to the delight of motorists. Lower oil prices have also been a welcome sigh of relief for other parts of the economy, because when American consumers spend less filling their tanks, they spend more elsewhere, like dining out, shopping, and going on vacations that were once on hold.
But we also know that our emergence in the shale industry has had massive geopolitical consequences. The reduction in the cost of oil is not just an American phenomenon – it’s a worldwide event. Prices are down around the globe for an assortment of reasons – reduced demand and increased supply top the list – and the U.S. fracking as played a large role in this pendulum swing, upping supply and lowering prices.
It has certainly rocked the boat at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has seen its influence on the global oil marketplace weaken dramatically. For the first time in decades, the whims of the OPEC oil cartel are of little consequence to Americans. In response, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, decided late last year not to cut production, keeping prices low. Their thinking is this: Since shale production – which has grown to 4 million barrels a day – is more costly than regular extraction, keeping oil prices low will eventually drive out U.S. shale producers.
It’s a strategic – and expensive – attempt by the Saudis and OPEC to reclaim its market share from the U.S. Saudi Arabia is willing will have its first budget deficit since 2011 and the largest in its history. The billions the kingdom has in reserve are expected to help ease the burden of this short-term pain.
This means that the U.S., even in the face of low crude prices, must continue it years-long winning streak in the global energy sector by diversifying their energy resources and increasing, not decreasing, access to natural resources. While we also start expanding market opportunities for those resources.
Make no mistake: Numerous onshore and offshore resources remain untapped, like an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic waters off Alaska. These resources, and countless more, could heat every home in America for more than 30 years. It would also generate billions in additional revenue, create jobs nationwide, and reduce costs for households across the country.
What goes down must come back up, oil prices included. While crude prices have fallen more than 50 percent since June, causing many American producers to second guess their plans to drill and explore additional resources onshore and off, the drop is temporarily, as prices are still expected to rise later this year.
When they do, we need to make sure that our energy policies and markets are still at the head of the line worldwide, just as they are today. By staying the course and continuing to promote an all of the above energy approach in the U.S., we can help to support the nation’s future economic growth, job creation, self-sufficiency, and national security.
(A strange turn of events when the current administration's FBI investigates anti-Keystone XL extremist environmental planners who could have criminal intent. See Globe & Mail Story Here. -dh)
|See yesterday's report of another possibility: an Oil Sands Alaska Pipeline concept ... that we reported on over two years ago. -dh|
Opponents of Canadian oil say they’ve been contacted by FBI investigators in several states following their involvement in protests that delayed northbound shipments of equipment to Canada’s oilsands.
... Deep Green Resistance.
That group, DGR, calls itself a radical environmental movement that believes the biggest problem with the planet is human civilization itself. It proposes a shift back from agriculture to a hunter-gatherer horticultural lifestyle.
It also proposes a four-step program called decisive ecological warfare, a long-term plan calling for the sabotage and dismantling of planet-harming infrastructure.
The group has repeatedly stated that it wouldn’t participate itself in any such actions. But Lierre Keith, one of its founders, laid out the plan in a speech last year at an environmental conference at the University of Oregon.
“I would vastly prefer to wage this struggle non-violently,” Keith said. “But my blogging will not bring forth the necessary numbers. So given a realistic assessment of what we actually have, the only viable strategy left that I can see is direct attacks against infrastructure. In the plainest terms, we need to stop them.”
ADN Commentary by Tim Bradner (NGP Photo). It’s been months since Alaskans voted to retain the new oil production tax system, but we still hear grumbling that this was a big giveaway to industry.
Time to pound a stake into this zombie.
Bloomberg by Jeremy Van Loon. Alberta is in discussions with Alaska about shipping oil-sands crude through the U.S. state to the Pacific as approval for the southbound Keystone XL pipeline languishes in Washington.
The Alaska plan would involve constructing a pipeline along the Mackenzie River valley and then west to existing ports on the U.S. coast, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said Friday in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Alaskan ports have been staging points for maritime crude shipments for decades.
Our state government is facing staggering reductions in revenue -- about 50 percent from last year -- because crude oil prices have dropped through the floor. Our state finances about 90 percent of its budget with oil money. We’re now looking at a deficit of $3.5 billion but that could grow by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Next year looks to have a similar deficit. Luckily, we have big savings accounts to ride us through this.
But the fact is that the deficit would have been a lot worse had the Legislature not made the oil tax change. Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Kenai, says that had the old tax remained on the books there would be $1 billion less revenue last year and this year. More here....
Today's relevant energy links from the Alaska gas pipeline office of the Federal Coordinator:
- Proposed gas pipeline to Petronas LNG plant in B.C. now at 560 miles
- LNG hopefuls urge Canada to allow accelerated depreciation
- Eastern Canada LNG projects lack local gas supply — and pipelines
- Japan reportedly ready to restart nuclear reactor early summer
- Tokyo Electric, Chubu may combine power plants under joint venture
- Yamal LNG nears 25% completion mark, energy ministry says
- Most of Gazprom’s LNG from Yamal will go to Europe, South America
- First passenger flight lands at new airport to serve Yamal LNG
- Falling LNG price in Asia cuts into European re-export trade
- Cheaper LNG prices in Asia send more cargoes to U.K.
- Lack of cargoes hits short-term LNG charters
- Ichthys LNG still on target to start production December 2016
- China’s oil and gas companies pull back on deals
- Low-cost gas will help U.S. petrochemicals industry retain advantage
- B.C. developer completes purchase of land for LNG project
- TransCanada plans to join oil-by-rail business
- Rail-to-marine oil terminals proposed for Washington coast