Our Friends at the Alliance note that this Friday, May 1st is the deadline for comments on Shell’s Revised Exploration Plan (EP) for the Chukchi Sea. The EP can be found on The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) website at:
Comments are only accepted and considered by BOEM if they are submitted through the federal eRulemaking Portal. Click here to use the Portal.
Points to consider for our comments:
- Shell’s revised Exploration Plan is complete and fully addresses all of the major activities associated with offshore exploration in the Chukchi Sea. The EP should be approved in an expeditious manner so drilling can occur this summer.
- With a sustained level of leasing and exploration drilling activity over the next 15 years, offshore Alaska could yield significant new domestic production by the mid-2030s and sustain this level of production through mid-century and beyond.
- The federal government estimates there are 23.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas planning areas. America’s offshore Arctic oil and gas deposits could be among the largest in the world.
- Offshore development in the Alaska Arctic has the potential to be a significant contributor to our nation’s energy security, as well as a significant source of long-term jobs for Americans. It is estimated that economic activity from the development of Arctic energy resources would create an annual average of 54,700 jobs nationwide with a cumulative payroll of $154 billion over the next 50 years.
- Arctic OCS oil and gas production could generate approximately $200 billion in federal, state, and local government revenue. Offshore development would also help extend the longevity of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which is critical and strategic infrastructure to the nation’s energy security.
AP by Dan Joling. A federal judge (today) will consider a request by Royal Dutch Shell PLC for an injunction against illegal boarding of Arctic-bound drilling equipment by activists from Greenpeace Inc. (We reasonably expect the judge to provide Shell with the injunction; this action would demonstrate judicial support for the rule of law and against lawless behavior disguised as 'protest'. -dh)
Posted: 28 Apr 2015 12:22 PM PDT
The Legislature adjourned yesterday, but the Governor called a special session to address Medicaid and the unresolved FY16 budget issues. Currently, the FY16 budget is short-funded, meaning there is not enough money to pay for the full year. The Senate passed a budget that relied on the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) to make-up budget shortfalls. Using the CBR requires a ¾ vote and the House was not able to come up with the votes to make this happen. House minority members want to restore school funding that was cut from the Senate’s budget.
Many hope that the special session will result in a fully funded budget. Governor Walker has also asked that Medicaid expansion be discussed but it seems unlikely that the expansion will be approved. There will also be discussion about the new bill ‘Erin’s Law’ that will require school districts to implement sexual abuse and assault prevention programs.
The special session will be called to order in Juneau, and then adjourn to regroup in Anchorage. The capitol building will not be available to the Legislature due to planning restoration. Legislators will have a period of rest before gathering in Anchorage for the special session.
Game Changer? New price pressures for public and private sector officials in Alaska, Canada and other oil producing areas -- and new hope for more secure oil supplies for Europe! Thanks to reader Steve Borell for this timely link. dh)
BBC by John Moylan. ... up to 100 billion barrels of oil onshore beneath the South of England, says exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG). ...the firm drilled a well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick airport, and analysis of that well suggests the local area could hold 158 million barrels of oil per square mile. ...only a fraction of the 100 billion total would be recovered, UKOG admits. "We think we've found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest [onshore in the UK] in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance," Stephen Sanderson, UKOG's chief executive told the BBC. More....
Associated Press/ADN. The Alaska Senate has passed legislation that would authorize financing for a gas project to serve Interior Alaska.
The bill, which Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo) has called a must-have, passed unanimously on Sunday. The House would have to decide whether to agree to the Senate's version.
The bill would allow the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to provide up to $275 million in financing for a gas project serving the Interior if the authority approves a project plan. The plan would have to include the source of gas and the estimated cost of the project and the gas supplied to utilities. Regular reports on the project would be required. (We compliment the Legislature for adding these prudent caveats. -dh)
Calgary Herald by Dan Healing. Mullen Group slashed its employee head count by 1,000 — more than 13 per cent — in the first quarter to control costs in its oilfield services division as its producer customers deeply cut spending to deal with low commodity prices.
The report from the trucking and oilfield services company Thursday sets the stage for what is expected to be a series of disappointing .... More
Earlier this month, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimated its members had laid off 4,500 workers so far. The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, meanwhile, said its 2015 rig activity forecast suggests more than 23,000 fewer oilfield services staff would be needed .... More.
ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson Compliments Canadian Regulatory System, Chastises U.S. Administration (i.e. ...with good reason, as we have documented herein. We would also observe that many U.S. and many Canadian decisions affect citizens of the other country, their economy and their very lives. Therefore, as each others' largest trading partner, we should always be aware that our decisions encompass much more than simply "our" economy or "our" politics. Tillerson is right. From personal knowledge we are very familiar with NEB and FERC energy regulatory systems along with state and provincial systems. Sometimes the US way is to be emulated and sometimes the Canadian practice is superior. The trick is for government, like industry, to borrow best practices from one another--and treat each other like the North American family that we are. In the case of the Keystone XL matter, our leadership clearly mistreated our brothers and sisters north of the border. D'accord? -dh More below.) Story: Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Herald; Photo: Calgary Herald/F. Carter Smith, Bloomberg.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), highlighted the importance of reauthorizing and modernizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act so that it reflects the changing needs and evolving viewpoints about conservation in the 21st century. The LWCF was enacted 50 years ago to increase recreational opportunities for Americans. Since then, it has been used to acquire more public lands even though there are insufficient means to maintain lands already owned by the federal government.
“I strongly believe that conservation in the 21st century must include taking care of what we already have – what we chose to conserve first – instead of simply pretending that ‘more is always better,’” Murkowski said. “As we look to reauthorize LWCF, I believe that it makes sense to shift the federal focus away from land acquisition, particularly in Western states, toward maintaining and enhancing the accessibility and quality of the resources that we have. This is the best way to put our nation’s recreation system on the path of long-term viability.”
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pressed the administration on its use of LWCF for only a land acquisition fund rather than using the LWCF to also maintain public lands.
- EID-National: EID set to testify this morning before House Science Committee, releases report on dubious science behind NY HF ban (link)
- EID-Marcellus: PA DEP finds methane emissions plummet as natural gas production ramps up (link)
- EID-Ohio: Belmont County selected for new ethane cracker that will create thousands of great jobs (link)
Thanks to Shale, a New Balance of Power in the World. NY Times. The United States is overtaking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as the vital global swing producer that determines prices. That remarkable change has been building since 2008, as American shale fields accounted for roughly half of the world’s oil production growth while American petroleum output nearly doubled. And shale production methods have proven highly adaptable to market conditions. Not coincidentally, nearly all the advantages of the price swing are moving in Washington’s direction. Most American consumers and industries have benefited from a sharp drop in gasoline prices and other energy costs. And abroad, the economies of oil-producing adversaries like Russia and Venezuela are reeling.
Energy In Depth investigation takes on science behind N.Y. HF ban. Politico, sub. req’d. As its Western director prepares to testify before the House Science Committee today on hydraulic fracturing, Energy in Depth is releasing a white paper that accuses New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration of falling to “political pressure from a well-funded, well-organized network of foundations and activist groups opposed to shale development” in imposing a fracking ban in December. NOTE: View the complete report here.
Beware, 'local control' really amounts to drilling ban. Houston Chronicle, EID’s Steve Everley. For several years now, anti-fracking groups have lobbied for "local control" in cities and towns across the country. They claim to support "reasonable" regulations, but in reality, these groups want to ban oil and gas drilling everywhere.
Drilling on federal lands could get more expensive. Oil & Gas 360. Dan Naatz, senior vice president of governmental relations and political affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), pointed out the inconsistency in a recent press release. “At a time when the price of oil has dropped about 50% over the past seven months and coupled with new federal regulations for onshore producers, the Obama Administration’s proposal to increase onshore royalty rates will ultimately result in fewer American jobs, less energy production, and hurt our nation’s energy security.”
Can this oil baron’s company withstand another quake? Bloomberg. Steve Everley of Energy In Depth, a research group, says, “If you shut down [wastewater] disposal, you’re effectively shutting down production.”
Oil, gas mining operations cited in Okla., Texas earthquakes. NewsMax. Energy in Depth said "several issues in the paper raise questions about its conclusion," and it "appears to suffer from some modeling flaws," and points out studies from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Research Council and the Environmental Protection Agency, which indicate that very few oil and gas operations have been implicated in earthquake activity.
Oil and gas activity to blame for quakes? Houston Business Journal. Steve Everley with Energy In Depth wrote a blog poking holes in SMU’s research, saying a pressure change of 5 pounds per square inch was being blamed for the quakes. That’s about the pressure of an inflated football. It also doesn’t account for the permeability of the soil, said Everley. “While the SMU study released today appears to suffer from some modeling flaws, those issues should not overshadow the fact that the research team has provided all of us with a valuable tool for better assessing induced seismicity,” Everley said in his blog.
Gas activities 'most likely' caused Texas quakes. KETR. Energy In Depth on Tuesday praised the researchers for developing a model that “provides greater understanding of the conditions that can ultimately lead to induced seismicity.” But on its website, it added that “several issues in the paper raise questions about its conclusion.” “The concerns we’ve identified in here are in the spirit of constructive collaboration,” Steve Everley, the group’s spokesman, said.
HF can build an economy. Southern Illinoisan, EID’s Seth Whitehead. If fracking is so bad, why are people flocking to North Dakota at the same alarming rate folks are leaving Illinois? The reason is simple: People go where the jobs are – and North Dakota has plenty thanks to fracking.
U.S. HF costs falling fast, may keep fields in play. Reuters. U.S. oil and natural gas companies have pushed down costs of fracking a shale well faster than expected, and if the trend holds up it could allow producers to keep working in oilfields that just months ago looked uncompetitive after the oil price crash.
Oil slump may deepen as US shale fights Opec to a standstill. Telegraph. The US shale industry has failed to crack as expected. North Sea oil drillers and high-cost producers off the coast of Africa are in dire straits, but America's "flexi-frackers" remain largely unruffled. One starts to glimpse the extraordinary possibility that the US oil industry could be the last one standing in a long and bitter price war for global market share, or may at least emerge as an energy superpower with greater political staying-power than Opec.
U.S. oil industry’s battle cry: exports now! Wall Street Journal. American oilmen have seized on one solution to their financial woes in the face of low oil prices: They want to export U.S. crude oil. Soon.
Half of U.S. HF companies will be sold this year. Bloomberg. Half of the 41 fracking companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International Plc said. There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston.
Romania signs agreement with Bulgaria and Greece on natural gas network. Business Review. On Wednesday, Sofia hosted a meeting on the construction of a gas corridor that will interconnect natural gas networks in Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, with a capacity of 3-5 billion cubic meters per year. Romania was represented by Mihai Albulescu, state secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises and Business Environment.
Could massive EU-US trade deal be extended to Israel? Electronic Intifada. Israel enjoys an extremely close trading relationship with the EU. A deal approved by the European Parliament in 2012 paves the way for Israel to be integrated into the Union’s single market for goods and services. The idea that Israel would be eligible to join TTIP is being mulled over by the cognoscenti in both Brussels and Washington.
Europeans fight U.S. trade deal with fear of HF Under Eiffel Tower. Daily Beast. It will afflict Europe with American abominations on an almost Biblical scale: cheap and dirty food, toxic waste, mind-numbing movies and television, gas-guzzling cars, all while scrapping healthcare and erasing labour rights. That, at least, is how angry European activists are painting a planned trade deal between the European Union and the United States. A legion of horrors has been evoked about an agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which is currently under negotiation.
Fifth of Labour and Lib Dem candidates pledge to defy party line on HF. Guardian. More than one in five Liberal Democrat and Labour election candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in defiance of their parties’ promises to foster the industry during the next parliament.
Noble agrees to upgrade Front Range equipment. Summit County Citizen’s Voice. But this week, the company agreed to clean up its act by upgrading equipment in an effort that could cost as much as $60 million, according to the EPA. Noble alos agreed to pay about $13.45 million in fines and other environmental improvement projects in the region that will help reduce air pollution along the Front Range.
MSU power plant to swap coal for natural gas. State News. On April 8, MSU announced the university will move toward completely cutting the use of coal at the MSU Power Plant by the end of 2016. This decision is partly in response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations launched in 2014, officials said.
HF wastewater well application approved. KOTA. A Nebraska agency has given the green light to a controversial fracking wastewater disposal well project in KOTA Territory. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted in favor of the plan by Terex Energy Corporation to inject wastewater from fracking operations in nearby states.
Commission approves HF wastewater application. Star Herald. On Wednesday, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved the Terex application to allow the injection of up to 5,000 gallons per day of fracking wastewater into an abandoned oil well in Sioux County.
Final HF report being printed, DEC chief says. Poughkeepsie Journal. A several-thousand-page document that will lay out the rationale for prohibiting fracking is "being printed as we speak," state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday. That report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, has been nearly seven years in the making and will pave the way for Martens to issue an order keeping large-scale fracking from moving forward at the current time.
Trucked natural gas to replace scrapped pipeline. Rutland Herald. A New York paper mill is slated to receive truckloads of compressed natural gas beginning next month as a workaround for a canceled underground gas pipeline. According to NG Advantage, the Colchester-based gas transportation company behind the semi-truck delivery route called a “virtual pipeline” by the company, the switch from fuel oil to North American natural gas is expected to save International Paper Company’s Ticonderoga, N.Y., paper mill about 32,000 gallons of oil every day. Deliveries to Ticonderoga are scheduled begin in May.
Radioactive gas pollution? WV Public Broadcasting. A new study of a radioactive, carcinogenic gas has grabbed the attention of news outlets and both pro and anti-fracking groups alike. The study published earlier this month says increases of radon gas in people’s homes in Pennsylvania coincide with the horizontal drilling boom. Some geological researchers in the region are skeptical while others aren’t at all surprised.
West Virginia natural-gas complex is put on hold. Wall Street Journal. Two Brazilian companies are putting on hold plans to build a multibillion-dollar natural-gas refining complex in West Virginia, a project that was supposed to give an economic boost to a state reeling from the faltering coal industry.
Belmont County named site for possible multibillion-dollar ‘cracker’ plant. Columbus Dispatch. It is not every day that elected officials from Appalachian Ohio get to announce the possibility of a multibillion-dollar development. So Belmont County leaders had reason to enjoy news yesterday that a planned ethane “cracker” plant is envisioned for a site near the Ohio River. And they hope the news will be followed in about a year with a firm commitment by developers to build the project. NOTE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Cleveland also report
Group pushes for county home rule, injection well ban. Athens News. A group of anti-fracking activists announced Tuesday they will be circulating petitions to turn Athens County into a charter government and ban the dumping of oil-and-gas hydraulic fracking waste, as well as use of water from sources in the county, for fracking activities, on the November ballot.
Conferees get warm feeling from natural gas. San Antonio Express-News. The blue flame of natural gas glowed at a Houston energy gathering Wednesday, where producers touted the fuel’s virtues, including low prices that present both a challenge to the industry and testament to its success.
Small earthquakes in Dallas-Fort Worth area linked to HF. Realty Biz News. Clusters of small earthquakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are likely caused by nearby natural-gas drilling, suggests a new study by researchers at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey.
We will also be interested in the messages given by BP's Robert Dudley and these CERA Week speakers, among many others:
NARUC's Colette Honorable
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
ConocoPhillips' Ryan Lance.
Daniel Yergin, CERA
Governor Bill Walker today applauded the House and Senate for passing his Gas Pipeline Right-of-Way bill with unanimous support. Once signed into law, SB70 will authorize the issuance of a right-of-way lease for a natural gas pipeline through a corridor in the Denali State Park, Willow Creek, Nancy Lake, and Captain Cook State Recreation Areas.
“I want to thank the legislature today for passing this important piece of legislation,” said Governor Walker. “This right-of-way is a necessary component to building a future natural gas pipeline in Alaska. By setting the wheels in motion now, we will be better prepared down the road.”
SB70 allows of the leasing of a corridor that will be adequate for either the AKLNG or ASAP project. The right-of-way within the authorized area will be approximately 120 feet wide for construction and 53 feet wide for operation under the ASAP project, and approximately 180 feet wide for construction and 100 feet wide for operation under the AKLNG project. Additionally, the bill requires the corridor to be managed as parkland and recreation areas until a lease is issued, and returned to original park and recreation land upon termination of the lease.
Right-of-way leases under SB 70 must be issued by January 1, 2025 and, construction of the pipeline must begin within 10 years of the effective lease date.
-Grace Jang, Office of the Governor