Miss a day
Miss a lot

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.



19 November 2014 5:15pm

Is Barack Obama telling the truth about the Keystone XLpipeline?
It won't lead to lower gas prices, nor create much work aside from ... it has no intention of exporting Canadian crude oil from the Keystone XL pipeline.

11-18-14 TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline: "The Medium Is The Message", But All Is Not Lost....

18 November 2014 6:50am

Personal note: en route today from Cuenca, Ecuador to Anchorage....

Globe & Mail.  In Alberta, Jim Prentice, Alberta, Premier, oil sands, environmental, Dave Harbour Photowhere the Conservatives are Progressive, Premier Jim Prentice (NGP Photo) accurately described his province’s biggest challenge in a weekend speech to his party. Alberta, he said, has to find new markets in Asia for its oil, and the only way it can do that is by redefining the province “as an environmental leader.”

CBC.  TransCanada is launching an aggressive campaign to get public support and recruit "advocates" for its Energy East pipeline.  Documents obtained by Greenpeace and shared with CBC News show the energy company is using the U.S. public relations firm Edelman, the largest in the world, to promote the massive oil pipeline project.                  ...

Edelman suggested a "campaign-style approach" and borrowing tactics from opposing environmental groups that "press their advantage" and successfully use online campaigns to leverage "large and passionate audiences that show a propensity to vote and take other political action."  (See our earlier story.)

The Medium Is The Message But All Is Not Lost


Dave Harbour, APR

This CBC story likely resulted from some friend of Greenpeace leaking private company correspondence which revealed an Edleman proposal to TransCanada for a grass roots campaign to bolster support for the Energy East pipeline project.  

Of course, it is like a big fundraising gift for Greenpeace, which can tell its multi-million dollar donors that corporations are engaging in a "sneaky" grass roots program to organize advocates for the Energy East Pipeline.  

The leak gave environmental extremist opponents the excuse/ammunition to say their opponents are trying to manufacture support.  

One can only imagine the hair raising political strategies exchanged by the various environmental advocacies, that could cripple modern society.  

But then, CBC is not investigating those, and that is another story.

Sure, large companies need to organize grass roots programs.  Some of the most effective ones are done with dedicated, 'in house' resources, with little public fanfare.  Others require more extensive and specialized outside resources.  Yes, companies can retain outside strategic and/or tactical support but -- as this instance teaches -- they must anticipate additional security challenges.

Canadian media master Marshall McLuhan had it right when he introduced a novel communication concept, "The medium is the message."

TransCanada and Edleman have unintentionally tripped on this precept.  Instead of being able to quietly and efficiently organize messages and advocates, a leaker in their midst has provided information about a proposal which suggests that, in effect, "We are organizing grass roots advocates by spending a lot of dollars to convince you to politically support us."  

This leak is a case history in - the - making that will be prominently featured in the annals of modern Public Relations challenges.  

It is a classic example of the critical importance of confidentiality in this digital age.

Energy East deserves support on the merits; the merits could convey a good "message" via an effective and voluminous citizen voice "medium".  

In short, TransCanada has a great chance of winning public and regulatory support by quietly and professionally engaging in low key, intense, effective communication efforts from this point on.  

But now, the leak has proclaimed Edleman's relationship with TransCanada and the medium of that relationship is becoming an unhelpful TransCanada message, an unwanted corporate PR crisis.  

Together, Edleman and its client have an unexpected challenge as their opponents will likely try to identify "corporate money" and "PR hacks" as the medium which they hope becomes the message. 

While this leak makes messaging more difficult, a good outcome is still possible, if not likely.  

In the CBC story, TransCanada did the right thing.  Its spokesman, Shawn Howard, affirmed that the company is engaging in a program -- without being defensive.  

Marketing the oil will benefit Canada and the entire free world.  As to emissions, we know the world's consumers will obtain fossil fuels somewhere and we'd rather it come from North America than Russia or the Middle East.

TransCanada should move steadily forward, without missing a step--in spite of the fairly one-sided CBC piece. 

Indeed, TransCanada should know that citizens are aware that this is an age of multi-million dollar environmental and social activism.  

TransCanada should be confident that citizens also know, 1) employers create the jobs and, 2) private income and tax wealth supports civilization, and 3) that companies must defend themselves, and us, against those advocating destruction of our way of life, knowingly or unknowingly.



16 November 2014 3:00am

Governor Sean Parnell, Concedes Alaska race, Bill Walker, governor-elect, Dave Harbour PhotoYahoo NewsGovernor Sean Parnell, Concedes Alaska race, Bill Walker, governor-elect, Dave Harbour Photo.  Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) conceded the gubernatorial race Saturday, issuing a statement a day after independent challenger Bill Walker ​(NGP Photo) was declared the winner.

Washington, D.C.;  November 11, 2014: This week, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed formal comments in opposition to a proposed new definition of the “waters of the United States” that are subject to federal regulation.  PLF argues that the new rule, devised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, defines Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction so broadly that it could lead to practically unlimited expansion of federal control over property nationwide — going far beyond the boundaries on federal power that have been laid down by the U.S. Supreme Court.



15 November 2014 6:34am

Bill Walker wins, Independent, Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell loses, ACES, SB 21, Dave Harbour PhotoHuff Post.   Independent candidate Bill Walker (NGP Photo) has won the Alaska governor's race, following an aggressive challenge to Republican Gov. Sean Parnell that included joining campaigns with a Democratic rival.   ***   USA Today.  Walker Ousts Parnell.

Battlefield over Keystone pipeline heads south

Calgary Herald, The congressional Keystone debates come a day after the joint U.S.-China announcement of new post-2020 greenhouse gas emission targets and is ....  Did midterms give Keystone a boost? - Calgary Herald....  Obama holds veto power over much-delayed project - Calgary Herald....  Full Coverage

11-14-14 Can Alaska Avoid A Perfect Economic Storm?

14 November 2014 3:59am

12:15 p.m. EST.  A few minutes ago the Keystone XL approval bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives.  It should be interesting to see what the outgoing Senate leader does with that bill.  See relevant story below.  -dh

Gretta Van Susteren, Senator Dan Sullivan, Alaska, Keystone, Energy, Dave Harbour PhotoCBC alerted us that the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline today.  (Note: Watch Senator-elect Dan Sullivan's interview with Greta Van Susteren (NGP Photo) last night and, in particular, his remarks about Keystone and other energy issues. -dh)

Dianne Blumer, Commissioner, Labor, job projections, Alaska, SB 21, gas pipeline, LNG Project, Dave Harbour PhotoKatie Bender, publisher of Alaskanomics.com, reports today that, "...(Labor and Workforce Development) Department Commissioner Dianne Blumer (NGP Photo) highlights that Alaska is expected to gain more than 36,000 jobs by 2022. This will increase the state’s total job count to more than 370,000. In the projections, health care and mining jobs will have the largest increase with 25 percent and 24.8 percent, respectively.  

(Insert our commentary: "Can Alaska Avoid A Perfect Economic Storm?"  These pleasant job projections are based on history.  

More comment.  Alaska is in the midst of exhaustive vote counting exercises to determine the winner of the November 4 vote for governor.

We would alert NGP readers that Governor Parnell has played key roles nationally in, among other groups, the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (i.e. IOGCC) and the OCS Governors Coalition.

The IOGCC work, in particular, has placed him in close contact with Canadian provincial premiers whose interests sometimes coincide with Alaska's.

If a new governor should begin representing Alaska in a dramatically different way, national -- and even international -- energy policies will be affected.

We hope that if a close vote finally confirms that Alaska has a new governor, that person will be mindful of not only the big statewide responsibility, but the broader impact of his words and actions as well.


Over the past year and a half, the state's largest investors -- who directly and indirectly propel the majority of non-federal employment -- have based investment decisions on the passage of SB 21 oil tax reform and state support for gas pipeline efforts.  

We have it on good authority that before the election, companies were committed to billions of dollars of new investments in Alaska due to improved state policies.  

With a new administration, critical of both SB 21 and the manner in which the Parnell administration has pursued monetization of Alaska North Slope gas, there is significant risk that investment flows could reverse along with the optimistic job projections Commissioner Blumer has released.  

We also note that Alaska is already using depleting savings accounts to balance a state budget deficit that is based on the assumption of Alaska oil production priced at above $100/barrel.  In recent months, the price of oil has been dropping to new lows -- over 25% lower than the budget requires.   This is due to the prolific new streams of shale oil and gas production, to Middle Eastern oil production policies and to the more efficient use of energy around the world.  

Cutting state spending can reverse positive job projections very quickly.  Oil company spending reductions could combine with state cuts to produce a 'perfect economic storm' for Alaska along with many winters of discontent and out-migration rivaling what we experienced in the late 1980s.  

A new Administration had better approach these issues with a great deal more respect as it governs, than when it was engaged in political campaigning.  -dh)

The projected gain of just over 36,000 jobs by 2022 is a 10.8 percent growth rate for Alaska. This follows the projected population growth of 10 percent during the same period. The health care industry will see the largest increase of jobs due to the increasing age of Alaska residents. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of Alaskans who are 65 or older will increase 79 percent.

The mining industry, minus oil and gas, will be right behind health care in job growth. The expected increase of 24.8 percent will be due to higher-than-average mineral commodity prices and the expansion of existing mines. Many existing mines are expected to grow and there are multiple projects in various stages of permitting and planning. Because of the volatile nature of the mining industry, experts are not able to predict which projects will move forward and there could be significant changes to the forecast depending on mineral prices.

Not only are jobs expected to grow by 36,000 before 2022, there will also be 95,000 jobs that will need to be filled due to employees retiring or changing jobs. As noted earlier, the number of people over 65 will increase significantly in the next 8 years. In comparison, the number of people under 65 will only see a 3.6 percent increase. This will put high demand on healthcare jobs and related services as the population ages.

Alaska Economic Trends gives specifics in a variety of industries and occupations and expands on the forecast through 2022. The full issue can be viewed at http://labor.alaska.gov/trends/oct14.pdf    

Commentary: Note that in the Senator-Elect  Sullivan interview below the question arises as to whether the Keystone XL project will adversely affect marketing of ANS crude carried by the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline.  In our opinion, the answer is, "no", for a number of reasons.  Crude oil, unlike natural gas/LNG, is a much more fungible, world commodity.  It's like asking, "If I poured a million barrels per day of water in the ocean at Key West, wouldn't that adversely affect coastal structures in Northwest Alaska?"  Also, Alaska's oil has its traditional markets which rely on the particular quality of Alaska crude, which is different than oil sands product from Alberta.  Lastly, if the Alberta oil is not marketed through the gulf coast, it will still find its way into world markets, by rail or pipeline, to Canada's East or West coast.  -dh




Syndicate content