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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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5-9-15 Shell in Everett

09 May 2015 4:44pm

This weekend, It's All About Shell!

ADN.  Greenpeace protesters must stay away from Royal Dutch Shell’s drill ships and support vessels, the anchor lines and buoys attached to them and the Barrow airport hangar and terminal that Shell is seeking to use to support its planned oil-exploration operations in the Chukchi Sea, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Greenpeace activists are even prohibited from flying drones this summer and fall over the offshore Arctic area where Shell plans to drill, according to the injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason.

MORE SHELL/SEATTLE BACKGROUND FROM PETROLEUM NEWS, ALAN BAILEY.  In the latest challenge to Shell’s planned 2015 Chukchi Sea drilling program, the mayor of Seattle has ruled that the city’s port must obtain a new land use permit, if Shell is to use the port as a West Coast base for its Arctic operations. 

K5News.  The Noble Discoverer, the drill ship that's part of Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic drilling fleet, will arrive in Everett next week. That's according to the Port of Everett.

The Seattle Times reports that Shell confirmed on Thursday that the ship will load and unload supplies in Everett before it heads to Seattle.

5-8-15 "Danger Stranger"

08 May 2015 12:51pm

Will the Seattle Port Authority’s Independence Survive Mayor Murray’s Political Influence?


Dave Harbour

On Tuesday and Wednesday we commented on an unbelievable act of the mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, causing us to think, "Danger Stranger".  

In other news today:

  • WSJ: Could climate change politics strand energy reserves?  (Today's news points in that direction.  -dh)
  • Seattle Times Editorial: Murray insists that he’s a strong supporter of the port and maritime industry. But if the city’s move blocks Shell and scuttles the port’s lease with Shell’s partner Foss Maritime, it could permanently tarnish the reputation of Seattle’s struggling port and put the city’s future as a maritime hub in question.
  • The Stranger
  • First Nation rejects BC LNG project
  • Alberta Energy industry nervous about NDP election win

Seattle has long been critical of Alaska while not hesitating to reap her wealth.  

But we are shocked at this action, this "strange new danger" of a Mayor attempting to block interstate commerce for admitted, political reasons.  It resembles the President's rejection the the Keystone Pipeline for similar political reasons, though the project had State Department support.  

The mayor used a convoluted "climate change" rational to thwart a decision of Seattle's "independent" Port Authority to accommodate vessels bound for oil and gas exploration in the Alaskan Arctic.

While Shell and its contractors may well have a backup plan to use another port, many Alaskans consider it in their interest to challenge this decision for broader reasons. 

The respected Resource Development Council for Alaska has urged its members to provide input to Seattle Port Authority Commissioners and has noted that, “… it creates uncertainty and sends a signal to maritime companies that a lease with the Port may be targeted by special interests and local politicians in the eleventh hour, even as vessels are en route to the region.”  The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and Alaska Support Industry Alliance  have also encouraged their members to communicate with Port Commissioners. 

See this excellent CNBC review and background piece by AP writer, Dan Joling.

The federal government sold oil and gas leases to Shell Oil and the project moves slowly forward only as regulators grant permits.  The application for permits and the granting or denial thereof is part of America's Constitutional system of due process.  Due Process is one of many Constitutional principles and legal protections which we sometimes think of as, "the rule of law". 

On a local level, Shell Oil's contractor contracted with the "independent" Port Authority for seaport services.  The actions of the mayor--in addition to confounding local due process and threatening the entire success of the Arctic exploration project--could have unanticipated effects on Seattle:

  • The Mayor's use of the permitting process to forward an admitted, political agenda could affect the credit rating of the Port of Seattle, which was created to be an "Independent Agency".  We believe the city’s credit rating could also be exposed, with local tax impact.
  • The Mayor's interference with the independent Port Authority's process could result in loss of the short summer exploration season in the Arctic; one can only imagine the hundreds of millions of dollars of loss the Mayor could be responsible for causing many entities in Seattle and beyond.
  • Politically motivated action by the mayor (i.e.  "To prevent the full force of climate change, it's time to turn the page on things like coal trains, oil trains and oil drilling rigs."), could impact the Port Authority's revenue by making the agreements it enters into with revenue paying customers of the seaport, the airport and other entities less reliable. 
  • Should the Mayor's position stand, potential investors might decide to invest in other jurisdictions.  Existing investors may decide to "get out of Seattle while the getting is good".  Rating agencies, we believe, will calculate this new era of risky, local government activism into their rating calculations.
  • Much of Alaska's tourism and commercial fishing activity is staged or supported from Seattle.  But Alaska public services from airports to seaports to health facilities to public transport and education are heavily subsidized by Alaska's 90% oil-funded budget.  Lacking the significant support of the oil industry, it is unlikely that tourism and commercial fishing entities would enjoy the same quality of shore-based support they now receive.
  • Alaska’s government and 49th State companies could consider the various Port of Seattle services too risky when large capital losses may occur as a result of changing political sentiments.  
  • Will a revenue change cause the Authority to ask for more taxes within its jurisdiction?  Could revenue bond coverage requirements be threatened, leading to technical if not actual defaults?  Does this sort of political interference by the City endanger the legal basis of the independent Port Authority and make it and the city subject to lawsuits from existing bondholders? (Note: Stock market analysts and rating agency specialists are always watching.  We believe it likely that City and Authority bond counsel may already be receiving queries from New York and San Francisco.)  

This week U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan questioned the Administration's usurpation of Congressional authority

Washington D.C.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) has served Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the entire country well for nearly 4 decades. 

It is now 3/4 empty and in danger of shutting down during the next few years.   

TAPS can only continue if new, Alaska North Slope (ANS) oil sources are developed.  Ironically, rich new sources of billions of barrels of potential oil and gas reserves surround the 800 mile long TAPS’ ANS entryway.  

Some of that potential is on state land, subject to Alaska's own rapacious appetite for taxes and high per capita spending.  Most of the adjacent oil potential is on federal land surrounding Prudhoe Bay.  The Obama administration has taken action to lock up billions of barrels of potential oil reserves, preventing its access to TAPS.  

In a US Senate hearing this week, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan questioned the administration's overreaching executive action to manage as wilderness, a small section of ANWR that Congress dedicated to oil and gas production (See video above).   

The BLM has taken action to block oil and gas development within half of the adjacent National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska while promoting that it is making much of it available.  The Interior Department and EPA have caused unwarranted delays in Shell's access to its federal leases in the Arctic.  

While Seattle's economy continues to benefit from Alaska's diminishing energy wealth, Alaska is more dependent on that one source of income than any other state.  Its state operating budget is 90% dependent on TAPS, for it makes possible the collection of oil royalties, a production tax, a property tax and state income taxes.  Alaska's entire economy is over 1/3 dependent on TAPS and would be a mere shadow of its former self without TAPS.

Without TAPS and the potential oil reserves it could transport from adjacent reserves in the OCS, NPR-A and ANWR, tens of thousands of jobs could be lost while American consumers would continue paying more for imported oil.  Also lost: countless billions spent with suppliers, service companies and manufacturers throughout the country-- and additional billions paid in federal and state taxes.

And with the future of TAPS in question, how likely is it that Alaska's monster gas reserves can be developed and transported to market?


Over the last half dozen years we have documented a pattern of federal assault on Alaska resource development in particular.  When Congress approved Alaska’s Statehood Act in 1958 and President Eisenhower signed it early the next year, all were aware that Alaska’s Constitution required the economy to be based on natural resource development.  

Since then, there have been so many assaults on that constitutional foundation that many wonder if the state has the ability, now, to maintain a sustainable economy.  Many assert, in fact, that the federal government has broken the statehood compact which consisted of the Act, the Alaska Constitution and a statewide plebiscite. 


The current administration is now well known for actively violating the "rule of law" in many instances, which we have also documented (1, 2, 3, 4).  The pattern of federal overreach and lawless behavior is a concern to all citizens and enterprises, including natural resource industries.


The Seattle Mayor’s political intervention into the Port Authority’s independent seaport management could set a strange and dangerous precedent for other cities and even states to use their regulatory powers for political purposes.  That practice, in turn, could have a huge impact on the sanctity of municipal contracts, municipal bonding capability and reliability of interstate commerce.

Growing sentiment that the rule of law itself is under assault by government agencies overreaching their authority, is justified.  (Note: "Rule of Law" is a little difficult for a layman to define.  It is one of those concepts that, however it may be defined, is to us a symbol of confidence in a lawful, stable, systematic, open and fair system of governance.)

In simple terms, America – including our natural resource job and wealth producing industries – are losing trust in those responsible for independent, just and reasonable adjudication of complex issues.

Loss of trust results in higher risk.  Higher risk means higher potential for default. High risk is one of an investors greatest concerns and could encourage one to begin considering how to export work to less risky areas.

Seattle is one of our favorite cities.  All Alaskans have adopted it to one degree or another and all benefit from its supplies and services.

We wish Mayor Murray well in his decision making.  We trust that with additional input his decisions will strengthen the reputation of Seattle as an investment destination and the Port Authority as an independent decision making body and reliable business partner.                  -dh

Finally, how is it logical for a politician to seek to address climate change by thwarting energy production in the most highly regulated, most environmentally focused country and state? 

Wouldn't less production of oil and gas in Alaska -- like political blockage of the Keystone Pipeline -- merely trigger production abroad, creating greater environmental exposure and 1) less U.S. employment, 2) higher balance of trade deficits, 3) a lower level of national security, 4) less direct and indirect local, state and federal tax and royalty revenue, and 5) higher imported energy costs for American consumers? 








Canadian Press (CBC).  The first of three votes on a natural gas benefit offer worth over $1 billion has been unanimously rejected by a First Nation on British Columbia's northwest coast.  ... more than 180 eligible voters at a meeting in Port Simpson stood up to oppose the plan to build a liquefied-natural-gas pipeline and terminal in their territory, said Lax Kw'alaams band member Malcolm Sampson.


Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  ...Calgary’s oil and gas industry Wednesday insisted the new NDP provincial government declare its intentions — and do it as quickly and as clearly as possible.  Election pledges to raise corporate taxes, review royalties collected on petroleum production and withdraw support for oil pipelines to B.C. and into the U.S., were criticized during the election.... On the morning after the election, energy stock prices dropped as financial investors released reports warning the new government....  Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada ..., said in an interview the NDP’s position on pipelines, for example, shows the party doesn’t understand the connection between market access, getting the best price for oil and the creation of wealth and jobs in Alberta.

Wall Street Journal, by LIAM DENNING.  Even as oil rallies back above $60 a barrel, obituaries are being drafted. Oil majors face questions from shareholders concerned the threat of climate change means some of the reserves underpinning the companies will never be produced. In a recent report, HSBC urged investors to plan for this risk of “stranded assets.”


RDC Action Alert:
Support Shell’s Use of Terminal 5 at Port of Seattle

Comment today!

In a politically motivated effort to hamper Arctic offshore oil and gas development, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is pressuring the Port of Seattle to pause and reconsider plans to use Terminal 5 to support the staging of Shell’s Arctic exploration equipment. Shell will be using space at Terminal 5 over the next two to four years for seasonal staging and maintenance of its fleet. However, Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council is moving to block Shell and scuttle the port’s lease with Shell’s partner, Foss Maritime.

If the city’s move to derail the lease is successful, such action would set a dangerous precedent and send a message that Seattle is closed to business. Furthermore, it creates uncertainty and sends a signal to maritime companies that a lease with the Port may be targeted by special interests and local politicians in the eleventh hour, even as vessels are en route to the region.

Since 1987, Shell has successfully drilled 11 wells offshore in the Alaska Arctic. With today’s even stricter safety standards and regulation, exploration can and will be done safely.

Action requested:
Support Foss Maritime's Lease of Terminal 5 and its efforts to create jobs and make upgrades to the Port. This lease and the necessary upgrades support offshore drilling in Alaska, which will directly benefit Washington’s economy. Tell Port of Seattle Commissioners to uphold their decision to support Puget Sound’s maritime industry.


Call the main switchboard and ask for the Commission at (206) 787-3000.

Send letters to:
Port of Seattle Commissioners
P.O. Box 1209
Seattle, WA 98111

Points to consider for your comments:

  • The port made the right decision to support the maritime industry, local trades, and businesses by approving Foss’s lease of Terminal 5. Foss has also agreed to pay for much needed port upgrades, making this a no-cost proposition for taxpayers. The project is an important job generator. Foss Maritime’s work at Terminal 5 has already put 417 people to work in Port Angeles and Seattle – supporting more than 1,000 jobs for the Puget Sound region.
  • For Seattle to remain a thriving and viable maritime city, it cannot continue to set a hostile tone toward the port, the maritime sector, and Alaska, one of its most important trading partners.
  • The maritime industry and the port must have regulatory certainty at all levels of government to maintain global competitiveness and protect middle class jobs at the core of the industry.
  • The port is focused on key trade, transportation and travel in the Pacific Northwest, supporting diverse industries and running efficient operations, while improving and protecting Puget Sound’s multi-billion dollar economic relationship with Alaska.
  • If the port’s lease with Shell and Foss Maritime is blocked, it would set a dangerous precedent targeting fossil fuel industries and tarnishing the reputation of Seattle’s port.
  • Alaska and Puget Sound share a dynamic and diverse economic relationship strengthened by air and sea shipping, seafood, petroleum, and tourism. Alaska’s contribution to the Puget Sound economy accounted for 113,000 jobs in the region and $6.2 billion in labor earnings in 2013.
  • Oil and gas production is the foundation of Alaska’s economy. Arctic oil development has the potential to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and sustain the state’s economy through much of the 21st century. A strong Alaska economy will greatly benefit the Puget Sound region.
  • Of all cargo movement between the Port of Seattle and Alaska, 80 percent is transported north. Large projects in Alaska, including new mining and oil and gas operations, directly benefit both the Alaska and Puget Sound economies in multiple ways.
  • Alaska supplies nearly half of all crude oil refined in Puget Sound. An estimated 12,000 Puget Sound jobs and $780 million in labor earnings are connected with refining Alaska oil.
  • 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.
  • 35 exploration wells have been drilled offshore in the Alaska Arctic. In 1964, Shell was the first operator to install a platform and produce hydrocarbons in Cook Inlet, and since 1987, Shell has successfully drilled 11 wells offshore in the Alaska Arctic. With today’s even stricter safety standards and regulation, exploration can and will be done safely.

5-7-15 The EPA could soon have a more massive presence nationwide!

07 May 2015 12:43pm

The Wall Street Journal Warns: Watch Out For That Puddle; Soon It Could Be Federally Regulated"

The EPA wants to redefine ‘the waters of the United States’ to mean virtually any wet spot in the country.


Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule redefining the “waters of the United States” that are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. The two agencies recently finished collecting public comments on their draft rule and are deciding how to proceed. Their best course is to abandon the rule or anything like it. Here’s why....





5-6-15 Seattle Mayor Increases Risk For Seattle Investors - New Pipeline Bill Expedites Process

06 May 2015 7:44am

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation today to modernize and improve the timeframe for the approval of new pipelines. 

Follow-up commentary.  Yesterday, we posted news and comment regarding the effort by Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray to delay or prohibit Shell Oil and its contractors from using port facilities in preparation for a summer exploration program in Arctic waters.

News Links: Seattle's Mayor Murray Seeks to Delay Alaska OCS exploration:

5-5-15 Seattle Times Update

5-5-15 Russia Today (RT)

5-4-15 Fox Business

5-4-15 Seattle Star Tribune

4-18-15 King 5 Video

Based on statements by the Mayor in these new links, readers will find that his action appears to be, not partly, but purely motivated by his "climate change" agenda.  

On a federal level, the EPA has undermined one of the primary foundations of the rule of law, due process.  It attempted last year to prohibit the Pebble gold mining project in Alaska from operating on, state lands, before it had even filed for permits.

Seattle's Mayor rationalizes his action by stating that, "To prevent the full force of climate change, it's time to turn the page on things like coal trains, oil trains and oil drilling rigs."  

So now, on a local level, due process has been attacked using the flimsiest of rationals.  

Seattle's Port Authority approved use of the port under an existing permit.  Now, the mayor wants to require the Authority to obtain a unique, new permit for this particular project.  

We believe it is "proven science" that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Time will tell what form the reaction takes in the marketplace but with this sort of leadership, investment risk must be affected in greater or lesser degrees depending how close one is to the environmental and political agendas of local elected leaders in Seattle.                 -dh

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation today to modernize and improve the timeframe for the approval of new pipelines. 

The Oil and Gas Production and Distribution Reform Act strengthens the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to better coordinate government agencies involved in the pipeline permitting process. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA).

“West Virginia’s Marcellus Region has the largest shale gas reserves in the United States. This rapid rise in production in the Marcellus Region has been great for our economy but has outpaced our pipeline’s capacity,” said Sen. Capito. “This bill increases pipeline capacity, allowing the U.S. to fully take advantage of its vast natural gas reserves and limit any overload on existing pipelines.”

This legislation would provide more certainty around the timeframe for pipeline approvals and allow the U.S. to provide adequate pipeline infrastructure. America’s oil and natural gas production is increasing, yet there is a shortage of pipelines to support moving these natural resources. The current permitting process for pipelines often takes months or years. The slow and uncertain regulatory approval process delays construction, which delays manufacturing projects and hurts families and businesses that rely on affordable energy.

“A key piece of developing and implementing a multifaceted, bipartisan energy strategy includes building out our energy infrastructure to meet our energy transportation needs,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “It just makes sense that oil and gas pipeline applications should be addressed in a timely manner so we can more efficiently site and construct additional pipelines while paving the way for North American energy independence and security. This bill is the type of commonsense energy policy that I’ve been talking about since I came to the Senate – and was an issue I was glad to work on with Senator Capito.”

“American energy production is accelerating, but the approval process to build the infrastructure to move these resources is stuck in neutral,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Streamlining the approval process saves taxpayer money and ensures families have access to reliable energy to fuel their cars, heat their homes and run their businesses.”

Through the Oil and Gas Production and Distribution Reform Act, FERC’s permitting and review process would be improved by requiring the following:

  •         Commitments and cooperation from all federal and state agencies considering any aspect of the application; 
  •         Firm deadlines for coordinating agencies to issue associated permits;
  •         Concurrent reviews where each federal and state agency considering an aspect of an application carries out its obligations concurrently and in conjunction with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review;
  •         Issue identification and resolution to prevent unnecessary delays or permit denials;
  •         Expedited processing to allow an applicant to fund a third party contractor or FERC staff to assist in preparing and reviewing their application; and
  •         Accountability, transparency and efficiency by requiring FERC to publish an online “regulatory dashboard” to track information related to the permit review.

5-5-15 - Corruption In China's State Run Oil Patch - Seattle Picks An Energy Fight With Alaska!

05 May 2015 6:57am

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee TODAY Releases the Majority's Priorities (Videos)

Chinese Corruption And An Alaskan Irony

Van Meurs Hosts A June Shallow Water Leasing Workshop In Mexico City

TODAY's Consumer Energy Alliance relevant energy news links!

Seattle Is A Nest Of Alaska Friends and Critics


Dave Harbour 

Associated Press: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray: Port needs new permit to host Shell's offshore Arctic drilling fleet
Mayor Ed Murray threw a wrench into plans for a 400-foot oil-drilling rig to arrive in Seattle when he announced Monday that the Port of Seattle can't host Shell's offshore Arctic fleet until.... Environmentalists have already sued over the plan, saying the port broke state law in February when it signed a two-year lease with Foss Maritime, whose client is Shell, without doing an environmental review.  (More....)

Our friends and critics in Seattle have one thing in common: they like the money Alaska generates for their economy.  

But the critics can't have it both ways: all will suffer if they persist in sending negative economic signals North (i.e. as they have over the years) and opposing our OCS, ANWR, NPR-A, mining, timber and other, reasonable and lawful, natural resource activities that help both economies.

One of Alaska's good friends is the Seattle Chamber and its long-time Alaska Committee.

In 2002, the operations director for the Transportation Institute, Richard Berkowitz, asked your author to address the Alaska Committee on the subject of Seattle's relationship with Alaska.  The Chamber's members appreciate the symbiotic relationship shared by their city and Alaska.

The Consumer Energy Alliance released a new poll today sampling the feelings of Iowa and New Hampshire voters on the subject of offshore drilling above the Arctic circle. It’s a subject which should be of particular interest to both voters and presidential aspirants as recent moves by the Obama administration, along with the Departments of the Interior and Energy seem to be edging us back into the game....  (Find the poll here.)

Today, Rich alerted us to a position adopted by the City of Seattle that a new permit was needed for Alaska OCS related dock operations controlled by the Port of Seattle (See AP story above).  

The oil company involved has not yet commented, but we have observed that even small delays can deliver a mortal blow to Arctic, seasonal exploration activities.

Alaskan business and governmental decision makers who monitor environmental strategies will likely be offended if not outraged that the City's leadership could undertake to irrationally bite one of the hands that feeds its hungry economy.

We also provide a copy of the letter the Institute dispatched, challenging the city for attacking a state whose economy is joined so tightly to their own.

This reminded us of that speech we gave over a decade ago on this same subject.  We attach it here because it gives our readers a good deal of background on the subject of Seattle-Alaska relationships.  Readers will also be interested in having for their research files some background on the broken promises of statehood.

We hope Alaska's corporate and governmental leaders (i.e. both here and in Congress) can calculate a way to reasonably but forcefully respond to the Seattle's misguided position...and thank our friends at the Transportation Institute for educating city leaders.       


Commentary: Please note irony in Chinese/Alaskan approaches to state control of energy projects

As Chinese communist leaders seek to expose corruption in state owned entities and move toward a market driven economy, Alaska's leaders move toward more state ownership of energy projects ranging from competing gas pipelines (?) and gas distribution system to hydro to geothermal to wind.  

State ownership is a seductive but dangerous undertaking.  

Since money spent does not belong to bureaucratic and politically appointed decision makers, investors can trust in one thing: that outcomes and risks will be much harder to anticipate -- and they will not necessarily reflect the judgment of prudent persons with personal skin in the game.  

Should government participants begin arranging jobs or contracts for friends, the risks could become much greater.  (See yesterday's Commentary which partly involves the concept of corruption in state-owned enterprises.)  -dh  

Calgary Herald Bloomberg Report by Aibing Guo.  

... What happens next to China’s energy sector is the subject of much speculation. CNPC and Sinopec Group’s listed units spiked on April 27 on rumors they could merge after a newspaper reported that China may cut the number of its state-owned enterprises to 40 from 112. In March, people familiar with the government’s plans told Bloomberg that reform could see companies bundled by industry and their control handed to state asset-management firms.

The reforms are part of China’s bid to bolster flagging economic growth and Xi’s insistence that market forces play a more decisive role. State-owned companies account for roughly a third of the economy and more than a quarter of them are loss- making, Barclays Plc analysts said in August. (More....)      



The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today released the third installment in its video series highlighting the priorities of its Republican members. In today’s video, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, outlines his plans to increase local control and management of Utah’s natural resources.   


Pedro Van Meurs, Mexico, Shallow Water Leases, Photo by Dave HarbourMexico is not 'northern' but many of our northern gas pipeline readers will be interested in this new workshop offering by our friend, Pedro Van Meurs.  -dh

The final terms for the first shallow water bidding round will be announced on May 29.   At the same time, the terms for the areas allocated to PEMEX are also known.  This means at that date the first Mexican commercial-fiscal package for petroleum will be complete.

On June 8 and 9, 2015 in Mexico City, Van Meurs will host a workshop providing an independent analysis and evaluation of these terms.  This workshop will be beneficial for all those interested in investing in Mexico’s petroleum industry.   

Click here for more information about this workshop.

Your NGP one-stop-shop presents today's relevant Consumer Energy Alliance energy news links:

The Consumer Energy Alliance released a new poll today sampling the feelings of Iowa and New Hampshire voters on the subject of offshore drilling above the Arctic circle. It’s a subject which should be of particular interest to both voters and presidential aspirants as recent moves by the Obama administration, along with the Departments of the Interior and Energy seem to be edging us back into the game....  (Find the poll here.)

Digital Journal: Poll: Iowa and New Hampshire Voters Support Arctic Drilling, Say Energy is Important Issue in 2016 Race  
Continuing the trend of energy policy as a key issue in nationwide elections, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire showed overwhelming support for U.S. energy leadership in Arctic offshore energy production. The results show offshore energy policy is an important focus even for both Iowa and New Hampshire voters, just as Presidential candidates start canvassing the states.
Hot Air: POTUS contenders take note: Iowa and New Hampshire voters support Arctic drilling 
The Consumer Energy Alliance released a new poll today sampling the feelings of Iowa and New Hampshire voters on the subject of offshore drilling above the Arctic circle. It’s a subject which should be of particular interest to both voters and presidential aspirants as recent moves by the Obama administration, along with the Departments of the Interior and Energy seem to be edging us back into the game. Some of the loudest voices on the Left are already up in arms and Hillary will be forced to answer their demands at some point.
Platts: OTC 2015, Day 1: Elected officials ask oil and gas to keep improving communication 
Every hero needs a sidekick, every dog needs its day, and every oil and gas conference has to talk about bettering communication with the public, it seems. The 2015 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week is no exception. Today is the first day of the conference, which regularly brings in about 90,000 attendees (or more) to hear from industry execs and elected officials and to learn about the companies, organizations and countries represented in booths and demonstrations.
Houston Chronicle: OTC: Beyond cheap oil *OTC Panel Coverage
The annual Offshore Technology Conference could be the biggest ever despite the lowest oil prices in years. Exhibitors filled 696,000 square feet at the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference, and the exhibition space is larger for this year's event beginning Monday at NRG Park.

San Antonio Express-News: Gov. Pat McCrory at OTC: Drilling dollars essential to sell offshore exploration along East Coast *OTC Panel Coverage
When it comes to offshore drilling, money talks. That’s the message North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory delivered to the Offshore Technology Conference on Monday, as he insisted that coastal states supporting drilling near their shores will demand a share of federal oil and gas revenues from the activity.
E&E News: N.C. governor eager to see permits, rules for Atlantic exploration *OTC Panel Coverage
North Carolina will continue to press the federal government on expediting permits for offshore seismic surveys and to radically alter the recent proposal to expand drilling to the Atlantic Ocean, the governor vowed yesterday. Speaking to offshore energy industry insiders at the annual Offshore Technology Conference here, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said he would like to see seismic surveys off his state's shoreline underway by the fall of this year. More modern and advanced surveys are required to get a better sense of what offshore oil and gas potential may lie off North Carolina, he said.
Oil & Gas Journal: OTC: Federal, state cooperation vital for offshore energy development *OTC Panel Coverage
US coastal states and the federal government will have to continue having an open and honest dialogue about the safe and reliable exploration and development of offshore oil and gas resources, panelists agreed May 5 in an opening session at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Fuel Fix: Gov. Pat McCrory at OTC: Drilling dollars essential to sell offshore exploration along East Coast *OTC Panel Coverage
When it comes to offshore drilling, money talks. That’s the message North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory delivered to the Offshore Technology Conference on Monday, as he insisted that coastal states supporting drilling near their shores will demand a share of federal oil and gas revenues from the activity.
JDNews.com: Governor McCrory Urges More Federal, State Cooperation in Offshore Energy Development *OTC Panel Coverage
Governor Pat McCrory participated in a panel discussion today on U.S. offshore energy development at the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. The governor was joined by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (NC), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper.
Consumer Energy Alliance: Poll: Key Primary Voters Support Arctic Drilling, Say Energy is Important Issue in 2016 Race
Continuing the trend of energy policy as a key issue in nationwide elections, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire showed overwhelming support for U.S. energy leadership in Arctic offshore energy production.  The results show offshore energy policy is an important focus even for both Iowa and New Hampshire voters, just as Presidential candidates start canvassing the states.
The New York Times: E.P.A. Carbon Emissions Plan Could Save Thousands of Lives, Study Finds
New carbon emissions standards that were proposed last year for coal-fired power plants in the United States would substantially improve human health and prevent more than 3,000 premature deaths per year, according to a new study.
Associated Press: Obama's carbon plan could save 3,500 lives annually
The Obama Administration's hotly debated plan to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the nation's power plants will save about 3,500 lives a year by cutting back on other types of pollution as well, a new independent study concludes.
New York Times: Chemicals Detected in Pa. Drinking Water
An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply.
Dallas Morning News: Bill to limit Texas cities’ rules on fracking heads to governor
Senators delivered a sweeping victory Monday to oil and gas operators in a fight that has roiled North Texas and pitted a key state industry against communities’ desire to restrict fracking. The Senate gave final approval to a measure to pre-empt cities from banning fracking and enacting a variety of other oil and gas-related ordinances, sending the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott on a 24-7 vote. He is expected to sign it.
Associated Press: Texas Legislature acts to stop cities from limiting drilling
Texas moved Monday to ban its own cities from imposing prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas drilling activities within their boundaries — a major victory for industry groups and top conservatives who have decried rampant local "overregulation."
Associated Press: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray: Port needs new permit to host Shell's offshore Arctic drilling fleet
Mayor Ed Murray threw a wrench into plans for a 400-foot oil-drilling rig to arrive in Seattle when he announced Monday that the Port of Seattle can't host Shell's offshore Arctic fleet until it gets a new land-use permit. Royal Dutch Shell PLC has been planning to base its fleet — including a drill rig and two tug boats — at the port's Terminal 5 for six months each year, when they're not being used in the Arctic. Environmentalists have already sued over the plan, saying the port broke state law in February when it signed a two-year lease with Foss Maritime, whose client is Shell, without doing an environmental review.
Daily Caller: RFK Anti-HF Group Has Ties to Company in Corruption Probe
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s environmental group that heavily opposed allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in New York has ties to a company being investigated by federal agents. The Arizona-based AbTech Industries is at the center of a federal investigation for its business dealing with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, the leading Republican in the state Senate, and his son Adam. But even more interesting is that AbTech has strong ties to Waterkeeper, an environmental group that has opposed fracking in New York State.
Forbes: Crude Oil Rail Shipments Sabotage Freedom of Information Act
New regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation declare that details about crude oil rail shipments are exempt from public disclosure (Tri-City Herald). This ends DOT’s existing regulations that required railroads to share with state officials, and the public, information about shipping large volumes of dangerous crude oil by rail. These disclosure requirements were put in place last year after a Bakken crude oil train-wreck in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The Hill: Schumer wants faster oil train changes than Obama
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation to require faster implementation of a series of regulations regarding the transportation of crude oil that were unveiled last week by the Obama administration. Schumer's legislation would require freight rail companies to phase out older rail cars that have been blamed for numerous high-profile disasters within two years, instead of the eight-year deadline that was set by the Obama administration.
E&E News: Greens go all-out to influence crude-by-rail rule
Earlier in the month, representatives from the environmental group Earthjustice sat down with OIRA to call for a ban on the oldest, least crash-worthy type DOT-111 tank cars still used to haul thousands of barrels of crude across the country each day. Other organizations present at the March 13 meeting included ForestEthics, Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club, all of which have voiced concerns about a string of recent oil train derailments and explosions. Earthjustice again met with OIRA on April 15, just two weeks before the release of the final rule.
UPI: U.S. shale players doing more with less
Though net profits and spending are down, companies working in U.S. shale basins are finding well costs going down while production forecasts grow. The low price of oil is forcing energy companies to spend less on exploration and production efforts.
Breitbart: Recent California quakes not linked to drilling
Although many speculate that a series of earthquakes erupting in the Baldwin Hills region of Los Angeles are tied to drilling activity in nearby oil fields, scientists inform that they are not connected. The 3.8 trembler (revised from the 3.9 reported on Sunday) that rattled Los Angeles on Sunday and two others that struck the area in the last three weeks, were deep enough below the earth’s surface not to be linked with the Inglewood Oil Field–the largest contiguous oil-producing site in greater Los Angeles—according to Seismologists.
Washington Free Beacon: Report: Federal Oil and Gas Production Down Significantly Under Obama
Oil and gas production on federal land continues to decline even as the United States experiences unprecedented growth in overall fossil fuel extraction, according to a federal report released on Monday.
Bloomberg: Energy Loans to Deteriorate Further, Bankers Say in Survey
The condition of oil and gas loans held by U.S. banks is poised to worsen if commodities fall in line with futures prices, according to a Federal Reserve survey of bankers. About 59 percent of senior loan officers in the U.S. surveyed in April said the quality of loans made to drilling and extraction firms in the oil and natural gas industry is likely to “deteriorate somewhat,” according to the Fed’s quarterly survey. Loan restructurings, reductions in the size of outstanding credit lines and demands for additional collateral may mitigate losses, the loan officers said.
E&E News: To right their course, supermajors pass the pain on to oil field services
Big Oil wants to slash costs this year, and that will mean putting heat on the companies that do much of its technical work. The world's largest international oil and gas companies, the "super majors," have faced nearly a decade of rapidly escalating operating and equipment expenses, but rising oil prices and ever escalating profits over the same time period concealed or offset the effects of an expensive business climate.
Denver Post: Liquified natural gas may boost Western Slope producers' fortunes
Natural gas fields on Colorado's Western Slope have been battered by low prices for almost six years, but turning that gas into liquid and selling it in Asia may be a way to revive the region's fortunes. "Liquefied natural gas is one of the best options we've seen," said David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Oil & Gas Association, a trade group. What is buoying Western Slope hopes is the proposed Jordan Cove LNG plant in Coos Bay, Oregon.
UPI: New refinery online in North Dakota
A new refinery in North Dakota, the first of its kind in the country in nearly 40 years, will help drive the state's economy forward, MDU Resources said. The Dakota Prairie refinery is designed to process 20,000 barrels of oil per day from the state's Bakken shale reserve. Up to 7,000 bpd worth of production in the form of diesel fuel will be sold to in-state customers.
Kalamazoo Gazette: Michigan earthquake not caused by fracking, scientists say
The state official who oversees regulation of oil and gas wells says he is certain thatSaturday's earthquake in Kalamazoo County is unrelated to fracking or other drilling in the area. "I am extremely confident there is no connection," said Hal Fitch, a geologist who is director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals.
Shreveport Times: Old gas field opens up new opportunities
What's old is new again when it comes to the Cotton Valley sands formation in north Louisiana. An old field that's produced natural gas since the 1940s and '50s, the Cotton Valley formation has opened up new opportunities for drilling for operators in Caddo, DeSoto and even Lincoln parishes looking for more economical ways to extract the resources during the stagnant energy market.
Shale Plays Media: Ohio infrastructure sees no slow down
While oil and natural gas prices have affected the industry greatly, oil and gas companies in Ohio are still investing billions into new infrastructure. According to a report published by Bricker & Eckler LLP, a Columbus, Ohio-based law firm, investments in oil and gas infrastructure has increased by $6 billion since last fall. The increase is driven by the development going on in the Utica and Marcellus Shale Formations, which both happen to be extremely rich in natural gas.
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: U.S. must take advantage of energy industry now
Abundant, affordable and available resources have made us a world leader in energy. And the U.S. oil and natural gas industry is ready to work with elected officials, policymakers and residents in Pennsylvania to ensure the moment lasts and creates a strong American energy future. Rather than adding additional taxes that constrict opportunities for the commonwealth’s economy to grow, we should support energy policies that grow the market for Pennsylvanian businesses.
WRAL: Carolinas clear first proposals for offshore oil surveys
State regulators in both Carolinas have signed off on proposals by companies to conduct seismic testing for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic coast, subject to some conditions. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control last Friday certified a proposal by Spectrum GEO. Earlier the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources certified proposals for surveying by both Spectrum and GX Technology.
Argus: Virginia governor vetoes coal tax credit extension
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has vetoed legislation extending the state's tax credits for coal producers and users by two years. McAuliffe vetoed the bill on 30 April, saying the incentives have not had the desired effect of supporting coal mining employment. Lead sponsors of the bill and the Virginia Mining Association did not immediately return requests for comment.


5-4-15 Never Again

04 May 2015 5:18am

"Never Again"


Dave Harbour

Thirty years ago President Ronald Reagan visited the Holocaust Memorial at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany.

He spoke (Note: See video, after brief ad) of unspeakable crimes against humanity and asked his audience to resolve, "Never Again".

Switch now to a fanciful world that is present day America.  Citizens focus on leading normal lives while abnormal world events portend tragedy, including:


Alaskans and companies depending on Alaska face a double risk: 1) hostile federal natural resource policies upon which the state is dependent, and 2) a sometimes hostile state Administration and minority of legislators who seek to dictate how investors employ their assets; and, who overspend; and who are currently seeking to remedy overspending by imposing additional predatory taxes on natural resource investors after their investments have been made.   Alaska has definately not discovered public policy nirvana, wherein:

  • taxing and spending are prudently done
  • investors are constitutionally protected from retroactive taxation and additional taxation on previously constructed facilities
  • A DEAL IS A DEAL.     -dh

Meanwhile, the Administration that has given up leadership of the free world, by "leading from behinddoes not hesitate to take hard-line, non negotiable administrative and regulatory actions against its own people, actions that weaken America from the inside, including:

Question: Why would we be hearkening back to the Holocaust and discussing failing American leadership when our primary focus is northern gas pipelines and other North American energy projects and policies?

Answer: For almost two centuries oil, gas and mining have been the basis of wealth creation in the United States -- augmented by forest products, agriculture, commercial fishing, transportation, communications, important service and retail enterprises, manufacturing and other economic pursuits depending on oil, gas and mining.   Without those three basic natural resource industries, America would be only a shadow of its current self, perhaps resembling a third world country.  

Dictatorships require a suspension of citizen and corporate freedoms to freely impose their will on those private interests.  Socialist dictators like Hitler organize to be and remain elected.  Communist dictators seem most often to take power by force and often maintain it via corrupt election systems.  Socialists and communists, from a citizen viewpoint, share a common result: absolute dictatorship.  America's elected leadership, abetted by unelected bureaucrats has sought to establish unilateral policy by executive action, boldly taunting the Congress and Judiciary.  As a result, due process, the rule of law, and three equal-but-independent branches of government and Constitutional guarantees are all at risk.  

With domestic deterioration of freedom, comes government control of the means of production, societal controls, political power at the cost of future prosperity.  The oil, gas and mining industries are so controlled by bureaucratic regulation right now that, in effect, those companies seem to report to government agencies as much or more than they report to shareholders.

Continued deterioration of freedom brings corruption and mismanagement of the energy industry as Venezuela, Argentina, Russia and now Brazil and China have amply demonstrated.  Incompetent health care rollout, SBA conference follies, IRS abuses of citizens and leaving our fighting forces to die in Benghazi gives lie to the Administration position that, "we leave no man behind".

Such is the result of dictatorship: inefficiency, abuse of power, over regulation, over taxation, corruption and the eventual destruction of a country's independence, economy and/or individual freedoms.

President Reagan urged the world to "never again" allow a holocaust like the one developed by Adolph Hitler's dictatorial administration.  

Reagan's world remembered that without a strong and resolute America the results of WWII, Korea and the Cuban Missile Crisis would have been much different.  On the contrary, Viet Nam should have taught many generations of Americans -- including this one -- that irresolute leadership prolongs the agony of war without achieving the desired outcome.

Does today's world remember the faith and fights of our fathers and mothers?  Not if you ask Cuban refugees and Columbian leaders who are amazed that the U.S. Administration would provide massive benefits to a country that still denies freedom for its citizens and supports communist guerilla activity in South America.

These days it seems that United States citizens live in an alternate universe surrounded by threatening chaos:   

  • Islamic terrorism, murders and torture are epidemic.  
  • Strong but evil-intended nations are undertaking probing tactics to determine America's weaknesses.  
  • American leadership has weakened the military, making the prospect of standing off two or more belligerents at the same time dangerously perilous...not to mention three or more.
  • Meanwhile, American leaders have attacked the economy from within:
    • They are printing unearned dollars in such volume that economic chaos, the loss of reserve currency status and violent inflation can only be steps away.  
    • Our leaders are blatantly weakening our basic industries -- oil, gas and mining -- dangerously reducing the supply of wealth from those and other energy/materials dependent sectors.
    • The Administration has created a wealth distribution, crony capitalistic system.  The system involves taxing productive industries to support political allies and/or uneconomic enterprises, including inefficient alternate energy businesses; free cell phones for some paid for by other phone users; FCC power grabbing control of the Internet without Congressional approval; sole source contracts, etc. that will cripple economic recovery if its other failings don't do so first.
    • The Administration coddles law breaking Black Panthers and minority offenders hurt or killed by law enforcement, while remaining silent when white citizens are killed by minority criminals or police (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). 
    • New health care, financial services and student loan bureaucracies, among a legion of others, have swelled federal payrolls at the expense of private employers and privately employed, taxpaying citizens.  Meanwhile, friends of the Administration and federal employees who evade taxation march on, unpunished.


The U.S. leadership is rapidly destroying American culture, American values and future hopes for a prosperous, secure country in two ways,

First, its poor international leadership is providing opportunity for bad actors to threaten or consume weaker countries which are American allies; and, second, its poor domestic leadership is threatening the fabric of the economy with over regulation, over taxation, unenforced immigration policies, giving lip service to opposing professionally organized social unrest, etc.

For those Americans still enjoying a fanciful world in an alternate universe, we have a heartfelt plea.  

As we engage in weekend parties, tail gate BBQs, athletic events, local politics and hobbies of every description...let's take time to teach our children about America's history, dangerous current events and how great civilizations have fallen due to internal corruption and irresponsible tax, spending and regulatory policies.  And let's teach them how our predecessors built the country and defended it, with great sacrifice, for our use today.

Can we also be mindful that with Constitutional protections, courage, freedom, patriotic commitment and firm leadership America can reclaim a vibrant energy industry, a secure national defense and a prosperous future?

In this way, today's terrorism, modern holocausts,  and territorial disputes can be extinguished or peacefully resolved as we recommit ourselves to see that murderous world malaise happens, "never again".


For those new to Northern Gas Pipelines, the author of today's commentary is Dave Harbour, Publisher.  Harbour is Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and has supported programs of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission for years.  Accredited as a public relations professional (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America, he has served as an external and/or government affairs manager for two pipeline companies and an Alaska North Slope oil producer.  He is a former university vice president, construction company owner and Infantry Army officer.  He is former president of the Alaska Press Club and National Bald Eagle Foundation and past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education and Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.  His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of his readers, public service sponsors or past affiliations.


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