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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.


9-17-14 Comment Now On EPA Overreach In Alaska. Deadline Friday!

17 September 2014 4:36am

Comment Before Friday On 1) EPA's Overreaching Jurisdiction, 2) Erosion Of America's Rule Of Law, And 3) Attack On Our Constitutional Right Of Due Process.  All Americans In General And Particularly Every Alaskan Are Entitled To Be Outraged!  Reference: Our many editorials on this issue, including this one, and this.  Is This The Country The Founders And So Many Generations Have Loved, Then Defended With "...Our Lives, Our Fortunes And Our Sacred Honor?"  -dh

Deantha Crockett, Alaska Miners Association, Pebble, Watershed, Bristol Bay, Gold, EPA, Overreach, rule of law, Photo by Dave HarbourFrom Deantha Crockett (NGP Photo), Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association, comes this action request which we heartily endorse:

Friday, September 19 is the deadline to comment on the EPA's Proposed Determination Pursuant to Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act on the Pebble Deposit Area.  The agency’s intention is to preemptively place restrictions on development of a mine at Pebble, however, they are effectively a veto of a mine at Pebble. 


Jim Prentice, Alberta Premier, Pipeline, Priority, Cabinet Changes, Dave Harbour PhotoWe know Alberta's new Premier, Jim Prentice (NGP Photo), to be one of North America's great leaders.  This week, he makes pipeline projects a top priority -- and shuffles his cabinet accordingly.  See Stephen Ewart's Calgary Herald story.  -dh

Sean Parnell, Alaska Governor, Bill Walker Reckless, Gas Pipeline, Dave Harbour PhotoADN Op-Ed.  Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) says Opponent's Gasline Criticism Is Reckless.

BOEM's John Callahan tells us that Shell's draft 2015 Revised Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan will be posted here.  -dh

Points to consider in your testimony and comments:

  • A preemptive decision, prior to permit or project application and completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, is unacceptable, whether it be approval or denial of any project in any industry.
  • The proposed determination ignores existing processes, undermining existing agency responsibilities on both the state and federal level.  Further, the EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Water Act to preemptively block  development
  • Any potential 404(c) actions against the Pebble Project are premature.  The project has not yet been finalized and no permit applications – including detailed plans and environmental mitigation strategies – have been submitted to government agencies, nor has the NEPA process been initiated.  As a result, the current assessment and any preemptive action would deprive government agencies and stakeholders of the specific information, science, and rigorous reviews that would come out of the multi-­‐year NEPA process.
  • Every project, no matter the size or location, should have an opportunity to be reviewed under existing legal processes.  In the case of mining, there are more than 60 major permits and hundreds more from local, state, and federal agencies that must be successfully obtained.  If the process determines a project as designed cannot protect the environment and other resources, it will not advance.  The process will not permit one industry or resource to advance at the expense of another.
  • Any 404(c) action outside the existing permitting process would be an extreme case of federal overreach and an assault on Alaska sovereignty.  The Pebble mineral deposit is not located on federal land, nor inside a refuge or park.  It is located on state land designated for mineral exploration.  The State of Alaska depends on the responsible development of natural resources on its lands to diversify and support its economy.
  • Until an application is filed describing the project in detail and an Environmental Impact Statement is completed, the EPA is prematurely determining adverse impacts based on hypothetical assessments and inapplicable modeling.
  • The proposed determination and potential actions would undermine existing regulatory processes and set a dangerous precedent for future projects.  If the EPA preemptively stops projects before they enter the permitting process, any large project could be at risk.  Preemptive action by the EPA could become a new tool opponents use to stop projects, or at a minimum, introduce significant uncertainty and delay, chilling Alaska's business climate.
Ways to comment:

1) Submit Online:

Reference Docket ID No. EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505: http://www.regulations.gov

2) Send an email to: ow-docket@epa.gov, include Docket #EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505 in the subject line. 

3) Mail three copies to:           

Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency       

Mail Code 2822T

Attn.: Docket ID No. EPA-R10-PW-2014-0505

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20460



16 September 2014 5:33am

Consumer Energy Alliance Energy Links:

Michael Whatley, Keystone, Consumer Energy Alliance, Dave Harbour PhotoRadio America: Neal Asbury’s Made in America *Michael Whatley Interview (NGP Photo)
Pipeline International: The Gulf Coast Pipeline System: a catalyst for American jobs and energy security *CEA Mention
In just the past decade, the North American energy industry has undergone a rapid transformation. Thanks to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, oil and gas production has surged from previously untapped US shale rock formations, with the International Energy Agency predicting that the US will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s top producer of oil by 2016.

From Dawn Patience at BP, comes this employment update:

"BP will be reducing its Alaska employees and contractors by 275 people in early 2015 to match its reduced operational footprint.  BP’s Alaska business will be smaller due to the previously announced sale of interest to Hilcorp in four North Slope oilfields.

"BP will implement a process to allow employees to state their preference; in addition to offering early retirement and severance packages. BP will consider the wishes of employees in making staffing decisions; but the decisions will be made on a business basis. Employees and contractors will know their future before yearend; the reductions will begin in early 2015.    

"The reduction includes the 200 individuals who accepted jobs with Hilcorp and an additional 275 in early 2015, which represents about 17 percent of the 2,725 total employees and contractors. BP remains committed to increasing BP’s activity at Prudhoe Bay as a result of oil tax reform.  This includes additional investment of $1 billion over the five years, including BP's two additional drilling rigs, one in 2015 and a second in 2016."

Note: The public should have been expecting this announcement in wake of the Hillcorp purchase.  

While the full employment effect of SB 21 cannot be known or announced at this early date we can certainly expect the 'Vote yes on 1' naysayers and anti-Parnell crowd to be saying, 'I told you so'.   
Wiser observers will appreciate the transparency of this employment  update and redouble efforts to improve the attractiveness of Alaska's investment climate as major gas pipeline and other investment decisions are being made.          -dh

Wisconsin State Journal: Time to approve Keystone XL Pipeline
This month marks six years since TransCanada applied for the presidential permit needed to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. It is still unapproved.
Haynesville.com: EDITORIAL: Keystone XL pipeline marks six years of stagnation
An executive order on immigration isn’t the only thing that President Obama has put off until after the November election. The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline will apparently remain where it has languished for the past six years — on the undecided list.
Rapid City Journal: Newsmaker Q&A: Paul Seamans, opponent of Keystone XL pipeline
As the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline prepares to reapply for permits in South Dakota, a bevy of opponents, from environmental advocates to Native American tribes, are pledging to fight back.
Cape Coral Daily-Breeze: Build the pipeline
It has been almost six years since backers of the Keystone XL Pipeline first submitted an application to the U.S. State Department on Sept. 19, 2008, to build this energy infrastructure project and bring jobs and greater energy security to America.
Platts: API says White House seeking to raise RFS volumes to stimulate E85, E15 sales
The American Petroleum Institute on Thursday said it has gotten indication from the Obama administration that it intends to raise the Renewable Fuel Standard biofuels mandate in order to push production and sales of higher ethanol blends, such as E85 and E15.
Bloomberg BNA: EPA Power Plant Proposal Could Fast-Track Natural Gas Pipeline Projects, S&P Says
The Environmental Protection Agency's recently proposed regulations for cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's existing power plants could help fast-track construction of new natural gas pipelines, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
Washington Examiner: States to EPA: We need more time for power plant rule comments
Officials from six states want the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the comment period for its proposed carbon emissions regulation for power plants.
Longview News-Journal: Editorial: Cleaning up power plants is going to take cooperation
Here’s something many Americans don’t understand: In a vast number of places around the world, when you flip a power switch, nothing happens.
Political News: Boozman Requests Extended Comment Period for EPA's Carbon Emissions Rule
Boozman called on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to provide a 60-day extension for the public comment period on EPA’s radical plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
State Journal: Arch CEO: power plant retirements ‘bad business, bad policy'
International markets are the growth opportunity for U.S.-based coal companies as Environmental Protection Agency regulations cut back the use of coal in power plants, the CEO of Arch Coal said at a recent conference.
Environment & Energy Publishing: Solar storms add to growing list of pressing issues for reliability monitor
A government warning yesterday of a possible threat to the nation's power grid from an approaching solar geomagnetic pulse punctuated a high-level Washington conference on the phalanx of challenges that confront the nation's electric power sector, from space weather to coal-plant retirements.
Wall Street Journal:  Hydraulic Fracturing Gives U.S. Energy Boom Plenty of Room to Run
Skeptics of the U.S. energy boom say it can't last much longer because it requires drilling an ever-increasing number of wells. But the boom already has lasted longer than anyone would have imagined just a decade ago and has more room to run. That's because oil and natural-gas wells have become more productive—an unrecognized but potent trend that should keep the fuels flowing.
Arkansas Business: Fayetteville Takes Arkansas from Zero to Billions in 10 Years
Arkansas was already a gas-producing state with the storied Arkoma Basin routinely producing 150 million to 175 million MCF (thousand cubic feet) of natural gas every year. But the Fayetteville Shale brought gas production on steroids, producing more than a billion MCF a year for the past two years while Arkoma production has dropped to barely 100 million MCF.
Arkansas Business: Natural Gas Severance Tax Collections 150 Times Larger
Development of the Fayetteville Shale Play, and especially the damage that heavy drilling equipment caused to sleepy county roadways, provided the political cover needed to raise Arkansas’ severance tax on natural gas for the first time in more than 50 years.
Imperial Valley NewsStudy assesses the environmental costs and benefits of HF
Stanford, California- A strange thing happened on the way to dealing with climate change: Advances in hydraulic fracturing put trillions of dollars' worth of previously unreachable oil and natural gas within humanity's grasp.
Greeley Post Springs Independent: Experts studying West Salt Creek landslide
Much speculation has surrounded the proximity of the well pad to the slide, especially with the use of hydraulic fracturing. All experts concluded there was no connection between the oil and gas activity in the area and the slide. In particular the geologist point to the obvious fact that the drilling occurred 5,000 to 8,000 feet into the Wasatch formation, while the slide occurred roughly 2,000 feet higher up the side of the Mesa.
The Times: IDOT hiring shines spotlight on political hiring
The pitiful thing about a recent inspector general report on hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation is that, despite decades of outside legal action and the creation of an entire bureaucracy designed to enforce ethical behavior in state government, it showed that there are still barriers in place for qualified people wanting to work.
The Southern: Learning to play the patronage game
Tuesday marks the first day a legislative panel will review a set of rules regulating hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Members of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will debate whether the Illinois Department of Natural Resources overstepped its authority in writing the rules.
Huffington Post: Planned Tuscaloosa Marine Shale lodges akin to man camps elsewhere
Oil and gas companies use on-site trailers and rent blocks of hotel rooms to house workers engaged in fracking the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale deposit. As oilfield and service staff reach a critical mass, particularly in southwest Mississippi, communities want to build crew lodges for them.
Las Vegas Review Journal: Drill, baby, drill
Ohio and other states are following the lead of North Dakota, where the energy boom literally remade the state in just a few years. Nevada officials are smartly getting on board, recognizing that hydraulic fracturing could diversify and rapidly grow the Silver State’s economy.
Associated Press: Groups aim to help N.C. Democrats
Environmental groups this past spring already ran TV ads criticizing several GOP lawmakers for votes on hydraulic fracturing and landfills. With U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan framing her re-election bid as a referendum on the legislature and Republican challenger state House Speaker Thom Tillis, people who support Democrats have more reasons for optimism.
WNCN: Hundreds cram last NC HF hearing in west
North Carolina officials hear more worries that opening the state to drilling for natural gas will leave water wells polluted by toxic chemicals. Local media report about 600 people attended a lengthy public hearing Friday at Western Carolina University. Most speakers complained regulations on hydraulic fracturing won't protect the public health.
Associated Press: ND oil boomtown of Williston approves $250M budget
The oil boomtown of Williston has approved the largest budget in the city's history, fivefold what it was four years earlier. Williston's city commission approved the $250 million budget for 2015 on Tuesday.
StateImpact PA: Industry’s hiring practices raise ire
Dave Spigelmyer, who heads the industry group the Marcellus Shale Coalition, says gas companies are committed to hiring locally. “We will continue to make collaborative efforts – working with a diverse set of stakeholders – as shale development matures aimed at creating even more opportunities and partnerships with local businesses,” he wrote in an email.
Philadelphia Inquirer: CNG pump: Small start to what may be a huge new business
The Corbett administration has embraced CNG to promote the state's natural gas industry, which has grown dramatically since the Marcellus Shale discovery. Marcellus producers now account for 23 percent of all U.S. gas production. The annual use of natural gas as vehicle fuel has quadrupled over the last 17 years to 32 billion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Tribune-Review: New BC3 classes prepare students for energy industry jobs
Butler County Community College is adding four energy classes to its curriculum this fall, part of a strategy to prepare students for employment in the booming natural gas industry. The classes will lead to a certificate and eventually to a degree program, school officials say. “This is the largest opportunity to hit Western Pennsylvania in over 100 years,” Bill Lucas, a consultant to the school for its energy program and a retired president of Equitable Gas Co., said of the region's natural gas drilling boom.
Tribune-Review: Drilling laws: Your rights
A Texas energy company's withdrawal of a forced-pooling application spares a few landowners in Lawrence and Mercer counties unjust, unwanted natural-gas drilling. But the 1961 state law on forced pooling that the company cited remains an unconstitutional violation of private property rights.
Roanoke Times: Virginia Democrats walk line between environmental, business interests
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, opposes off-shore drilling — unlike Warner and McAuliffe — and says he has “significant concerns” about hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process of extracting natural gas from the ground. Yet Northam believes the pipeline is a good move for the state.
Akron Beacon Journal: Natural gas storage deficit to 5-year average is narrowing
Storage injections have continued to outpace the five-year (2009-13) average this summer, with inventories as of September 5 at 2,801 billion cubic feet, according to data from the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). The winter of 2013-14 led to a large drawdown in inventories, with stocks ending March 2014 almost 1 trillion cubic feet lower than the five-year average and at their lowest end-March level since 2003.
Columbus Dispatch: Kasich vows to ‘focus’ on hiking drilling tax
The legislature has steadfastly declined to give Gov. John Kasich what he wants regarding a new severance tax on hydraulic fracturing in Ohio, but the governor says he’s only going to push harder if he wins re-election — and end a “rip-off” of consumers at the same time.
Dallas Business Journal: Study pins shale water contamination on well construction, not HF
A study published Monday says that the shale-gas boom has contaminated drinking water wells in the Barnett Shale of North Texas and in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by researchers from five universities, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Houston Chronicle: Shale development and trucking accidents on Texas roads
The records don't show how many of those deaths might be directly linked to the oil and gas industry. But deaths in commercial trucking accidents and multiple-fatality crashes have gone up on roads near drill sites and major highways like Interstate 20.


15 September 2014 5:26am

News Miner by Robin Wood.  The Tanana River, Bassett Army Community Hospital and parts of the University of Alaska Fairbanks are all visible from one unlikely location — the top of Cell One at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Solid Waste Facility, commonly called the landfill.

Cell One is now closed and covered in layers of gravel, liners, topsoil and grass. There are 10 wells bored into the 19-acre cell that holds 1.2 million cubic yards of waste. The wells will collect methane for power generation as the cell decomposes. The next test for methane might occur this month. 

Ewart: Legitimate debate hurt by attack on Chevron gas pumpsCalgary Herald. By Stephen EwartCalgary Herald September 12, 2014 ... to a video posted anonymously on YouTube - but a natural gas pipeline that Chevron has ...


14 September 2014 1:10pm

AGDC Chair to speak at Chamber Luncheon ~ Sep 18Delta News Web, John Burns, Chairman of the Board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) will be the guest speaker at the September Chamber of ...


13 September 2014 4:58pm

AGDC Chair to speak at Chamber Luncheon ~ Sep 18Delta News Web, John Burns, Chairman of the Board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) will be the guest speaker at the September Chamber of ...

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