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19 October 2015 2:51am

Killing Capitalism?  

Have several oil and gas CEOs now joined the enviro-governmental-industrial cabal?

Commentary prepared on Friday, October 16, 2015


Dave Harbour

Today, we have what is to us a disturbing announcement by some of the globe's largest oil and gas companies.  

They have formed a new consortium.  Not to build a pipeline.  Not to develop an oil and gas reservoir.  Not to permit a new LNG facility.  No, these companies have formed a new consortium to support a conflicting interest, the "Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI)".  

We can imagine hundreds of environmental activists across the globe tweeting, "OMG!",  rubbing their hands, laughing, celebrating!  They will now have a new industry bureaucracy to lobby, insult, beg for money, coerce into supporting legislation.  A bright new target with a clearly visible bulls-eye.  More oil guys and gals dressed 'business casual' with wine and dine expense accounts.  Just think of the meetings, parties and interaction among the mostly European members of OGCI and the elite members of the United Nations, OPEC, Government ministers, etc.  The atmosphere must be both politically correct and intoxicating. 

We can also imagine the more cynical among enviro-activists saying between ironic smiles, "If these guys are so into challenging global climate change, why don't they just stop producing oil & gas, liquidate their companies and go home to enjoy cleaner air to breathe!" 

While well intended, the stalwart OGCI CEO's seem nevertheless to be kowtowing to the global warming crowd that worked so hard to delay and destroy Shell's vital Arctic exploration program off Alaska's Northern coast--and countless other industry projects.

We believe that this effort could be designed to endear the companies, if not the industry, to more favored treatment by politically sensitive world regulators and by the environmental gadflies that have continuously sought to delay or destroy their projects.  If so, our much respected oil and gas industry becomes just another member of the Crony Capitalist Cabal.

But it is a government relations/PR strategy designed to backfire.  The regulators and enviro-activists will never compromise.  They will always want more: more fund raising dollars, more restrictive bureaucracy and more governmental power.  It is foolish and naive to think otherwise.  

Think about it a minute: if industry believes one way and the socialist-enviro faction thinks another, which side ends up compromising...paying more money...accepting more regulations...bowing to more permitting conditions...supporting more politically correct policy positions?  Answer: not the other side.

We also believe that this oil industry climate change consortium effort opens the way for a higher level of direct and indirect corporate contributions (i.e. pay-offs to environmental groups and powerful elected officials).  Those familiar with American history, particularly in big city crime syndicate areas, have known this process as, "paying for protection." 

Shell -- a member of this new global warming consortium -- spent over $6 billion on Alaska OCS leases and massive expenses along with over a half decade of tireless work to overcome the regulatory and legal roadblocks put into place by a hostile federal government and its environmental allies.

Those roadblocks included bureaucratic timing delays, bogus air quality issues, wildlife issues, drilling season restrictions, enviro-extremist protests and a gauntlet of conditional permit requirements.

No company ever worked harder or spent more corporate treasure on stakeholder communications and project expense to drill one single well than has Shell.

Did that most monumental effort of all time placate federal regulators and enviro-activists?  

One should conclude that the massive, OGCI PR program violates the well-known definition of insanity: repeating the same actions while expecting a different result.

In recent months, we have seen more and more prestigious challenges to the so called, 'proven science of climate change/global warming', including:

Here is the OGCI report.

The oil company CEO "Declaration" shows how OGCI will coordinate with like minded partner organizations/initiatives, most of which are of European/United Nations descent, including:

  • The Sustainable Energy Initiative For All initiative, a powerful group including OPEC, Russia, European and UN Executives...and, former Democratic Senator Tim Wirth, a dedicated Climate Change advocate
  • The Global Methane Initiative which opposes production of Natural gas.
  • The anti-flaring initiative of the World Bank.  Here is its proposed role, which has connotations of a new bureaucracy funded by (oil companies and developed countries?) so that it can keep track of company flaring.
  • the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, is also a "partner" of our OGCI oil friends; it is focused on "national and regional" actions against short term pollutants, including methane, black carbon and HFCs.
  • The Low-carbon Technology Partnerships Initiative aims to: "break down the climate challenge into manageable business and policy actions; and, shape specific policy asks and partnerships which will support actions and mobilize finance to make a material difference to global emissions reductions
  • Caring for Climate, seems to be where the OGCI idea must have originated, for it was, "Launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007 and is the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change‘s initiative aimed at advancing the role of business in addressing climate change.

If Ms. Figueres' goal is to destroy capitalism and "not save the world from environmental calamity", it looks like her UN colleagues have figured out how to do it.  Form a bewildering, interlocking array of "Initiatives" populated by UN managers and other "power organizers" all designed to focus control of "regions and nations" within the World Bank and the United Nations.

Last spring, global warming alarmists tried to scuttle Shell's scheduled use of the Seattle Port, a staging area for the Alaska project this past summer.  

At a Port hearing, most of the environmental witnesses cited Shell's alleged threat to global warming, whatever that is interpreted to mean by listeners.  

We documented at the time an admission from Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.  (Unfortunately, the OGCI consortium is working with Figueres {Photo here}, whose focus is not on the environment but on killing capitalism.

We have always defended the energy industry as the foundation of modern civilization, the essence of free enterprise and capitalism.

Apparently, the worldwide assault on freedom by enemies of capitalism have figured out that if they can make 'global warming' a rhetorical -- if not scientific -- reality, they will have more leverage to raise funds for their efforts and at the same time continue the steady, little-by-little killing of capitalism.

When I served as Gas Committee vice chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) almost ten years ago, I saw first-hand how this climate change mania began to ramp up.

At the last minute before an Annual meeting, liberal commissioners from around the country sought to and were successful in ramming through a last minute 'climate change' policy statement that had not been fully vetted via NARUC'S usual and thorough resolutions procedure.

This action gave aid and comfort to certain Members of Congress and state lawmakers around the nation for saying, "See, NARUC thinks it is in the interest of consumers to support climate change legislation."

This was also a high water mark for armies of lobbyists seeking government aid for solar, wind, geothermal and all kinds of other alternative energy ideas--a big ramp up for crony capitalism.

Legislatures could say, "NARUC and a hundred scientists think action on climate change is in the interest of consumers, so we will pass a law minimizing use of fossil fuels used to produce electricity."  (Note: consistent with the President's campaign promise: see video.)

All over the country states undertook anti-fossil fuel measures.  These measures were mostly known as, "renewable portfolio standards".  This state status report illustrates how effective the anti-consumer liberal agenda has been to  1) cause utility rates to "necessarily skyrocket!", by 2) paying homage to the concept of global warming/climate change.  

Along the way, this insidious, anti - competitive RPS concept kills free enterprise jobs while creating, nourishing and sustaining crony capitalist companies loyal to their political benefactors.

On the federal front, the Administration and Congress tried to push through cap-and-trade legislation; failing that, the EPA is attempting to use its own regulatory power to achieve the same result.  Coal is producing over a third of the electric power in the country and it is very clean burning now...and, the cheapest way to produce electricity for consumers.  But the 'war on coal' is also, little by little, beginning to accomplish the Administration's goal of causing utility rates to, "...necessarily skyrocket...."

Here's the perverse effect on consumers.  Regulatory commissions everywhere are bound to produce utility (i.e. including electric) rates for consumers that are found to be "just and reasonable" after public notice, commission hearings, expert witnesses, establishment of a legal record of the proceedings, adjudication and the opportunity to appeal decisions.

But what if a Legislature passes a law that says, "defending against climate change is in the consumers' best interest: we are passing anti-coal, anti-fuel oil, anti-natural gas, etc. legislation and giving grants to solar, wind and other alternative energy companies?" 

Well then, the Regulatory Commission is forced into a corner.  The commission must allow utilities to recover the higher cost of securing alternative energy-produced electricity by passing on those costs to industrial, business and residential (family) consumers.  Adding insult to industry, utilities will also be allowed to charge customers for obtaining random, high priced fossil powered electricity to make sure customers have light and heat when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.  In short, pay double/triple for the same electricity.

Triple, yes.  For rate payers, as taxpayers, must also have their earned income redistributed by elected officials via grants and subsidies to their crony contributors/voters.

Here's the outcomecertain alternative energy companies have been enriched, elected officials supporting alternative energy companies receive contributions, TAXPAYERS PAY MORE TO PROVIDE THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY GRANTS and CONSUMERS PAY MORE, MUCH MORE FOR ELECTRICITY UNLESS THEY FIND THEIR OWN WORKABLE SUBSIDY.  Never forget the President's statement about utility rates.

Speaking of the President, the current Administration, elected a year after NARUC's action, was heavily supported by environmental and alternative energy lobbies.  

The Administration has served those lobbies well.  It has violated Congressional jurisdiction by managing the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge like a 'Wilderness'.  It has blocked energy activity in half of the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska.  It has pre-emptively and illegally stopped a mining project designed on Alaska state land leases before that project could even file for permits and enjoy a Constitutionally protected 'due process'.  It illegally (i.e. without due process) imposed a moratorium on oil and gas activity in the SHALLOW WATER of Alaska's Arctic after similar restrictions were legally imposed on Gulf of Mexico DEEP WATER drilling activity following the Deep Water Horizon tragedy in 2010.  It has illogically and irresponsibly blocked approval of the Keystone LX Pipeline even following successive State Department environmental clearances.

But more relevant to this discussion, the Administration has funneled huge, multi-hundred million dollar grants and subsidies to both producers of and consumers of alternative energy by tapping taxpayer pockets.

*     *     *

Now, imagine yourself flying 37,000 feet above and looking down upon this situation.

What you are seeing is a massive fundamental change in the free enterprise system that made America great.  Now, many crony capitalist companies compete for government and political favor, not against competitors in the market place -- or at least that is secondary.

President Eisenhower cautioned the country in his farewell address that, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

We can be sure that if he had known about the crony capitalist/environmental, governmental cabal described herein, he would have modified his speech to include a broader warning that includes the energy sector.

However, later in that speech, he did say something that should sober every public official and every citizen.

Just as we have cautioned in this webpage about intergenerational inequity, so did the good President say in 1961,"...you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

Can't you picture Ike turning in his grave now, over five decades later? 

*     *     *

We know that the companies involved in today's announcement mean well.  They might be concerned that without "being on the correct side of this issue we could injure shareholder value".  Or, many of the leaders themselves could now be leaning toward 'green' or socialist philosophies.  For even if government controls their companies through partial ownership, bureaucratic regulation or fiat, they still have mighty fine jobs, still have viable companies.

Well, I cannot pretend to be in the minds of the decision makers whose rationale for this landmark decision must surely vary from board room to board room.

But I will offer this "free advice" to the companies of the OGCI Consortium, from a number of background perspectives:  

  • You should focus your management attention on aggressive, environmentally responsible oil and gas exploration and development.  As demonstrated in the OGCI report and company web pages, your individual efforts are admirable.  You should vigorously defend your accomplishments and not apologize for them as the organization of OGCI suggests.  
  • The group OGCI effort is likely to distract you from shareholder work without solving the problems you imagine will be solved.
  • You are likely to find those hired or promoted to OGCI work in that communal organization or in your individual company will be voices that more and more influence changes contrary to your traditional corporate culture and mission.
  • Rather, why aren't you focusing on supporting political leaders and parties committed to responsible resource development?
  • Avoid the temptation to have OGCI become a new conduit for money to environmental causes. Never make contributions to organizations that do not support your efforts; that is not to say you must always publicly oppose them, but active support is illogical and detracts from shareholder value.
  • You should redouble your financial support for business related NGOs that support your traditional mission and values.  Help them become more influential, credible and persuasive--with the general public and especially with younger generation issues, like STEM education.
  • Don't let liberal criticism of the Koch brothers intimidate you into supporting their critics.  Your policies should more closely emulate their principled convictions.
  • You will likely be pressured to compromise your positions beyond which OGCI has agreed to; remember that in the socialist or environmental arena, capitalist leaders are the ones compromising.  It's like a big buffet wherein OGCI brings the food while environmentalists and allied socialists bring the appetite, the energy, the arguments and the willingness to use any legal and some illegal means that they think are justified by the ends.  You cannot but lose position in the OGCI environment.

Finally, if you continue to pursue this OGCI course of action, you will:

  • be disappointed that all the executive time devoted to it will cause not less environmental opposition, but more hassle; and
  • going to the COP21 Paris meeting itself, will likely require a significant amount of your time dealing with mostly unproductive follow-up communication and meetings with advisors (COP21 goal, "a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world"); and
  • your external affairs folks will be flooded with new contribution requests from public officials and NGOs (i.e. "We're on the same side now; help me help you!"); and
  • find that many of your loyal employees will be wondering why precious corporate assets are moving toward initiatives that are opposed to the company's values and operations; and
  • know that much of the traditional, business support in communities you serve everywhere, will be disappointed.  Your community stakeholders will be put in the awkward position of either supporting your global climate change adventure or opposing that expediency.  Those who are intimidated into supporting you will be working contrary to their philosophies and sense of intellectual integrity; and
  • while you may not wish to compromise on a critical issue, the OGCI majority may want to not only give away part of their farm, but part of yours as well (i.e. the danger of working in "majority rule", communal groups sometimes outweighs the advantages, particularly where CEO egos and reputations are highly visible); and
  • lastly, many experts now concur that there is not 'settled science' on global warming although there is much evidence on changing temperature cycles over millennia.  And the modern fossil fuel industries in OGCI-developed countries at least, are very clean.  If human activity were proven to produce permanent warming owing to 'greenhouse gasses', it is not certain that Western Europe or America provide a major increment of that effect (i.e. especially compared with the oceans' overshadowing output). It is even less certain that your company's activities are negatively significant greenhouse gas producers.  It is completely certain, however, that if human activity is to "blame", we've mostly to look at China, India and other developing countries as sources, not at your company work.  I am not a scientist trying to present a clinical, peer-reviewed perspective...only the viewpoint of one community member who hates to see you move from a generally sympathetic but politically agnostic position on environmental protection, to a more controversial advocacy role that may be in such conflict with your traditional support base and ultimate shareholder interest -- and even the public interest.

Your position, if unaltered, will change the overall balance of opinion on this matter and lead to significant, hopefully unintended consequences, such as:

  • higher industry taxes to combat the perceived climate challenge to which your CEOs are now wedded;
  • more regulatory burdens with bureaucrats arguing that, "even OGCI knows that stronger steps must be taken";
  • more liberal majorities in political bodies around the world, courting your increased support; and
  • less likelihood that the oil and gas industry can survive (i.e. intact) the worldwide enviro-industrial-governmental cabal that is seeking to amass socialist power and kill capitalism using various tools, such as environmental activists and apologists

Let's face it.  Capitalism, free enterprise and our way of life depend upon the energy foundation, cemented firmly together with fossil fuel building blocks.  If that foundation is controlled by competing private sector companies, the public is -- certainly not perfectly -- but very well served in the best possible way.  

The capitalist system will change if our energy sector falls lock, stock and barrel into the arms of socialist architects (i.e. of whom there will be plenty in Paris at COP21).

To faithful readers:

If I have misinterpreted the case against OGCI or misrepresented the companies' intentions or perspective, I hope you will enlighten me.

The purpose of this energy archive is to provide accurate history, facts and reasoned commentary.  We have always supported the competitive energy industries with our commentary and best wishes.

If we are ever inaccurate we will make a immediate changes as required and even reconsider editorial positions that readers might demonstrate, persuasively, to be logically flawed.

Feel free to communicate here.


One can expect companies farther down the food chain to, one by one, move in the direction of their Industry employers and clients.  What then happens to citizens whose livelihoods depend on those companies; won't they tend to drift in that new direction?  And what about political systems depending on industry and individual voters; is the drift toward the environmental-industrial-governmental cabal their only alternative.  

Who will be left standing for freedom, and it's first son, capitalism, if not you and those responsive to you?

The answer is that without the energy industry remaining independent, competitive and avoiding the tempting siren call of environmental-socialist seduction, it will abandon its free enterprise allies in the smaller business sectors.  Capitalism's days become fewer as free enterprise is replaced by authoritarianism.

With creation of the OGCI consortium announced today, the well organized effort to kill capitalism may have taken an significant, unexpected and disappointing leap forward.




CEOs of 10 global oil and gas companies make collaborative declaration on climate change:      

Call for an effective climate change agreement at COP21.

  • Strengthen actions and investments to contribute to reducing the GHG intensity of the global energy mix.
  • Support the implementation of clear stable policy frameworks consistent with a 2°C future; these will help our companies to take informed decisions and make effective and sustainable contributions to addressing climate change.
  • Collaborate in a number of areas such as efficiency, natural gas, R&D and CCS
  • Report regularly and consistently on their progress.
  • OGCI report outlines member companies’ work to catalyze practical, meaningful and technology-enabled actions to address climate change.

Paris, France; October 16, 2015 – The chief executive officers of 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies - which together provide almost a fifth of all oil and gas production and supply nearly 10% of the world’s energy - today declared their collective support for an effective climate change agreement to be reached at next month’s 21st session of the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change (COP21).

In their milestone declaration, the CEOs of the 10 companies that currently make up the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) – BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total – confirmed that they recognize the general ambition to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade and that the existing trend of the world’s net global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is not consistent with this ambition.

The OGCI member companies have taken significant actions to reduce their GHG footprint, with combined GHG emissions from their operations reducing by around 20% over the past 10 years.

In their declaration the 10 CEOs said:

“Our shared ambition is for a 2°C future. It is a challenge for the whole of society. We are committed to playing our part. Over the coming years we will collectively strengthen our actions and investments to contribute to reducing the GHG intensity of the global energy mix. Our companies will collaborate in a number of areas, with the aim of going beyond the sum of our individual efforts.”

(Helge Lund, BG Group; Bob Dudley, BP; Claudio Descalzi, Eni; Emilio Lozoya, Pemex; Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries; Josu Jon Imaz, Repsol; Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell; Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco; Eldar Sætre, Statoil; and Patrick Pouyanné, Total.)

The OGCI also today launched its collaborative report - ‘More energy, lower emissions’ – highlighting practical actions taken by member companies to improve GHG emissions management and work towards improving climate change impacts in the longer term. These actions include significant investments in natural gas, carbon capture and storage, and renewable energy, as well as low-GHG research and development.

Together the declaration and report set out key areas where the OGCI companies will focus their collaboration, including:             

  • Efficiency: optimizing efficiency of their own operations; improving the end-use efficiency of their fuels and other products; and working with manufacturers and consumers to improve the efficiency of road vehicles.
  • Natural gas: contributing to increasing the share of gas in the global energy mix, ensuring it results in significantly lower lifecycle emissions than other fossil fuels for power generation; eliminating ‘routine’ flaring and reducing methane emissions from their operations.
  • Long-term solutions: investing in R&D and innovation to reduce GHG emissions; participating in partnerships to progress carbon capture and storage; contributing to increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix.
  • Energy access: developing projects to provide people with access to energy in partnership with local and national authorities and other stakeholders.
  • Partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives: seeking opportunities to accelerate climate change solutions by working collectively or individually in industry and other initiatives.
  • The OGCI is a CEO-led, voluntary, oil and gas industry initiative that aims to catalyze practical action on climate change through best practice sharing and collaboration.
  • The OGCI was established following discussions held during the January 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and was officially launched at the September 2014 UN Climate Summit.

For the declaration, report and information:  www.oilandgasclimateinitiative.com

Photo caption: OGCI CEOs declare action on climate change: CEOs present at the event include: Helge Lund, BG Group; Bob Dudley, BP; Claudio Descalzi, Eni; Emilio Lozoya, Pemex; Josu Jon Imaz, Repsol; Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco; Eldar Sætre, Statoil; and Patrick Pouyanné, Total. (OGCI member CEOs not pictured: Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries; Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell)


Media enquiries:

BG: Toby Bates - +44 118 929 2246 – toby.bates@bg-group.com

BP: David Nicholas - +44 7831 095541 - bppress@bp.com

Eni: Rosella Migliavacca  - + 39 345 67 75 323 - rosella.migliavacca@eni.com

Repsol: Kristian Rix - +34650496488 - rix.kristian@repsol.com  

Saudi Aramco: International Media Relations: international.media@aramco.com

Shell: International Media Relations - +44 20 7934 5550

Statoil: Knut Rostad - +47 90548990 – knuros@statoil.com

Total: Victoria Chanial - +33 1 4744 4699 – presse@total.com




President Obama’s Climate Change Message: “This Is All Real, This Is Happening Now” | Video | RealClearPolitics


If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are expected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century, changing all sorts of industries forever. This is all real. This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.”


“Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in imminent danger and need to be relocated. Already rising sea levels are beginning to swallow an island community.


According to the University of Alaska, temperatures in Alaska have fallen 0.1 degrees since 1977. That extrapolates out to a rise of zero degrees by the end of the century, not “six to twelve degrees” as Obama claims.


Seasonal_Yearly_Temp_Change_77_F (2)

Temperature Changes in Alaska | Alaska Climate Research Center


According to NOAA, sea level is falling at 14 out of 17 Alaskan tide gauges. Obama’s claim that sea level rise is “beginning to swallow an island” is absurd.


North Pacific _RegionalTrends_Plot_3

Sea Level Trends – Mean Sea Level Trends for North Pacific Stations


But Obama’s claim is that we can “do something about it.”  Do something about what? Falling temperatures? Falling sea level? What does he propose to do about that?




Faithful readers know that I have traditionally used the 'editorial we' in these commentaries.  But today, I regard this topic so critical to the wellbeing of the country and the Industry that I offer this counsel personally.

But as an independent observer, I have no industry clients and operate this website as a public service at, primarily, my own expense in the last quarter of life.  It is a labor of love, but one to which I am devoted.  Part of my devotion to this nearly 15-year project flows from my knowledge of how many thousands of friends and acquaintances throughout the world read these pages.  I would never want any reader to think that the opinions expressed here were less than well considered and, at least, factual.

Dave Harbour, publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines, is a former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and a Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).  He served as NARUC's official representative to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).  The former Army officer is past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, former Chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and past President of the American Bald Eagle Foundation and the Alaska Press Club.  He is Chairman Emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.

Harbour has served as a public/government/external affairs manager for three gas pipeline companies and an oil company and has owned several small companies in Alaska.  

He has addressed or chaired dozens of oil and gas conferences throughout the United States and Canada and hundreds of his editorials and articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and electronic media throughout North America.

Harbour holds a Master of Science Degree in Journalism-Communications and is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (APR).

Opinions or viewpoints expressed in this webpage or in our email alerts are solely those of the publisher and are not intended to reflect the opinion(s) of any affiliated company, person, employer or other organization that may, in fact, oppose the views stated herein.  -dh




Former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth worked with Vice President Al Gore on global environmental and population issues, supporting the administration's views on global warming. A supporter of the proposed Kyoto Protocol, Wirth announced the U.S.'s commitment to legally binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. From 1998 to 2013, he served as the president of the United Nations Foundation, and currently sits on the Foundation's board.  (Source)



The Global Methane Initiative works in concert with other international agreements, including the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Unlike other GHGs, methane is the primary component of natural gas and can be converted to usable energy. The reduction of methane therefore serves as a cost-effective method to reduce GHGs and increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality and improve worker safety.  (This "partner group" is working against the OGCI consortium goal of, "Contributing to increasing the share of gas in the global energy mix."​



Governments and oil companies that endorse the Initiative will publicly report their flaring and progress towards the Initiative on an annual basis. They also agree to the World Bank aggregating and reporting the same.



Investors Business Daily Editoral, 2-10-15

Economic Systems: The alarmists keep telling us their concern about global warming is all about man's stewardship of the environment. But we know that's not true. A United Nations official has now confirmed this.

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.

Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history."

The only economic model in the last 150 years that has ever worked at all is capitalism. The evidence is prima facie: From a feudal order that lasted a thousand years, produced zero growth and kept workdays long and life spans short, the countries that have embraced free-market capitalism have enjoyed a system in which output has increased 70-fold, work days have been halved and life spans doubled.

Figueres is perhaps the perfect person for the job of transforming "the economic development model" because she's really never seen it work. "If you look at Ms. Figueres' Wikipedia page," notes Cato economist Dan Mitchell: Making the world look at their right hand while they choke developed economies with their left.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/021015-738779-climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism.htm#ixzz3oymSvNqI 
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook


10-17-15 Alaska Gas Pipeline Timeline

17 October 2015 1:16pm

Gas Pipeline Timeline

Fairbanks News Miner

Herb Butler

See our Alaska and Canada gas pipeline history links here....

1976: The U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act in an effort to encourage the construction of a gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to the Lower 48.

1980: A Right-Of-Way license was issued by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission to the Alaskan Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Company. In 2008, that license was voluntarily withdrawn. There are many conflicting opinions why this effort failed to deliver fuel gas to a large U.S. market. The primary reason was the refusal of the oil field producers to provide marketable (high quality) natural gas from the Prudhoe Bay field.

1987: The Export Authority, created by the Alaska Legislature in 1967, is renamed the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. The organization is given additional authorities especially financial powers and also the right to purchase businesses and property.

1999: The Alaska Gasline Port Authority was formed. AGPA is comprised of the three boroughs, Valdez, Fairbanks North Star and North Slope. The mission of this group is to develop a liquefied natural gas export system based in Valdez. The source of fuel gas is from the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

2003: The state of Alaska formed the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, whose mission is to develop a natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez and a spur line to Southcentral Alaska.

2004: The U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act to resolve or clarify many issues attendant to the permitting of an interstate Alaska natural gas pipeline. ANGPA also provided an $18 billion loan guarantee and some tax relief.

2007: The state of Alaska passed the Alaska Gas Inducement Act. AGIA would provide a $500 million matching contribution to the construction of a gas line from Prudhoe Bay through Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Tok Junction and into Canada following the Alaska Highway. Notice that the matching contribution seems to be the only inducement in this vehicle.

2008: TransCanada, a gas pipeline company, was awarded the only AGIA license. TransCanada states their pipeline would not be completed until 2018. Denali Pipeline was created by British Petroleum and Conoco in competition with TransCanada for the AGIA license and continued on with their project after TransCanada was selected by AGIA.

2009: The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is created by the Legislature to advance the plans for Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline, another plan with no forward momentum.   

2011: Denali Pipeline discontinues their pipeline project.

2014: TransCanada terminates the AGIA license but expresses an interest in building a pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Southcentral Alaska (Nikiski) because of the work already accomplished under the AGIA plan. It is this position that Gov. Bill Walker wants to purchase for $100 million. A definitive plan or project does not exist to deliver high-quality natural gas to the LNG port in Nikiski. The Alaska LNG Project is added to AGDC’s responsibilities.

The Cook Inlet natural gas supply is dwindling at a continuous rate. Fairbanks Natural Gas buys its gas at Point Mackenzie in the Matanuska Valley from Enstar. FNG has had to pass on increasing prices to the local customers in Fairbanks. FNG is unable to expand its distribution in Fairbanks because of Enstar pricing and allocation. The expected shutdown of Cook Inlet natural gas sources will happen by 2020 unless a new gas field is found. At this point, there is no alternative source other than Prudhoe Bay.

FNG is trying its best to acquire quality natural gas in Prudhoe Bay, to no avail. The Prudhoe Bay gas is of extremely low quality because it contains 12 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and approximately 76 percent methane. FNG cannot produce LNG (frozen methane) at Prudhoe Bay without extracting all of the CO2. This is because CO2 freezes much sooner than methane and therefore causes all kinds of freezing cycle stoppages. FNG and/or their producer must build an extraction system before a freezing system. Then there is the disposal issue. What do you do with all the CO2 that is extracted? FNG was purchased by AIDEA in 2015. AIDEA is spending a large amount of money to build gas storage and distribution systems in North Pole and Fairbanks without a guaranteed source of natural gas.  

This is good news to the refineries and the liquid fuel distributors. They have some positive future expectations. We consumers in Alaska are facing a dilemma though. We must contend with a status quo situation well into the next years and maybe even longer. Large fuel oil bills will become even larger in size there is no doubt about that. The natural gas users are facing a grim future. They must think of reverting back to liquid fuel.

Two facades are in place in Alaska.

1. AIDEA has spent a large amount of money on a natural gas supply system in the Fairbanks and North Pole area without any guaranteed source.

2. Gov. Walker wants to pay TransCanada pipeline $100 million dollars for their interest in a pipeline project that does not exist. The Alaska LNG Project is only a plan, just like all the other plans before it. A schedule and budget does not exist. The media has reported proposed costs as high as $65 billion. 

Herb Butler is a retired oilfield and refinery engineer who spent decades working in the oil and gas industry in Alaska. He lives in Fairbanks.


16 October 2015 7:12am


To our Houston readers  AND those with families and friends in Houston:

Mobilize the family and go downtown to ENERGY DAY, TOMORROW!

Friday Afternoon Breaking News

Bishop: Interior Arctic Lease Cancellation Plays into Russia’s Hands


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement on the announcement made today by the U.S. Department of the Interior that it will cancel the two potential Arctic offshore lease sales scheduled under the current five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017:

“I am disappointed by this announcement. Alaska must be able to responsibly explore and develop our rich natural resources both onshore and offshore. Any action that limits our ability to explore for more oil—to increase much-needed oil production through the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline—creates unnecessary uncertainty and burden on our economy.” – Governor Bill Walker


“This Administration has dangerous priorities. It drives Shell out of the Arctic by giving the company regulatory hell for years, then uses this victory for big special interest groups to stop any hope for future energy development in the Arctic. While the Obama Administration pats itself on the back, Putin is patting this Administration on the head. Obama has once again played directly into Russia’s hands as he destroys our nation’s energy potential.”

Murkowski: Interior Attempting to Shut Down Arctic Development for Decades

Vows Legislative Pushback in Wake of Latest Anti-Alaska Decision


US Senator Lisa Murkowski, Photo by Dave HarbourWashington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (NGP Photo), today issued the following statement after the Department of the Interior announced its rejection of Shell Alaska’s request to extend its leases off of Alaska’s northern coast and the cancellation of future leases sales in the region.


“This is a stunning, short-sighted move that betrays the Interior Department’s commitments to Alaska and the best interests of our nation’s long-term energy security. Today’s decision is the latest in a destructive pattern of hostility toward energy production in our state that began the first day this administration took office, and continued ever since.   


“Less than a year ago, Interior announced it was locking up millions of acres of the nation’s richest oil and natural gas prospects on the Arctic coastal plain. Interior has also taken more than 11 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska off the table. It has made it nearly impossible for companies to navigate the permitting process, which dramatically limited Shell’s ability to drill to just 163 out of more than 2,800 days. 


“It is absurd that Interior has created a regulatory environment where operators cannot have commercially viable exploration programs, because so many requirements and hurdles have been put in place, and then blames them for not moving forward. There is not a lack of interest in the Arctic – if anything, what we are seeing is a lack of interest in working with the current leadership of the Interior Department.”


“Instead of seeking to shut down Alaska, Interior should remember that the North Slope was nearly abandoned after 14 dry holes were drilled. The opportunity to keep going led to not only the discovery of Prudhoe Bay, but also the production of more than 17 billion barrels of oil and a generation of opportunity for Alaska.


“I will certainly remember that fact as I continue to push legislation that will force Interior to hold regular lease sales in the offshore Arctic. The Energy Committee has already reported my OPENS Act to the full Senate for further consideration, and I will be looking at every possible opportunity to advance it into law.”


Alaska’s Arctic waters hold an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil and 104 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In July, Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advanced the Offshore Production and Energizing National Security (OPENS) Act to ensure that Alaska receives a fair share of the revenue from development in the federal waters off its shores. The OPENS Act also requires annual leases sales in offshore Alaska, including in the near-shore Beaufort Sea. 


# # #







15 October 2015 2:33am

Enviro-Activists Have Created A War Against Civilization--Throughout North America!  -dh

We comment on today's blog by our Aussie O&G Analyst friend:

Remember Governor Walker's recent trip to Japan (Very productive and groundbreaking...NOT; the Japanese will happily consider buying Alaska's gas 1) at the right price, and 2) if Alaska gas can be transported to Japan.  But should Alaska market its royalty gas or let the experienced producers do it?  Will Japan need gas when Alaska's project is complete?  How can Alaska's gas project be sanctioned if the Governor refuses to support fiscal terms of certainty re: Alaska gas AND oil taxes.)

We are sure Alaska's governor tasted no fewer flavors of Japanese hospitality than the Australian resource minister will.  We are also confident that the result of the Australian trip will be little more or less productive than Governor Walker's trip -- except that the Australian private sector has two new and large LNG projects ACTUALLY coming on-stream in 2016-17 from tidewater sources at what will be competitive world prices.  

Alaskan producers are still diligently trying to create a feasible project to transport 35 Tcf of Alaska North Slope gas to tidewater, 800 miles from the North Slope, where it can be converted to LNG and compete for Japanese business.

As a demonstration more of intelligence than courage, Alaska's governor is criticizing Alaska's producers as they endeavor to accomplish their mission; he is threatening them at the same time with a reserves tax on top of the already high Alaskan industry tax burdens.  

When will some people learn that too many government cooks inevitably spoil the economic stew?

...especially when those cooks are not very good at what they do?     -dh

Our Aussie friend says


The Australian Financial Review (AFR) published a story today about a trip to Japan by Australia's new Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg.  The primary aim of the trip was said to be to encourage further Japanese support for Australia's LNG ministry, through meetings with the likes of the Japanese Minister who oversees METI.

The Australian Government owns no gas reserves / resources, has no marketing expertise therein, will have little knowledge of the intricacies of gas markets and has only tangential influence over the Super-Majors and NOCs who dominate ownership of Australia's gas reserves.  (Note: we have said the same about Alaska's governor.  -dh)  On the Japanese side, although there is a far greater integration of Government and gas buyers (through "Japan Inc"), the Government does not directly buy any gas.

Those hardened cynics who adopt a less starry-eyed view of the world than this blog will not expect the Minister to achieve much from this trip other than taste the pleasures of Japanese hospitality.

This is of course what Governments around the world do, so Mr Frydneberg is no orphan - but he is a Minister of a Government that supposedly understands and supports free enterprise.

COMMENTARY.  We only wish we could name our confidential O&G analyst friends, but each has reasons for wanting to offer solid analysis without being named -- yet.  

Today we bring you a very current, eye-opening analysis of the reality of oil supply and demand from our mid-Atlantic O&G analyst friend.  

Our Alaskan and Canadian friends should be taking from this that worldwide competition is becoming more not less stressful; and, that the O&G industries supporting our way of life need popular and political support -- not hostility, opposition, higher taxes and more destructive regulations!  -dh

From Our Mid-Atlantic O & G Analyst Friend:

There are telling signs that the effort to rein in crude oil and natural gas production is getting into full gear. Some of these are directly related to field operations, but some ancillary signs are just relevant in our opinion.


·        We have had several reports that the oil & gas conference business is dwindling rapidly. A number of “annual” conferences have been cancelled this year, and attendance at the rest are lagging badly.

·        We got a report today that the SEC is finalizing rules to allow crowdfunding to add such businesses as oil & gas drillingeligible to attract investment funds through this vehicle.

·        Assets being put up for sale in the Oil Patch are climbing rapidly:




·        Banks are trying to secure themselves without appearing worried. The recent securing of Chesapeake’s bank line is Exhibit A: See FuelFix




·        There are stories of layoffs everywhere, and some companies are cutting for the second or third time in the past year. Salaries are frozen, and bonuses are gone.

See Market Watch

And now comes production reports from the various fields. We watch the Bakken fairly closely, as being a good barometer of overall health.  Wells drilled and volumes were starting to show a significant drop in August.

See the chart below: 

The drop of 19,502 bpd may seem small, but underlying it is the implicit decline rate that will show up further as the number of new wells added in the next couple of months stays very low. The decline comes despite the fact that producers are only drilling their best prospects in this environment. The Daily Production Per Well (112, which is the lowest monthly number since 2008) would be even lower if not for that effort.

The downside is that the Bakken now has 993 uncompleted wells, the highest level yet. This will help keep the volume of production from dropping in a big way for at least 18 months.

Bakken Oil Production (September to August for each year)















Daily Oil




Wells Per





(To August)





Per Well

Per Well




Per Rig

Per Rig






2015 Detail










































































































































...what the market does not do to cut production may come from an onslaught of regulation. The October Director’s Cut (monthly status report) goes on for over four pages summarizing proposed regulations:

Also, a report on Fuelfix today noted the regulatory environment in the Bakken.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota oil industry official says proposed federal regulations threaten the state’s oil production more than depressed crude prices.

North Dakota Petroleum Council Vice President Kari Cutting told an interim legislative committee onWednesday that the new rules range from changes in air quality standards to additional animals being listed as endangered species.

Cutting says the industry is most concerned about the possibility of the federal government regulating the burning of natural gas as a byproduct of oil production.

Cutting says the industry has been able to adapt so far to slumping oil prices. But she says it will have a tougher time adapting to what she calls increased federal overreach.

Cutting’s group represents more than 550 companies and 65,000 workers in North Dakota’s oil and gas industry.


Bottom Line: There is much evidence that the cycle should be getting close the bottom. The biggest question is the length of time any recovery will take. We see evidence of two major catalysts: 1) The cost of capital is being raised for the energy industry, away from what the nominal cost of funds is elsewhere, and 2) The regulatory environment is going restrict the volume of activity.

Calgary Herald/Bloomberg.  The battle to build natural gas pipelines in the post-Keystone XL world has moved from the hearing room into the streets.

Developers are squaring off against activists like Nick Katkevich, who’s prepared to risk jail time to block new pipelines. Their actions have forced companies like Spectra Energy Corp. to take countermeasures that include training staff and contractors to cope with acts of civil disobedience, arranging undercover security and monitoring opponents’ websites and social media postings for signs of protests.

Katkevich, a 30-year-old self-described professional activist from Providence, R.I., says he’s been arrested 11 times for non-violent protests, most recently in September when he chained himself to construction equipment at a Spectra pipeline project. Driven by a desire to hasten the end of the fossil-fuel era, Katkevich said he draws inspiration from the dozens arrested in Texas, Oklahoma and Washington protesting the Keystone pipeline.

“We’re going to keep resisting and costing them money,” Katkevich said in an interview. “We don’t need to be investing billions of dollars in another fossil fuel like fracked gas.”  (More....)

Our Aussie friend (link right column) also provides his quote for the day to which we add a comment.

He observes:

Aussie Quote Of The Day

In light of last week's news about a potential material oil discovery in the Golan Heights, Israel will be hoping that the views of its early 1970s Prime Minister, its own "Iron Lady" Golda Meir, will finally prove to be incorrect:

“Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil.”

Dave's comment: The story of Moses recounts over a dozen times when the Israelites revolted against God's will after he had led them out of Egyptian slavery.  Each time, Moses caused them to return to God...but their disobedience caused them to wander the deserts for 40 years before finally reaching the promised land.  Golda's statement (Circa. 40 years ago), while possibly said in jest, could be interpreted as a criticism of God's plan.  The recent discoveries of Mediterrean gas and Golan Heights oil shale have given further witness to the power of the caring and powerful Creator who knows exactly what He is doing.  It is perhaps a modern demonstration of His hand at work, an example about why it is so necessary for His followers everywhere to be patient and faithful.  -dh


10-14-15 Gasline Board of Directors Meeting Friday

14 October 2015 2:27pm

We encourage interested readers to attend in person or by streaming web video, the monthly meeting of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Board meeting.  Here are the specifics, courtesy of our friends at Alaska Business Monthly:

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) Board of Directors will meet on October 16, 2015 in Anchorage, Alaska at the AGDC corporate office, Calais Building One, 3201 C Street. The meeting will be held in the AGDC Board Room, Suite 604 and convene at 9:00 am.

The public is invited to attend in person at the location mentioned above or by teleconference by calling 855-282-6330 FREE access number 921 140 169.



10-13-15 ConocoPhillips Feeds New Kuparuk Oil Into The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)

13 October 2015 2:21am

Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator, Alaska gas pipeline, LNG, North American Gas Forum, Kenai Peninsula, Photo by Dave HarbourTony Clark, FERC, NARUC, North American Gas Forum, LNG, Alaska, Larry Persily, Photo by Dave HarbourFERC has full workload with LNG export projects"

by Larry Persily

​(NGP Photos: Larry Persily (L) and FERC Commissioner Tony Clark)

Be a part of the Alaska Support Industry Allance's Annual MEET ALASKA conference in January.  Here's how!

ConocoPhillips Adds New Oil to the Trans Alaska Pipeline

Yesterday, ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. announced that Kuparuk Drill Site 2S (DS2S photo) began producing ConocoPhillips Alaska, Kuparuk, ConocoPhillips, Drill Site 25, Photo Courtesy ConocoPhillips, Edited by Northern Gas Pipelinesoil, under budget and ahead of schedule. The project was approved for funding in October 2014, and production was originally expected in December.

This is the first new drill site at Kuparuk in more than 12 years. DS2S is expected to add about 8,000 barrels of oil per day (BOD) gross at peak production.

Kuparuk Drill Site 25, new oil, ConocoPhillips, Photo Courtesy COP“Drill Site 2S is one of the key projects that we announced after passage of tax reform,” said Joe Marushack (NGP Photo), President, ConocoPhillips Alaska. “The $475 million project created about 250 jobs during construction, with numerous contractor companies and trades involved.

"We thank them for their effort to bring the project in ahead of schedule and for their commitment to working safely," Marushack said.  (See full release here.)


1.  BP's 3rd Quarter results will be published in two weeks, on Tuesday, 27 October.

2.  Today our Aussie O&G analyst friend comments today on Alaska's Kenai LNG plant and on liquidation underway within the O&G industry.

3.  Today our Mid-Atlantic O&G analyst friend discusses the declining borrowing capacity of E&P companies.

4.  Arctic Newswire/ADN by Laurel Andrews.  Royal Dutch Shell’s Noble Discoverer drillship left Dutch Harbor Monday afternoon....

5.  Canadian Oil Sands Boom Dries Up, by Ian Austen, New York Times/ADN.


Alaska Support Industry Alliance Trade Show: get your booth before they are gone!  MEET ALASKA will convene on Friday, January 8, 2016, at the Denai’na Civic and Convention Center. Here are the tradeshow application and the layout with numbered booths. The following booths are available today:  8, 10-13, 16-18, 21, 24-29, 34, 35, 37-39, 42-45, 47-49, 57, 58 and 60-63.  Enjoy!  -dh


FERC has full workload with LNG export projects

Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator, Alaska gas pipeline, LNG, North American Gas Forum, Kenai Peninsula, Photo by Dave HarbourBy Larry Persily lpersily@kpb.us (NGP Photo)
Oct. 13, 2015
(Larry Persily, assistant to the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, attended a North American gas forum in Washington, D.C., and prepared this report as part of the borough’s ongoing efforts to share information about LNG market developments. No borough funds were spent on travel.)
It’s a busy time for LNG project applications at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC has files open for almost two dozen proposed liquefied natural gas export terminals. That’s in addition to the five projects already approved by the agency. It was less than a decade ago that federal regulators had almost twice as many proposals for LNG import terminals — but that was before the U.S. shale gas boom ended any need to bring in gas from overseas suppliers.
The proposed export projects are scattered across the country, as far east as Maine, south to Georgia and Florida, all along the Gulf Coast and as far north as Alaska — seemingly anywhere there is a pipeline to move the surplus of U.S. shale gas to the coast for liquefaction and shipment to overseas markets. Or, in the case of Alaska, moving an almost 50-year-old gas discovery to market.
The agency is devoting more resources to its Office of Energy Projects to handle the workload, Joseph Kelliher (NGP Photo-R, with Dave Harbour), a former FERC chairman, said at the annual North American Gas Forum in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5-6. The higher the quality and the more complete the application — its environmental reports, data and details —the faster it will move, he said.
Less local controversy also helps, Kelliher added.
But multiple challenges from fossil fuel and LNG project opponents are slowing down the process, he said, as FERC spends more time on each environmental review.
Tony Clark, FERC, NARUC, North American Gas Forum, LNG, Alaska, Larry Persily, Photo by Dave HarbourFERC Commissioner Tony Clark NGP Photo) delivered the same message. The agency works harder and longer on each project to produce a thorough environmental review and decision that will stand up to the expected challenges in court. Several speakers noted it can take two years, or more, to receive a final environmental impact statement and decision on an LNG terminal from FERC.
Regardless of increased opposition to energy projects, the applicants — and the public — deserve timely decisions and certainty of law, Clark said. He cited the seven-year wait by TransCanada for a State Department decision on the proposed Keystone XL Alberta-to-U.S. oil sands pipeline as a “debacle.” The State Department, not FERC, decides on cross-border pipelines.
Most of the U.S. shale gas bonanza, however, is staying at home. This past spring, for the first time ever, natural gas produced more electricity in the United States than coal-fired power plants. “It was just an absolute sea change that no one could have predicted,” Clark said.
Moving all that gas from shale formations to domestic customers and to the coasts for export requires a lot of pipeline capacity, much of which used to move in different directions from traditional gas-producing areas. “We’re changing the piping of the United States,” said Octavio Simoes, president of Sempra LNG, which is building an export terminal at Hackberry, La.
For example, instead of moving Gulf Coast gas to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, pipelines will need to transport Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio to the Gulf Coast for export as LNG.
The boom in shale gas production has made the United States a must-see for foreign buyers of LNG, looking for new supply sources to diversify their portfolio. And looking for lower prices.
Most U.S. gas is quoted as “Henry Hub,” the name given to the pricing point for natural gas futures contracts. The trading benchmark is a distribution hub where several major gas pipelines connect in Erath, La. Simoes told the story of a group of overseas buyers who wanted to tour the “Henry Hub,” mistakenly thinking there might be something to see. But Henry Hub is merely an aboveground metering station. “There were 40 of them and they took a lot of photos,” Simoes said.
Sempra’s project, called Cameron LNG, is adding liquefaction and export capability to an underutilized import terminal. Commercial operations are set to start in 2018, Simoes said, and already Sempra is thinking about expanding the plant’s capacity.
Until global LNG markets settle down and develop a new pricing structure, Sempra expects to see more short-term contracts rather than the traditional long-deal deals.
Too much new supply going after weak demand, coupled with the lowest prices in years, is making it tough on developers thinking about investing in new projects. Several speakers said that reluctance could mean tight global supplies in the 2020s.
“We think there is substantial risk of supply the end of the decade and into the next,” said Anatol Feygin, a senior vice president at Cheniere Energy, which is scheduled to open in Sabine Pass, La., the first LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 states by the end of the year.
There have been a lot of big changes in global LNG markets in just the past few years with new, lower pricing options, more flexible contract terms, and multiple new supply options from Papua New Guinea, Australia, the United States, as well as hopefuls from Canada to Israel to East African nations. “The world has not yet recalibrated to this new normal,” Feygin said.
Until that adjustment, low prices and fears of a long price recovery add uncertainty to investment decisions. “The economics on projects are quite stressed,” said Don Lemoine, vice president for gas monetization at global construction contractor Kiewit Energy Group.
Despite the turmoil, some fundamentals remain important. Buyers want known, reliable suppliers with a strong balance sheet, Simoes said. And suppliers still need long-term sales contracts to underpin the billions of dollars in financing needed to build an LNG project. Without that matchmaking, companies will not make final investment decisions and the market could be short of gas in the 2020s — and buyers will complain about high prices as they did in the past few years.
In addition to the Sempra and Cheniere projects, three other LNG export terminals are under construction in the United States — two in Texas and one on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. And though U.S. LNG export promoters talk a lot about selling into the large Asian market, Europe and several emerging markets look good, too, Feygin and Simoes said.
“We’re not putting as many eggs … into the Asian basket as we did two or three years ago,” Feygin said of Chienere’s marketing efforts. Asian demand will depend in great part on how many nuclear power plants are restarted in Japan, and whether China’s economy and energy demand returns to strong growth. European demand will build over time, Feygin said, as will the Middle East which is increasingly looking at LNG to fuel its electrical generating plants.
Add to the list Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, Simoes said. All are buying more LNG or starting to import the fuel. “I could go on and on with the list.”
How much European LNG demand grows will depend on the price of oil as a competing fuel, whether countries impose or raise carbon taxes, if local gas production continues to decline, and how much Russia fights — and lowers its prices — to protect its prime market.
“Russia has learned its lesson,” and is offering better contract terms, said Svetlana Ikonnikova, an energy economist at the University of Texas at Austin. Russia’s big exporter, Gazprom, makes most of its profits from gas sales to Europe and has taken note that many of its customers can take LNG as an option.
Some, like Lithuania, opted for a floating import terminal, rather than building a much more expensive and time-consuming onshore project. The floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) takes delivery from an LNG carrier, stores it onboard until it is needed, then regasifies the fuel and pipes it to shore.
Egypt just tied up its second FSRU, and Jordan and Pakistan are also turning to floating terminals, along with several South American countries. At least nine older LNG carriers have been sold this year, likely targeted for eventual conversion to FSRU vessels. Global FSRU import capacity jumped five-fold between 2008 and 2015, and could reach 130 million metric tons of LNG per year by 2021, Feygin said.


Today’s Blog – Tuesday 13th October 2015

by AO&GOblogster

Please pass on this blog to others you think may like to read it


Data from two separate sources confirms what many industry observers currently consider to be the case: the oil patch is currently in liquidation mode.

The first data point is in respect to exploration expenditure.  Without exploration, reserves cannot be replaced, let alone expanded, but expenditure on this critical input has been slashed in the last couple of years.  Recent data from energy specialists, Tudor Pickering Holt (TPH) expects the exploration spend in 2016 (for the companies it covers) to be around half what is was in 2013.

And 2013 expenditure fell dramatically short of delivering discoveries that would cover consumption.

Furthermore, TPH's coverage universe is basically the larger companies in the global private sector - who are the drivers of exploration much more than the NOCs.

The second data point covers that other source of new reserves for the larger oil companies - acquiring their smaller brethren.  However this sector has also seen a dramatic decline in expenditure.  Dollars spent on acquisitions in the last quarter only totalled US$18B - 60% less than the quarterly norm in the preceding six years.

As Shell's CEO Ben Van Beurden noted last week, this lack of current investment creates the material risk of an oil shortfall and associated price spike in years to come.

Commodity prices

Crude oil prices fell ~5% over-night, with Brent closing at US$50.22 and WTI at US$47.38.

This fall feels like a not unexpected natural re-tracement and profit-taking following last week's large rise.  Goldman Sachs is currently a vocal bear and its influence on markets can be material.

The particular "numbers" that catalysed the bears on the day was the release of OPEC's monthly report, which showed that its production had increased by 100,000 bopd to 31.57mm bopd (somewhat larger than the official quota of 30mm bopd).  Saudi exports have been increasing as its own demand (summer related - for air conditioning) has relaxed in recent months.

In addition to pumping as hard as they can for revenue raising reasons, the Sunni world is also grabbing as much market share as it can prior to more Iranian oil coming back to market.

Over at Henry Hub, last night we saw a small rise to US$2.54.


The owners of the shiny new liquefaction plants coming on line in Australia have been (rightly) pointing out that, notwithstanding their current travails, these are very long life assets that will generate cash-flows for decades to come.

The longevity of liquefaction plants was recently emphasised by Alaska's Kenai plant seeking Federal authorisation to export more gas.  Kenai delivered its first cargo in 1969 and it looks like it will still be selling gas on its 50th anniversary.

South of Kenai, in British Columbia, mixed messages continue to emerge in connection with the Province's supposedly most advanced LNG project, the Petronas led Pacific Northwest project.  On the one hand, last week a Petronas spokesman re-assured stakeholders in Canada that the company was still committed to the project.  On the other hand, back home in Malaysia, local analysts have said the project is likely to be deferred to next decade.

On this issue, as in many others, one should always "follow the money".  Petronas, and its owner the Malaysian Government, arguably does not have the discretionary funds to invest in an expensive overseas project at this time.


Oklahoma continues to suffer from seismic events that have a potential causal link with oil patch activities.  On Saturday a 4.5 strength earth-quake was felt in the key oil hub of Cushing.   In response, the State Regulator (no enemy of the oil patch) ordered the suspension of local produced water re-injection activities.

Meanwhile over in Australia, the South Australian State Government is keen to be seen to "do something" about the closure of the State's only coal mine at Leigh Creek.  To that end it is assisting the promotion of the coal gasification potential of the remaining coal deposits by a small ASX listed company called Leith Creek Energy.

Given the history of coal gasification in Queensland, what could possibly go wrong?

Company news - Santos (STO)

STO yesterday announced an imminent 200 redundancies (on top of around 600 already made earlier this year).  Perhaps your Blogster should postpone his visit to STO's offices asking whether they want to sign a lucrative contract to receive this blog?  Still, the company has the funds to pay for the wages of both of its current CEOs.

As has become customary, The Australian Financial Review (AFR) today provided a brief update on the company's asset divestment process. Today the focus seemed to turn away from the Western Australian assets back to PNG.

Company news - Central Petroleum (CTP)

The AFR also today had a bullish piece on the proposal to link gas resources in the Northern Territory with Eastern Australian though the "NEGI" gas pipeline project.

It appears that the AFR was charmed (or bulldozed?) by CTP's well known CEO, Richard Cottee (more commonly known in the media as "the ebullient Richard Cottee") into giving somewhat more weight to the chances of the project going ahead than do the cynics like this blog (once I hear stories about investment grade sellers with reserves signing deals with investment grade buyers, I will instantly change my tune).

Company news - CNPC

Massive Chinese NOC CNPC (parent of PetroChina) is hardly an Australian company, but overnight news from it has implications in every country in which it invests.  This was the handing out of a 16 year jail sentence to its previous leader Jiang Jiemin for corruption. This followed the conviction earlier this year of another previous company chief, Zhou Yongkang.

Managers across the Chinese NOCs will be increasingly cautious about taking any business risks, even entirely legitimate ones, in case they could be tarred with a corrupt brush.

Quote of the day

Speaking of the ebullient Richard Cottee, a confidential source of this blog told the tale of Richard's analysis of his time at ill-fated Nexus Energy (more sensitive readers should turn away):

"Before I joined I knew I was going to be fed a sh*t sandwich.  What I didn't know was there would be no bread!"


From our Mid-Atlantic O&G analyst friend (COMMENT: Please read carefully and apply this trend to the importance of state and provincial governments supporting and not opposing LNG other O&G projects.  That is, if they want the jobs, reasonable (i.e. and not confiscatory) revenue from such projects in an era of low prices and heightened, worldwide competition.  -dh)

One of the largest open questions this fall affecting NA shale operators has been the extent to which banks will lower the borrowing capacity of E&Ps. There is a confluence of negative factors weighing on this evaluation that were not present in the past. Among them:

·        Lower natural gas prices than the prior three years

·        A whole year of depressed crude oil prices, and lower at this time of the year than last year

·        A major decrease in hedged future production

·        The likelihood that many E&Ps will reduce their previously booked reserves, especially PUDS

In effect, the banks are not going to have much to work with in giving the E&Ps any kind of break.

A recent report from RJR describes the process the banks will go through in the current round of redeterminations, and their estimate of the results. This should have a major impact on production going into 2016, and may directly affect the viability of a number of the producers. The next step: How do larger E&Ps approach the distressed? How do the Private Equity firms approach the distressef?

RJR speculates that the redeterminations may get even tougher next year, going into 2017. On the “bad activity begets bad activity” theme, it may be possible, but we are not on board with that yet.  There are too many variables and inputs.

In coming months, E&P borrowing could be down 20-25%.


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