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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.


3-4-14 Palin Predicted Ukraine - Romney Advocated Stand Against Russia

04 March 2014 6:44am


BP today announced its intention to establish a separate business to manage its onshore oil and gas assets in the US Lower 48.

See today's Globe & Mail piece on Asian LNG competition for price


Comment: Yesterday we noted that two legislators are planning for a new oil revenue stream should voters adopt an August Primary Ballot proposition to repeal oil tax reform.  

That revenue stream will be based on a new policy emphasis on state investment and equity into oil and gas exploration and development projects.  These are the same minority legislators who are leading an effort to repeal the SB21 oil tax reform bill passed by a majority of the House and Senate, and signed by the Governor, less than a year ago.

We can now see a strategy rising from the mist: repeal of tax reform will have to be replaced by something that produces revenue.  Since repeal of reform will deflect investment, an unhappy but obvious policy replacement would be to socialize/nationalize natural resource industries...starting with the small step of massive equity investment of public funds and employment of state employees to oversee the profitability of the investments.  

What could possibly go wrong?

Today, we hear in a Fairbanks News Miner editorial, that certain Mayors who reap large and mostly passive benefits from the oil and gas statewide property tax, are mounting an effort to investigate impact on their revenues from an agreement between the state and gas pipeline parties regarding the fiscal regime enabling a gas pipeline project to proceed.

Charlotte Brower, Mayor, North Slope Borough, property tax, ACES, tax reform, oil, Photo by Dave HarbourWe again note that Alaska North Slope Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo) has gone on record in support of oil tax reform.

Certain gubernatorial candidates oppose both oil tax reform and the fiscal terms surrounding a gas pipeline project.

The current governor supports both tax reform and the proposed gas pipeline fiscal regime.

While there seems to be alignment among major gas pipeline and oil tax stakeholders, lack of political alignment from other, vocal influence leaders could well cause oil tax reform to disappear after August, soon to be replaced by new statewide leadership and a new world of natural resource control by bureaucrats and government ownership of the 'means of production'.

Should this be the outcome, we can envision great impact, as well, on Alaska's entire investment climate, not merely limited to natural resource investors.  -dh

Sarah Palin, governor, alaska, russia, ukraine, Photo by Dave Harbour

Comment:  Fox News interviewed former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (NGP Photo) today.  

During the interview, we learned that Candidate Obama opposed Candidate Romney's conviction that Russia posed a global threat to peace.  

The program also produced a video of Candidate Sarah Palin, earlier warning that just as Russia invaded Georgia it could as easily invade Ukraine.  

Throughout the interview, Palin emphasized the importance of approving the Keystone XL pipeline and developing domestic energy resources with Administration support--rather than Administration opposition.  

Our faithful readers know that we have been hard on Palin for her Alaska oil tax and gas pipeline policies nearly a decade ago...but in this interview we found ourselves appreciating her message, which we paraphrase: "Develop America's resources aggressively and responsibly now, Mr. Obama, or watch our standing in the world and support for our allies diminish along with our national security and economic recovery."

John Norman, Commissioner, AOGCC, IOGCC, Alaska Oil And Gas Conservation Commission, Photo by Dave HarbourWe also note from the current issue of  Petroleum News, that "Commissioner John Norman (NGP Photo) retired from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission at the end of January. Norman, an attorney, had been the public member of the commission for 10 years. He was named to the commission by former Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004, replacing Sarah Palin as the public mem....​"  (We are reminded once again of what a small world it is as we congratulate Governor Palin on her stand for domestic energy production and her replacement, Commissioner Norman, for a lifetime of service to the state and nation.    -dh

Wall Street Journal by James Freeman  


Warren Buffett, Dave Harbour, NARUC, Photo by Dave Harbour, climate change, global warmingThe billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (Photo, Buffett with NGP Publisher) is on some kind of roll. Yesterday we told you about his warning on public pension funds in his annual letter to shareholders. Now, he's puncturing deeply-held liberal myths about global warming. Mr. Buffett tells CNBC that extreme weather events are not becoming more common, and that climate change is not altering his company's calculations when insuring against catastrophic weather events. "The public has the impression that because there's been so much talk about climate that events of the last 10 years from an insured standpoint and climate have been unusual," he said. "The answer is they haven't."   (We commented on the subject of climate change two days ago, invoking Aristotle's Golden Mean ideal; and we challenged both sides of the debate).  -dh

Comment and link: We earlier commented on LNG competition.

Here, Peter Tertzakian of the Globe and Mail gives further insight on the softening LNG market for British Columbia exports.  Are not some of Canada's LNG export concerns ones that we Alaskans share.  In both Alaska's land Canada's cases, LNG market demand and competition are exacerbated by local political interests striving to obtain for themselves and their constituencies all possible benefits --  even if the end result is achieving 100% success in gaining benefits for projects that became embroiled and then doomed in a sea of local and national political struggles.

To quote our reference at the Globe and MailJapanese benchmark prices for LNG in Asia have been exceptionally high since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, almost exactly three years ago. Concurrently, domestic Canadian natural gas prices have been anomalously low. The resulting “differential” between the two was $15.70 (U.S.) for one million British thermal units (MMBtu) at its widest in July, 2012. It’s been that massive price gap, or arbitrage, that triggered the buy-low-sell-high opportunity to build LNG export facilities in North America, including 14 projects off the west coast of B.C.


3-3-14 Democrats Propose More Government Oil Industry Ownership

03 March 2014 3:10pm

Tim Bradner at Nikiski LNG Terminal, democrats propose new oil ownership scheme, Photo by Dave HarbourPeninsula Clarion (Morris News Service/Alaska Journal of Commerce), by Tim Bradner (NGP Photo, at Nikiski LNG Terminal).  

Minority Democrats in the Legislature unveiled their vision of an oil tax system should voters this summer roll back the tax structure lawmakers approved last year.

.   .   .

Bill Wielechowski, alaska senate, oil equity ownership, democrat plan, photo by Dave harbour“There are (state) entities around the world that own a share of their oil industry (through state oil companies) and I have confidence that we have the ability to do this,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski (NGP Photo).

.     .     .

Les Gara, Alaska legislature, oil tax, ACES, oil equity ownership, Photo by Dave Harbour“The governor’s giveaway is a pathway to poverty,” said Rep. Les Gara, (NGP Photo), said in the press conference “He throws two billion dollars out of an airplane and hopes it lands in the piggy bank....”


3-2-14 Is Global Cooling About To Overrun Global Warming? What Would Aristotle Say?

02 March 2014 8:37am

From Forbes

Opinion by

Peter Ferrara

Dear Readers:  We have documented excesses in policy and deficiencies in decision making owing to the 'global warming' faith crowd.  

Still, we must prize facts and science over politics in our search for 'Endless Progress'.  In this spirit, we ask our more knowledgeable friends to help us with a response or rebuttal to this reaction to Ferrara's commentary.    -dh

(Our Comment: The Obama Administration departments -- including DOD -- base many changing policies on a bureaucratic faith in the siren calls of global warming.  

Upon the "environmental protection/global warming" assumptions are based programs causing vast damage to American employment, economic health and national security--while building big government bureaucracies and political dependencies on the Executive branch.  

This explains why the Administration and its allies will fight to the death to impugn the reputation of global warming critics.  After all, if the climate is actually growing cooler or simply cycling through another historic period of 'cooling/warming', how can government justify its damaging policies?  

Ferrara's Forbes column may represent an inconvenient truth to disciples of global warming--but integrity demands that we hear a response to the challenge laid out in the box above.  After all, even if it can be shown that warming is a long term trend, we would still demand -- in the name of science -- proof that mankind (and not the oceans, etc.) were the major contributor of greenhouse gasses.  

Then, if man is proved to be the principle cause, is America wisely adopting policies that are reasonable and do not threaten to bankrupt the country while major carbon producers in the developing world are making little to no effort to contain carbon output?  

Lastly, even if the United States (i.e. with over $17 trillion dollars in short term debt and over $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities)  bankrupts itself in search of the holy climate grail, will the end result of global domination by powerful green house gas emitters produce a more sustainable world?   

We do not advocate one political position over another or one extreme view over another (i.e. except that as our dear readers know, we do not deny that we are dedicated to the intent and protections of the Constitution of the Unites States and its precedent, Declaration of Independence).  And we do not seek compromise for the sake of 'getting along'.  Instead, we search for reason, a place between excess of bureaucracy and deficiency of precaution -- which which Aristotle might still today characterize as the "Golden Mean".  -dh) 

Ferrara's words, continued:  "...future generations of scientists will look back and say this is the moment when we took the political out of the political science of "climate change," and this is how we did it. Real scientists know that these 50 co-authors are real scientists. That is transparent from the tenor of the report itself.

"The publication is "double peer reviewed," in that it discusses thousands of peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals, and is itself peer reviewed. That is in sharp contrast to President Obama's own EPA, which issued its "endangerment finding" legally authorizing regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, without submitting the finding to its own peer review board, as required by federal law. What were they so afraid of if 97% of scientists supposedly agree with them?

"The conclusion of the report is that the U.N.'s IPCC has exaggerated the amount of global warming likely to occur due to mankind's emissions of CO2, and the warming that human civilization will cause as a result "is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being." The primary, dominant cause of global climate change is natural causes, not human effects, the report concludes."   




28 February 2014 4:37am

Retired Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association, Steve Borell, sent this pipeline map of the troubled Ukraine today, saying, "If you want to understand this mess very quickly, just look at the map."
Thank you, Steve.   

Clearly, Russia has leverage over Ukraine.  Depriving Ukraine of energy supplies or reasonably priced energy could deal a devastating economic blow to the struggling country.

The map also illustrates the importance of the United States and Canada reasonably developing their own energy resources.  Energy is the building block of an economy and all economic activity in modern societies is totally dependent on both the supply and the reasonable pricing of energy supplies--as we learned with the Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970s.

With continuing delay of the Keystone XL pipeline and continuous stalling of other energy and mining projects, America's leaders are preventing their citizens not only from having massive new employment, but from enjoying the energy independence and national security which they deserve and could so easily enjoy but for an obstinate Administration.

The map was created from data provided from National Gas Union of Ukraine by RIA Novosti.  We display the map with appreciation, subject to permission requested from the owner.  This and other similar maps are available to public viewing on Google.           -dh

Governor Murkowski Advises State On Federal and Gasline Policies
Carl Portman
Speaking at the Alaska Support Industry Alliance Thursday breakfast meeting in Anchorage, former Governor Frank Murkowski (NGP Photo) urged the legislature to clearly identify the risks and benefits of the Memorandum of Understanding between the state and TransCanada that spells out the terms of a partnership between these entities to bring stranded North Slope gas to commercial markets. The former governor also addressed SB 138, a bill introduced by Governor Sean Parnell, which creates a framework for the project.
    Murkowski also addressed other issues, including "federal overreach" which he said is harming Alaska's efforts to broaden its economy through the development of its natural resources.
Especially critical of the Environmental Protection Agency's Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, Murkowski said the EPA may be positioning itself to use the assessment to prevent the Pebble project in Southwest Alaska from being vetted through the multi-year NEPA permitting process. He said a preemptive and premature veto of the project would set a dangerous precedent and potentially threaten future projects across Alaska and elsewhere.
The former governor also urged the state to seriously consider a Canadian project to extend a railroad to Delta where Alberta oil would be pumped into the the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which is currently running at two-thirds empty. The Canadians are in early discussions on the potential project and are conducting an economic analysis to see if it is feasible. 
Murkowski said Alaska cannot wait ten years or longer for a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska or new oil from the Outer Continental Shelf. He said Alaska's economic well-being is dependent on Alaskans taking action now to spur new activity that will bear fruit sooner than later.


27 February 2014 3:22am

Early Thursday News:


This morning, we board our Alaska Airlines, Rockey Mountain High, Photo by Dave Harbourfavorite airline, Alaska (NGP Photo, "Rockey Mountain High"), heading to Miami then on a wonderful partner airline (American) bound for writing and photography in Ecuador for a few weeks.  Never fear, dear reader: every day we keep close in touch with goings on in the energy scene through our friends and associates from Inuvik to Calgary, Toronto, Washington, Houston, Williston, Juneau, Anchorage, Faribanks and Barrow...and beyond.  You are our priority, and we'll keep you informed!  -dh

Juneau Empire by Matt Woolbright.  Leaders from the private partners in the proposed Alaska LNG project urged lawmakers Tuesday to support the plan that they call a good business venture for everyone involved.  ...  

All those testifying pointed to the recently adopted Heads of Agreement document as an indicator that now is the time to press forward.

That document is “enabling unprecedented commercial alignment which is possible with the state’s participation” in the project, BP Exploration Alaska’s David Van Tuyl said.

Following up on Wednesday's report of the OCS Governors Coalition, here are other links:

The Washington Post

Gov. McAuliffe pushes for more offshore drilling

The Washington Post

McAuliffe will join coalition pushing for off-shore drilling

Energy & Environment News

Governors press Jewell on seismic tests in Atlantic

The News & Observer

McCrory, other governors press for seismic testing off coastlines




26 February 2014 9:02am

Sean Parnell, OCS Governors Coalition, Terry McAuliffe, oil and gas, leasing, Photo by  Dave HarbourGovernor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) is former Chairman of the OCS Governor's Coalition.  This week we learned that Virginia's new governor, democrat Terry McAuliffe, has joined the coalition.  The governors are urging Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to open OCS areas for oil and gas leasing that the Administration has, to date, kept closed.

Dear Readers:

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Keystone XLOur friends at the Resource Development Council (RDC) for Alaska have asked Alaskans (and our Canadian readers, too; why not?) to make their voices heard in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Because North American citizens in the US and Canada need to support proper development whether it be in our northernmost areas, or in the South.

Energy Voice:

Michael Whatley, Consumer Energy Alliance, Dave Harbour Photo, State Department Clears Keystone XLA State Department evaluation of environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline again finds the pipeline’s construction and operation will have minimal impact on the environment. Michael Whatley (NGP Photo), who has been following the Keystone XL Pipeline project for Consumer Energy Alliance, had this reaction:

We have our answer. The Keystone XL pipeline will have minimal impact on the environment. The next step of the process will allow the public to register their approval of the project and then for the Administration to make a decision regarding the permit on the merits. KXL is exactly the infrastructure project the American people are looking for to create construction jobs and move the U.S. closer to energy security. Confidently we can now say Keystone XL is in the nation’s interest.

If we expect support support from our friends in the South, we should support their projects as well.  Enlightened self interest.

So, we urge our dear readers to join us in commenting on Keystone XL before the comment period ends and the opportunity fades into history.

Below is the RDC analysis.  Please join us.  Protect our nations' wealth and job producing energy sectors on both sides of the border!   -dh

The U.S. Department of State is in the process of determining whether TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) is in the national interest. The pipeline would run from the Canadian border to connect to a pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska. The Department’s determination involves consideration of many factors, including energy security, health, environmental, cultural, economic, and foreign policy concerns.

Action requested:

The public comment period on the national interest determination will close on Friday, March 7th. RDC encourages its members to send brief comments urging the Department of State to expeditiously approve KXL. There are two ways to submit comments. The public is encouraged to submit comments to regulations.gov. Comments may also be mailed directly to:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Energy Resources, Room 4843
Attn: Keystone XL Public Comments
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

For those who prefer to send in a prepared letter to the federal agency (which you can edit), please click on the following link:


Click here to view RDC's comments.

Point to consider in your comments:

• By supporting domestic production and oil imports from our close ally Canada instead of politically unstable countries, we will strengthen both our national and energy security.

• The 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline is positive proof that a project the magnitude of KXL can be built and operated safely, putting tens of thousands of people to work and strengthening the economy.

• The Keystone XL Pipeline will have minimal impact on the environment. Studies have found KXL will be less invasive than if oil was transported by rail car or barge. The pipeline’s pumping stations are powered by electric motors which have little direct emissions.

• The U.S. Department of State found the KXL project would not cause “substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf coast area,” meaning the project would not have a direct effect on the greenhouse gas emissions from the production and consumption of oil.

• TransCanada has agreed to an additional 57 safety requirements and has routed the pipeline to avoid any potential environmentally-sensitive areas. In the U.S., over 170,000 miles of liquid pipelines transport 11.3 billion barrels of petroleum each year. American pipelines maintain the lowest spill rate per volume than any other transported method available.

• KXL will provide U.S. refineries with upwards of 830,000 barrels of crude each day, decreasing overseas imports by 43 percent and increasing the overall supply of oil.

• This stable long-term supply of energy from Canada would make the U.S. more energy self sufficient and help mitigate supply disruptions, which ultimately means greater price stability for American consumers.

• KXL is expected to create 42,000 manufacturing and construction jobs in the U.S., as well as provide billions of dollars in property tax revenue to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The project will add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy, including over $2 billion in salaries.

• KXL will transport more than 830,000 barrels of oil per day from domestic and Canadian sources, resolving infrastructure constraints for Bakken oil in North Dakota. 

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