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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.


Federal Progress

1-7-14 Murkowski Releases New Energy White Paper In Washington Today

07 January 2014 7:13am

Calgary Herald.  Canadian oil and gas producers were “overly optimistic” heading into 2013, failing to predict a slowdown in business activity over the last 12 months and the job losses that have occurred as a result.

Alaska US Senator Lisa Murkowski Releases Energy White Paper


Dave Harbour 

lisa murkowski, bookings institute, energy plan, us senate, energy committee, ranking member, alaska, photo by dave harbourYesterday we briefed readers on a webcast speech Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) would deliver today at 9 a.m. EST in Washington to a Brookings Institute audience.  Brookings promoted the speech as a discussion of the, "future of U.S. energy trade and its implications on the domestic economy and national security."

Most of us west of the DC beltway had to get up early for the on-line presentation (i.e. 5 a.m. Alaska time) but it was worth it.

For researchers:

Senator Lisa Murkowski this morning released a white paper on U.S. energy export policy, A Signal to the World: Renovating the Architecture of U.S. Energy Exports.

Murkowski's prepared speech is reprinted for your convenience below.

The white paper is available here, as are studies from the Congressional Research Service on energy exports. 

Video of the speech this morning at the Brookings Institution is scheduled to be uploaded here.  

Here is audio of the event.

Here is our story on Murkowski's release last year of Energy 20/20: A Vision for American’s Energy Future


Murkowski used the webcast speech to make public release of her new 20 page white paper, "A Signal to the World: Renovating the Architecture of U.S. Energy Exports."  Her message centered around modernizing antiquated laws and regulations and removing an unnecessary crude oil export ban.  She spoke in her capacity as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Murkowski said the fact that the United States was producing more energy than ever before occurred in spite of the federal government's policies, not because of them.

Antiquated statutes, policies, and regulations, she pointed out, contributed to inefficient agency administration, lack of clarity for investors and concepts enacted decades ago when the nation's challenges and energy supply potential were different.

Murkowski noted two goals of her energy initiative: "The first" she said, "is to highlight facts. Consensus about the facts is the basis for productive dialog. My second goal is to help frame a conversation about the state of U.S. energy exports, the 'architecture of the energy trade.'”

She addressed a common theme that not exporting natural resources/energy would mean that more would be available for US consumers.  Murkowski said that modernizing the "architecture of U.S. energy exports" will be a positive signal to investors and to other world markets, improve balance of payments, minimize permitting delays, create jobs and help resolve "mismatching" of supplies and refined products and keep energy more affordable for American consumers.

Her other view of improving supply and controlling prices: "...we should be opening up federal lands to energy production, not closing them off. I can think of a few places in Alaska that could be opened up immediately for new oil production, which would lower gasoline prices."

Brookings Institution, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Charles K. Ebinger, William J. Antholis, Architecture of US Energy Exports, Photo by Dave HarbourBrookings Institution Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Charles K. Ebinger (NGP Webcast Photo, Left), moderated the event.  He said that Murkowski's was one of the most important speeches presented to his forum.  

Managing Director William J. Antholis, (NGP Webcast Photo, Right) -- Senior Fellow for Governance Studies -- provided a long, flattering and detailed introduction for Murkowski.

Readers may hear questions and answers on the audio link provided.

Latest energy links from the Office of the Federal Coordinator, Alaska Gas Pipeline: 

A Signal to the World: Renovating the Architecture of U.S. Energy Exports

Keynote to Brookings Institution

January 7, 2014

Thank you for that kind introduction, William. I am pleased to see so many of you here and very grateful to the Brookings Institution for the opportunity to be here today.

(For Complete Speech, Click Below....)



27 September 2013 6:04am

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) yesterday issued a Call for Information and Nominations relating to a potential oil and gas Lease Sale 237 scheduled for the Chukchi Sea Planning Area off of Alaska in 2016. 

Charlotte Brower, Alaska North Slope Borough Mayor, Photo by Dave Harbour, NPR-A Federal Cleanup, Helium, Murkowski, Wyden

The Republic — Kevin Sweeney is returning as Sen. Lisa Murkowski's state director.  Sweeney will replace Miles Baker, who will serve as director of government relations and external affairs for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. That's the group charged with advancing an in-state gas line in Alaska.

 Alaska North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo) welcomed news late yesterday that the U.S. Senate has passed federal legislation, the “Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act”, that provides $50 million in new federal funding for the cleanup of oil and gas “legacy” wells within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

Knifeblade #1 federal government legacy well, NPR-A, AOGCC Photo provided by Northern Gas PipelinesBetween 1944 and 1982, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Geological Survey drilled 136 wells in Northern Alaska. The wells were abandoned. Only a handful of these 136 legacy wells have been plugged and remediated in compliance with State standards.  (AOGCC Photo; See our 6-13-13 commentary.  -dh)
Earlier this week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a plan to remediate 16 of the highest priority legacy wells. “I welcome BLM’s plan,” Brower said. “But for many years, BLM has lacked the resources necessary to clean up and remediate high priority wells in a timely manner. In fact, earlier this year, the Administration proposed a federal budget for FY 2014 that would have diverted Alaska’s share of revenue derived from oil and natural gas activity in the NPR-A to pay for the cleanup of legacy wells drilled by the federal government. This is unacceptable, and in a meeting with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell this summer, I expressed my dismay that the Administration would take funding away from our communities to pay to clean up a federal mess.”
Ron Wyden, Murkowski, U.S. Senate, Energy, Natural Resources, NPR-A, legacy wells, BLM, Clean up, Jewell, Photo by Dave HarbourThe Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, H.R. 527, authored by Senators Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senate, Ron Wyden, Energy, Natural Resources, NPR-A, legacy wells, BLM, Clean up, Jewell, Photo by Dave HarbourLisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) and Ron Wyden (NGP Photo), would close the Federal Helium Reserve in Texas, generating $500 million in federal revenue over the next decade. The legislation directs $50 million of that funding for the cleanup of legacy wells, spread across three fiscal years:  (Full release here, thanks to: Richard Camilleri, Office of the Mayor, Barrow

9-26-13 Appearing As A Guest On Terzah's Alaska Political Insider Show

26 September 2013 3:52am

From Michael Soukup in Governor Sean Parnell's office: 

Alaskan trucking companies have a renewed sense of optimism as new opportunities are being created across the state. According to Scott Hicks of Alaska West Express, things like more jobs, more production, and more cash to the state are why he’s excited about the More Alaska Production Act and its impact on the trucking industry. To view his testimonial, please visit:

We have made careful note over the years of many instances of "Federal overreach" in Alaska.  We have organized those examples into a category (below left) called "Federal Obstruction".  Reviewing the video below reminds us that we may sometimes miss instances where a Federal agency has efficiently moved due process to a rational conclusion benefiting Alaska.  Moving in a timely way to grant a right of way over federal lands for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation might be one example that seems to reflect Federal regulatory competence benefiting Alaska; kudos to the Bureau of Land Management.  We invite readers to submit a paragraph describing other instances of Federal natural resource decisions benefiting Alaska--either with or without your identity. Submit those ideas anytime and we will archive them under our story category of "Federal Progress."  -dh


6-21-13 North Slope Borough Mayor Lauds Senate Action On NPR-A

21 June 2013 6:15am

Denali Legislation Advances in US Senate - KTNA - ... the Denali National Park Improvement Act sponsored by Alaska Senator Lisa ...and allows a natural gas pipeline to be buried in the National Park's ...

State awaits key decision from producers on large LNG export project - Alaskajournal.com - This is on top of about $700 million spent by the companies on a previous project to build an all-landpipeline to Alberta so that Alaska gas would be ..

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has advanced legislation that would provide funds to clean up abandoned wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska
Charlotte Brower, North Slope Borough, NPR-A Cleanup
(Anchorage, AK) - - North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower (NGP Photo) praised the recent efforts of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in advancing legislation that would provide up to $50 million to clean up abandoned wells on current or former National Petroleum Reserve. The majority of the funds, provided by the sale of crude helium under the Helium Stewardship Act, are expected to go towards cleanup efforts on the North Slope.
 “The North Slope Borough is appreciative of the efforts of Senator Murkowski and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to find workable solutions to the legacy well issue,” remarked North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte E. Brower. “This action stands in stark contrast to recent proposals to strip money away from local communities and the State of Alaska to fix what is ultimately a federal problem.” 



12-7-12 - Remembering Pearl Harbor

07 December 2012 2:20am

 Today's Alert and Call to Action: Last Chance To Comment On Keystone XL!

Senator Cathy Giessel Responds to Yesterday's Call to Action, Supporting Senator Mark Begich's Efforts to Reduce Impact of EPA Ruling!

See Our Comment Today On, "Growing Aggression In The Environmental Movement"

We Present a Personal Perspective: Harbour's Pearl Harbor Connection

Yesterday in Washington, D.C., Minority Staff Director of the Lisa Murkowski, Ron Wyden, Senator, LNG, Energy Policy, Senate energy and natural resources, Photo by Dave HarbourSenate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, McKie Campbell (NGP Photo coming) told us Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) would be releasing in January a, "20-20 Vision for America's Energy Future", a fresh new energy policy proposal.  He said that the draft of the paper begins with the theme that, "Energy is good; energy makes the civilized world possible."  
He also noted that Senator Murkowski remains a strong advocate of LNG Exports,  He said that in a late summer visit to Nikiski, Alaska the ConocoPhillips LNG Plant manager provided an impressive "Magic Show" when Senator Ron Wyden (Ore), incoming Chairman of the Committee, toured the plant with Murkowski.  The demonstration clearly illustrated the technological advances in producing and transporting LNG safely.
Campbell said that Murkowski and he were optimistic about their working and personal relationships with Senator Wyden and the Majority staff, saying that they agreed on about 80% of the issues they had discussed.  He said that today, he would be holding further meetings with the Majority staff to further identify areas of common interest.

Global Post by Dan Peleschuk.  After years of deal-making

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Commentary by Dave Harbour

Dad and Mom, Col. and Mrs. Dave Harbour, share a peaceful space under a huge, 150-year-old tropical shade tree above Honolulu at Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific.  Their remains rest where their relationship began 71 years ago.

On December 6, 1941 my fighter pilot dad, then a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, had taken an English-Latin teacher, an Eastern Pennsylvania farm girl, out on a date.  Everyone called her, "Bobbie", though her given name was Selma.

While Mom and Dad were a little sketchy about the details, I do know that early Saturday morning, December 7, Dad had dropped Mom off at her place and was returning to his base when all hell broke loose.

He hurried to the airfield where his fighter and many others were already being strafed and bombed by Japanese Zeros.

Failing to get a plane in the air, he did the only thing he could, take cover and try to place round after round from his .45 semi-automatic pistol through metal and flesh of the alien aircraft as they made pass after pass over the airfield.

Mom and Dad shared special moments together in the hectic days following that day of infamy until he received orders shipping him out to New Guinea.  There he would patrol the seaways to intercept, engage and destroy, enemy ships and planes.

Before Dad left, he and Mom were married.   Dad then left Oahu for his new assignment and would get his start as a famous outdoor writer, later producing several books and writing hundreds of articles for outdoor publications like Sports Afield...and assisting in the foundation of the American Wild Turkey Federation.  He got that start by learning to write action stories for 'pulp war magazines' during the unpredictable moments of tense leisure between combat missions in New Guinea.

The Army shipped Mom back to Coleman, Texas to stay with Dad's folks until he was reassigned to the Continential United States (CONUS).  I was born a Texan, about nine months after those perilous Pearl Harbor days--on September 4, 1942.

I think that one of the reasons Dad did so well in combat and in a distinguished Air Force career, was his motivation to protect the country for his new family.

I remember sharing that feeling when as a 2nd Lieutenant, I shipped off years later to Korea.  The hugs and smiles Dad and Mom and I shared at that parting seemed to transmit from one generation to the next the love of God, country and family and the determination to protect our way of life.  And, what Mom and Dad's generation protected has provided a wonderful way of life, cultivated in the fertile land of freedom.

On this day my reflection and prayer is that our children will inherit and keep the same freedom and way of life we inherited from our parents.  When those in power have boldly stated they want to 'fundamentally change the United States,' it makes me cringe and wonder if I would feel as inclined to volunteer for military service now as I did in 1966.  I knew what values I was protecting then.  Today, I join many others in being somewhat confused and fearful as to what our country now stands for and is evolving into.  

So, today I pray for clarity.  I pray that our country's values for this generation will be as worth protecting as they were when Dad and Mom faced the horror of war head on, and when I served.

I pray this moment for our Nation, knowing that the ONLY reason we have been enabled to succeed is that we have followed our founders' respect for, devotion to and love of God, His Savior son and His guidance. 

I pray for those now serving in uniform and those contemplating service.

I pray that we do not lose our love of God and and our Founders' dream, lest we lose the values that have inspired generations of patriots, until now, to defend them with their lives and sacred honor.  


brinksmanship with European rivals, Gazprom is surging ahead by launching construction Friday on a major new pipeline it hopes will cement its grip over Europe’s energy supplies. ... “This is a medium-term phenomenon,” says Jonathan Stern of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.  Long in conceiving, the $20 billion project is designed to bypass Ukraine and Belarus, avoiding potentially crippling European cut-offs by piping gas directly to Austria through the Black Sea and the Balkans. Half funded by Italian Eni, France’s EdF and German Wintershall, it’s expected to start pumping up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas a year starting by late 2015.


Last call for comments on Keystone XL Route in Nebraska!  Comments due today, Friday, December 7th!
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has issued its evaluation report on a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska. 
The report concludes that the new route addresses all of the environmental concerns raised previously by Nebraskan farmers, landowners and residents. If you support the Keystone XL pipeline and would like to see the pipeline move forward for approval, please send your comments to Nebraska DEQ Director Mike Linder at NDEQ.SEISpubliccomment@Nebraska.gov by the end of today.


Cathy Giessel, Alaska Senator, EPA, Photo by Dave HarbourEarlier this week we suggested that our readers comment on a potential solution to Alaska¹s concern with the EPA's Emission Mark Begich, Senator, EPA, Obama Administration, Alaska, Photo by Dave HarbourControl Area (ECA) that threatens the State's economy.   We found that Senator Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo-above) has written Senator Begich on the subject.  

Here is her thoughtful letter.  

Please act today if you haven't already. 



EPA Issued Shell's Chukchi and Beaufort Air Quality Permits Today - Cause for Celebration?

19 September 2011 4:17pm

NPG Readers: Please Comment on OCS before September 26, 2011  Comment in support of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193, against further delay and 'affirming Lease Sale 193".   Send Comments to:
COMMENTS: Final SEIS, Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193
c/o Regional Director, BOEMRE Alaska OCS Region
3801 Centerpoint Drive Ste. 500
Anchorage AK 99503-5820.


 NPG Readers: Please Comment on EPA O&G Emissions Regs.  Before October 24, 2011 send comments re: unnecessary natural gas emissions rules that will further slow down America's economy and employment without significant benefit.  Federal Register notice with filing instructions.


Comment on EPA release, below: Arctic exploration companies still face a gauntlet of Obama administrative agency permit approvals in order to mobilize for the 2012 summer season.  Shell's Alaska manager, Pete Slaiby (NGP Photo, 9-8-11), told audiences recently that the company would make its decision to 'go or no go' by mid October.  The EPA's multi-year delay of this OCS air quality permit complicated by lawsuits has already cost the Lessee (Shell) hundreds of millions as it prepared for earlier approvals and summer exploration seasons, then had to demobilize fleets of exploration assets when various permits were not forthcoming.  Alaskans who have witnessed the many ways interactive Obama administration agencies can act to 'go-no go' projects will not be comforted by this 'final permit approval'.  After all, the agency is now asking for 'petitions of review' to the 'final' decision and sister agencies can still stop America's greatest current domestic energy exploration effort dead in its tracks.  Remember 'the weakest link'?  Companies must sometimes think they are in a strange, opaque game show run by malicious children who take pleasure in saying, "go, no go" at times and in ways seemingly designed to bring America's domestic energy wealth and job production to a tragic and unnecessary end as caring citizens watch in horror.  We hope our suspicions are badly placed and that the governmental-enviroextremist cabal characterizing this Administration relents in the face of a national election long enough to let Arctic exploration thrive along with an improved job and economic recovery trend.    After all, they have robbed us of an innocent assumption that they value due process and they have given us much reason to be suspicious of their motives and moves.  -dh

(EPA Release From Seattle – Sept. 19, 2011) Today, EPA Region 10 issued final air quality permits to Shell for oil and gas exploration drilling in the Alaska Arctic. The permits will allow Shell to operate the Discoverer drill ship and a support fleet of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels, and supply ships for up to 120 days each year in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf starting in 2012.

Shell’s exploration drilling fleet will emit more than 250 tons of air pollutants a year and therefore, under existing law, must have federal Clean Air Act Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)/Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits. The permits set strict limits on air pollution from these vessels.
EPA Region 10 issued similar OCS/PSD air permits to Shell in 2010. Those permits were challenged by North Slope communities and environmental groups to the Environmental Appeals Board, which sent the permits back to EPA Region 10 in December 2010. EPA Region 10 revised the permits to address the issues raised by the Board.
Under the new permits, Shell will reduce its fleet emissions of most key air pollutants including fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide by more than 50 percent from the levels allowed in their 2010 permits. These reductions are largely due to new emissions controls Shell added to meet the new nitrogen dioxide standard that went into effect in 2011.
EPA Region 10’s approval of these revised OCS/PSD air permits is based in part on installation of state-of-the-art pollution reduction controls on the Discoverer drill ship to meet Best Available Control Technology requirements and to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The permits also require Shell to reduce air emissions by using Selective Catalytic Reduction and Oxidation Catalyst controls on two icebreakers, Catalytic Diesel Particulate Filters on the Nanuq oil spill response vessel and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel on the Discoverer drill ship and all vessels in the support fleet.
EPA Region 10 proposed the draft permits for public comment on July 6, 2011 and held informational meetings and a public hearing in Barrow, Alaska on Aug. 3 & 4, 2011.
The final permits and EPA Region 10’s responses to public comments are available on the web at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/AIRPAGE.NSF/Permits/ocsap/.
Public petitions for review of these permits must be received by the Environmental Appeals Board no later than Oct. 24, 2011. More information about the procedures for filing an appeal including using the Board's e-filing system can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/eab/.
EPA Region 10 has proposed two other draft air permits for oil and gas exploration in the Alaska Arctic. Shell applied for an OCS/Title V air permit to operate its drilling rig Kulluk, in the Beaufort Sea starting in 2012. Public comment on the Shell Kulluk draft permit closed Sept. 6.
ConocoPhillips applied for an OCS/Title V permit to operate a jack-up drill rig in the Chukchi Sea starting in 2013. Public comment on the ConocoPhillips draft permit ends Sept. 21. EPA Region 10 will issue final permits after comments from the public are reviewed and considered.
EPA Region 10 air permits ensure compliance with air quality regulations during drilling operations but on their own do not authorize drilling. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management and Regulatory Enforcement is the federal agency that authorizes oil drilling in offshore federal waters. Find more at: http://www.boemre.gov/
Note: If the link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser. 
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