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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

Salazar's BOEMRE Grants Shell Exploration Permit, Conditionally - Inuvik Pushes For Gas Pipe and Economic Development - Mark Hamilton Levels the Guns of Logic On Anti-development Liberals

05 August 2011 5:49am

UAA Chancellor Mark Hamilton, Dave Harbour, Make Alaska Competitive CoalitionA few minutes ago, NGP received the copy of a "Make Alaska Competitive Coalition" statement by former University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton (NGP Photo) smashing a specious contention by Senator Hollis French and Representative Les Gara (i.e. both downtown Anchorage attorneys are schooled in the art of rhetoric) that Alaska's predatory taxes are good for Alaska.   Here is the document for your weekend study.    Between Obama anti-development regulators in the Federal arena and the same mentality hindering development on Alaska lands, the state has a dismal economic outlook when it could be leading American economic recovery in so many ways.   With Alaska's economic lifeline, the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline, 2/3 empty and and becoming more vacant at a throughput decline rate of 6% annually, investment into oil prospects on state land is essential.  Also essential, is a state tax and regulatory policy that attracts and does not repel such investment.  -dh

On the Federal side of the ledger, we calculate that Alaska has not experienced one single positive act of support for its economy or the American economy from the Obama Administration which controls access to Federal on- and off-shore lands.  Below, you'll read the 'conditional good news' that the Interior Department OCS leasing department has tentatively approved Shell's Exploration Plan for next summer.  Trick is to get a final approval in time to mobilize for next summer.  Anti-Alaska development groups are massing to oppose that approval.  A few days ago our own North Slope Borough Mayor blasted the Exploration Plan (EP).  The Pew environmental group has blasted the EP.  Shell answered Pew's blast with a factual response.  Then, we hear that in preparation for next week's trip to Alaska, an Interior Department Press Conference accepted the call of an Alaska environmental lawyer (i.e. Peter Van Tuyn) supposedly calling from a 'Montana mountaintop' blasting Alaska oil and gas development.  Pardon us if these attacks on Alaska seem just too well coordinated.  Pardon us if we remain skeptical that the Interior Department has any intention of forthrightly fulfilling the role of America's landlord by responsibly leasing and permitting exploration and development of America's natural resources.  Pardon us if we doubt the Obama Administration cares a whit about America's economic recovery or American jobs.  -dh

ADN by Richard Mauer.  Shell cleared a major hurdle Thursday in its effort Lisa Murkowski, Ken Salazar, Shell, BOEMREto begin a two-year drilling program in the Arctic Ocean next summer, receiving a conditional exploration permit from the federal agency that oversees offshore oil development.The company said it was buoyed by the morning announcement from the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, just as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (NGP Photo) was preparing for an Alaska visit next week at the invitation of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), R-Alaska.  ... Representatives of several environmental organizations, in a joint telephone news conference from Washington, D.C., said they were disappointed by the decision and were studying whether to challenge it in court. Erik Grafe, an Anchorage-based attorney for Earthjustice, said they had 60 days to file a lawsuit.  ... "Shell has been working to secure approval of this plan for over five years," Murkowski said in a prepared statement. "This is another positive step forward, and I'm hopeful that they will soon be able to move forward with exploration and production in the Beaufort."  She, Sen. Mark Begich (NGP Photo-r), D-Alaska, and Rep. Don Young (NGP Photo), R-Alaska, said the exploration project would create jobs and, if commercial development followed, could forestall problems with the trans-Alaska pipeline associated with declining oil flow.  ... Peter Van Tuyn, an environmental lawyer from Anchorage with the Alaska Wilderness League, phoned in to the Washington press conference from a mountain in Montana to say too little is still known about the Arctic environment to justify drilling.  

Congressman Doc Hastings, by Dave Harbour, www.northerngaspipelines.comToday,  House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo) said, after the Department of Labor released its July jobs report: 

“The economy has shed nearly 2 million jobs since the Democrats’ failed ‘stimulus’ became law, yet President Obama’s only answer to job creation is more regulation, spending and taxes.  The House of Representatives has passed an array of bipartisan energy bills that would create over 1 million jobs, increase American energy production and lessen our dependence on dangerous foreign oil.  Unfortunately, the Democrat controlled Senate has done nothing with these bills, ignoring commonsense proposals to put millions of Americans back to work.  House Republicans will continue to look for ways to turn the economy around and create jobs while fighting off the Administration’s burdensome, job destroying regulations.”

Northern News Services by Samantha Stokell.  NNSL photo/graphicJackie Challis (NNS Photo by Samantha Stokell) started working as the town's community economic development manager at the start of July. She comes with years of experience in developing economies and tourism across the North, including a year as Inuvik's tourism co-ordinator, from 2008 to 2009.  ...  "We can't do our jobs without working together," Challis said. "My job is to promote Inuvik to people to live, to work, to invest and to visit."   Her job is also to provide support for potential economic projects such as the Tuktoyaktuk-Inuvik highway, the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline and the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Optic Link.  "The pipeline is the greatest opportunity and the opportunities expand beyond the pipeline and get other businesses and visitors here," Challis said. "We're trying to bring money and people here and the road would not hurt."


Doc Hastings Visits Alaska Today & Unveils NPR-A Legislation! - US Red Tape Affects Canadian Producers - White House To Use About 30 Federal Agencies To Zone Oceans Without Congressional Approval

09 June 2011 6:43am

Call to Action.  Citizens, let's please prepare to give the White House our Input FRIDAY NIGHT on the combined effort of over two-dozen Federal Agencies to 'Zone' the oceans surrounding America (Alaska has about 3/4 of the US coastline).   This Federal control extends to the Great Lakes and throughout the watershed feeding the oceans.  Imagine the thousands of jobs this 'ocean zoning' will create for environmental activists and lawyers in almost every state!   Control the oceans and watersheds and you truly control the entire 'means of production' in this country.  This action is taken by Presidential Executive Order without Congressional authorization and is probably the most egregious example we've seen of Federal overreach and usurpation of state sovereignty.  See this RDC Information Sheet, and...see you Friday between 3:30-4 p.m.!  -dh

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson told a Calgary crowd Wednesday that Canada and the United States are making strides in reducing regulatory barriers but an audience member in the oil and gas business said barriers at the state and county levels cause the real problems.  (More below.)

Fairbanks News Miner by Christopher Eshelman.  A key federal environmental regulator has cleared a permit for the Alaska Railroad’s plans to bridge the Tanana River near Salcha.  ...   Lisa Herbert, the chamber’s executive director, said Tuesday’s news also helps the railroad.   “This project is shovel-ready and will put many Alaskans to work for Alaskan companies,” she said by statement.  (See our earlier story and connection to NPR-A permit for CD-5 being denied by EPA for similar reasons: ARNI.  -dh)

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Tanana River bridge gets EPA approval 

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (NGP Photo-r) today unveiled a discussion draft of The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, a bill to cut through bureaucratic red tape and unlock the full potential of energy resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). As part of the American Energy Initiative, this legislation will create new jobs, support current energy jobs in Alaska, and help lower energy costs by ensuring NPR-A resources are developed and transported in a timely and efficient manner. Chairman Hastings is in Alaska today for an Alaskan energy tour, including the NPR-A, with Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo-Upper Left) and Rep. Don Young (NGP Photo).  See full Story Here.

Calgary Herald by Deborah Yedlin.  In the midst of the challenges facing the approval of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson touched down in Calgary this week to reiterate the message that Canada is critical to American energy security.  Of course, it's not as simple as that.


House to Hold Alaska Energy Hearing Next Week - Governor Parnell and Rebecca Logan Promote Rare Earth Elements In Alaska - ARNI Thwarts Two Big Alaska Projects

25 May 2011 2:26am

Dan Healing of the Calgary Herald Reports Louisana LNG Project Is A 'Go'!

Bureau of Ocean EnergyDr. James Kendall by Dave Harbour, BOEMRE, Chukchi SEIS, Beaufort Sea Lease Sale Management, Regulation and Enforcement Michael Bromwich by Dave Harbour, BOEMRE, Chukchi SEIS(BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich (NGP Photo-l) today named Dr. James Kendall (NGP Photo-r at a 3-9-11 hearing in Anchorage) as the Director of the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region. Dr. Kendall has been serving as Acting Director for the region since January 1, 2011.  (More below.)


Yesterday, Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) --  also grappling with WashingtonGovernor Sean Parnell by Dave Harbour, Alaska, Rare Earth Elements over energy access issues -- urged the federal government to seek Alaska's rare earth element trove for American use as China hoards world supply.  (Scroll down for Monday's background story, below.)  ... “With over 70 potential REE sites, Alaska is in a position to provide significant amounts of REEs to the nation,” Governor Rebecca Logan by Dave Harbour, REE, Rare Earth Elements, Alaska Support Industry AllianceParnell wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The federal government simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as other countries move aggressively to develop new mines and build a globally competitive research branch.

ADN Op-Ed by Rebecca Logan (NGP Photo).  China's announcement to reduce exports of rare earth minerals has triggered our government and other nations that depend on these critical resources to look within their borders for possible solutions. It also cast light on an underlying problem: the United States lacks a clear strategy to provide the raw materials critical to our economy and national security.

Comment:  Yesterday we were considering the lack of movementLisa Murkowski by Dave Harbour, ARNI, Tanana River, CD-5 on federal approval of Chris Aadnesen by Dave Harbour, ARR, Alaska Railroad, ARNI, Tanana River BridgeConocoPhillips' CD-5 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and recalled a statement by Alaska Railroad President Chris Aadnesen (NGP Photo) last week about fear that the EPA will not provide final approval on an important Tanana River bridge crossing project.  On closer examination, it appears both projects may suffer the same obstructive federal fate through application of 'ARNI, a memorandum of agreement' between the Corps of Engineers and the EPA, a process not approved by Congress or promulgated via a rulemaking process providing for public testimony, petitions for reconsideration or appeals.  Here is a reference we found to this federal challenge by Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo).  We are confident the state Administration will also be able to follow up on this clear violation of due process by these two agencies.  -dh

On Thursday, June 2nd the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “Domestic Oil and Natural Gas: Alaskan Resources, Access and Infrastructure.”  This Congressman Doc Hastings, Alaska energy, ANWR, NPR-a, Chukchi, OCS, BLM, NPR-Ahearing is part of House Republicans’ American Energy Initiative, an ongoing effort to stop government policies that are driving up gasoline prices and expand American energy production to help lower costs and create jobs. 
The hearing will focus on domestic oil and natural gas permitting, access to federal oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA), keeping the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) full and operational, and prospects and permitting for offshore energy production.     (more below)

BOEMRE Releases Chukchi Draft SEIS For ADDITIONAL Comment - Keystone Nears Approval - No Cap & Trade for Canada

20 May 2011 10:51am

According to Senate Energy & Natural Resources Communication Officer Robert Dillon, Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) today said of the BOEMRE Senator Lisa Murkowski by Dave Harbour, BOEMRE, Federal Overreach, Chukchi Sea Lease Saleannouncement (below): “It’s my hope that this additional analysis on the potential impacts on the region will help resolve the legal challenges that have held up resource exploration in the Chukchi Sea."

John Callahan of BOEMRE's ANCHORAGE office, provides this Friday announcement. – The Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today released a Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) Michael Bromwich by Dave Harbour, BOEMRE, BOEM, MMS, Alaska, Chukchi Sea Lease Sale, Federal Overreachfor Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193, held in February 2008. The bureau is accepting additional public comment before the document is finalized.  “This Revised Draft SEIS offers additional scientific, environmental and technical analysis that will assist in future decisions pertaining to the leases issued in Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich (NGP Photo).  

Calgary Herald by Jason Fekete.  The federal Conservative government will regulate the coal-fired electricity and oilsands sectors this year as it looks to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but a carbon tax and cap-and-trade plan aren't part of the environmental blueprint.

Edmonton Journal via CH, by Dave Cooper.  Called a critical outlet for Alberta heavy oil, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico is likely to be approved later this year in the U.S., says an energy expert.  “We are saying 70-per-cent likely in the fourth quarter,” said Washington-based Robert Johnston of the Eurasia Group, speaking at PwC’s inaugural Energy Technology Update in Edmonton.

DOE.  The U.S. Department of Energy today issued  a conditional authorization approving an application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana, paving the way for thousands of new construction and domestic natural gas production jobs in Louisiana, Texas, and several other states.


Fires Rage In Alberta Oil Patch - DOE and COP Install ANS Gas Hydrate Test Well - Industry BBQ Friday in Anchorage - ADN Says Better Here Than Brazil

17 May 2011 2:15am


Yesterday we addressed President Obama's Saturday pro-domestic energy speech; today the ADN editorializes

BOTTOM LINE: Let Shell explore, let Slope producers tap NPR-A -- and keep a close watch.  No Alaska Senator Mark Begich by Dave Harbour, Anchorage Chamber of Commercequestion there is risk, and a lot of work to do before production -- if it pans out. But, as Sen. Mark Begich (NGP Photo) pointed out, our policy should be to develop with care. Exploration is a first step -- and a chance for Shell to show that it's operating with the best possible safeguards.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (NGP Photo) succinct summation of an American oil-and-gas energy policy hasn't lost its currency: Produce more, use less. Alaska's Arctic still has much to contribute on the production side.

Department of Energy.  A fully instrumented well that will testUS Department of Energy Seal and Header Photo innovative technologies for producing methane gas from hydrate deposits has been safely installed on the North Slope of Alaska. As a result, the "Iġnik Sikumi" (Iñupiaq for "fire in the ice") gas hydrate field trial well will be available for field experiments as early as winter 2011–12.  The well, the result of a partnership between ConocoPhillips and the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) National Energy Technology Laboratory, will test a technology that involves injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into sandstone reservoirs containing methane hydrate. Laboratory studies indicate that the CO2 molecules will replace the methane molecules within the solid hydrate lattice, resulting in the simultaneous sequestration of CO2 in a solid hydrate structure and production of methane gas.

Calgary Herald by Dina O'Meara.  Suspension of oil and gas production is spreading across northern Alberta as wildfires rage out of control.  Oil and gas producers Monday evacuated workers and closed heavy oil facilities, pipelines and processing plants as emergency teams battled wind-fuelled fires that now cover more than 30,000 hectares.  Canadian Natural Resources pulled 1,300 workers from two camps associated with its Horizon oilsands project outside of Fort McMurray as flames burned within 150 metres of one of its lodges.  "We have no actual fire on our site per se, it's still a ways away, but we're just taking precautionary measures," vice chair John Langille told the Herald.

Our Friend, Thomas Maunder, Anchorage Chapter Secretary of the American Association of Drilling Engineers invites one an all to their annual BBQ.  "On Friday afternoon", he says, "we will host our annual Fin, Feather, or Fur Food Festival at the bottom of the sledding hill at Kincaid Park.  I invite all you to come and enjoy what has become a great day of good food and comradeship.  The funds we hope to raise go to two main efforts.  Every year since we began hosting this event, we have contributed to 3 of the local food charities.  We support Bean's Cafe, The Downtown Soup Kitchen and Kids' Kitchen.  Last year we donated $3000 to each organization.  The remaining funds we direct to scholarships for engineering students already attending college and recent high school graduates.  The format is that each team (we have 21 registered so far) will prepare and serve a menu item that began life with fins, feathers or fur.  We have one group that brings in a 4th category -- alligator.  The success of the event has surpassed our wildest dreams.  Please come and join us on the afternoon of the 20th.  Call or message with any questions."  Tom Maunder, Chapter Secretary, 907-529-1645.

Scroll down for Denali-The Alaska Gas Pipeline News Releases  Commentary: We announced the termination of this project at 10:03 today {5-17-11} and took the precaution of copying all of the project's website news releases below for posterity.  One expects that the website at some point will be unceremoniously discontinued, too, and readers will find the impressive record of that project and its dedicated management memorialized here for future reference -- as we have done for all of the historical gas pipeline projects beginning in the late 1960s.   As a suggestion for students/researchers seeking information: put your search criteria into the local Google search bar, above left, and you will be led to all of our websites having information about your search terms.   Thank you, Denali participants, for the important effort and know that the daunting political and financial challenges you faced were not of your making nor within your control.  You aquitted yourselves with distinction and grace.  -dh


Obama Addresses Alaska Resources as Alaska Leaders Respond Guardedly - Truckers Speak Out - NEB Hosts Inuvik Roundtable And Pays Way For Some Guests

16 May 2011 5:38am

Today's Email Alert

NEB.  Comment:  Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) will host a Roundtable Meeting in Inuvik at the Midnight Sun Recreation Centre from 10 to 16 September 2011 and reimburse certain outsiders up to $300,000 to fly in and sit at the roundtable.    We suspect that most of the subsidized visitors to Inuvik will be non-industry advocates.    We imagine the September event will merit some discussion at the Inuvik Petroleum Show next month.  -dh

Opinion: American Truckers Speak Out On Energy. The trucking industry annually consumes 35 billion gallons of diesel to deliver life’s essentials. Food, clothing, medicine, fuel and virtually all consumer goods are delivered to retail stores by trucks. Each penny increase in the price of diesel fuel costs the trucking industry more than $356 million annually.  ...  While conservation and alternative fuels are two legs of a three-legged stool, our government seems to have turned its back on the third leg of the stool and has failed to aggressively develop our domestic petroleum resources. In fact, domestic petroleum production in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska is under siege. Even natural gas production is coming under attack by environmental groups. 

Scylla and CharybdisComment:  In these pages we have documented that virtually every action taken by the Obama Administration toward Alaska has furthered the Federal attack on the Forty-ninth state's resource-based economy.  Now, caught between the Scylla and Charybdis (Photo) of high gasoline prices and a reelection campaign, one can reasonably suspect Obama of offering lip service to economic activity when all the world knows he has done everything possible to shut down Alaska resource development.

One thing that could keep him 'honest' is his support for Senator Mark Begich's concept of a Federal OCS Coordinator, upon which we have commented.  If Obama's troops continue to block permits, stall and create diversions which have the effect of allowing no or limited Alaska OCS activity, any new OCS Coordinator will have a lot of explaining to do and that could affect the 2012 reelection of both Obama and Begich.

In the sense that hope springs eternal (and, that it is now spring), and that we have little choice, we shall reserve judgment on whether this new message from the Administration is a signal of responsible action to come or not.   -dh

Below is the text of Obama's Saturday message.  Here is the video.  Here is the House Resources Committee comment.    Here is Governor Sean Parnell's response.  Here is Senator Lisa Murkowski's response.  Here is Senator Mark Begich's response.  Here is a NYT response.  Here is Daniel Horowitz' commentary.

 Remarks of President Barack Obama

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