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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.

 

4-10-14 Hostility Toward Alaska's Major Investors

10 April 2014 2:40am

COMMENTARY: "Alaska Should Never Become Like Hostile Argentina!

In this video of yesterday's Senate Resources Committee meeting a minority senator (i.e. Hollis French {NGP Hollis French, Senator, Alaska, Photo by Dave HarbourPhoto} of Anchorage) proposes that witnesses be required to testify under oath.  This unprecedented (or at least rare) action is sure to further convince investors that Alaska is a risky place to do business.  Some might say, "Well, we have the statutory right to interview witnesses under oath."  Our concern with that clever response is, "Fine, then why not interview all witnesses under oath?  Why just interview major investors under oath; why not interview major beneficiaries of state spending to testify under oath?"  In short, treating the oil industry witnesses differently than education, union, health care, municipal and non profit witnesses contributes to an atmosphere of hostility and discriminatory treatment.  Hostility toward investors cannot encourage investment.  The only question is how much damage such hostility will reap on investment decisions.  The answer to that question, unfortunately, is that we will never know how it would have been the other way.  We do know that after Cathy Giessel, Senate Resources Committee, Alaska, oil, Photo by Dave Harbourone Alaskan investor's experience in Argentina, investors will be all the more wary now about hostile rhetoric that always precedes increases in tax and regulatory burdens -- and even expropriation of property.  We compliment Committee Chair Cathy Giessel (NGP Photo) on her smooth handling of a difficult situation.  -dh


Globe & Mail by Jeffrey Jones.  CALGARY'S STRONG ENERGY SECTOR!

Washington Times / AP by Becky Bohrer.  The House Rules Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would allow out-of-state residents to serve on the board of directors of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.


Office of the Alaska Gas Pipeline Federal Coordinator, by Bill White.  (Comment: An analysis issued yesterday that could bode well for an Alaska gas pipeline/LNG project -- if the state of Alaska can convince investors of its new-found reliability as a stable fiscal regime.  -dh)

Anxiety is rising in the liquefied natural gas business over the slow rollout of North American LNG export projects. Anxiety about supply. Anxiety about pricing.

The worry was simmering at the big Gastech Conference & Exhibition held March 24-27 in Goyang, South Korea, as LNG buyers and sellers fretted that the world's constrained supply could last beyond the next few years.

"Despite all the rhetoric and hubris that our industry generated, LNG will be shorter for longer than most people are imagining," said Martin Houston, a recently retired chief operating officer of the U.K.'s BG Group, a global LNG supplier.

More....

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4-9-14 Pedro van Meurs Announces June Fiscal Oil and Gas Courses In Amsterdam

09 April 2014 2:08am

Our friend, Pedro van Meurs (NGP Photo) will host his Pedro van Meurs, fiscal oil and gas, courses, amsterdam, Photo by Dave Harbourspecial sequence of three fiscal oil and gas courses to be held in Amsterdam:

  • June 4 – 6: The Advanced Course in Fiscal Systems for Unconventional Oil and Gas. The course deals with unconventional projects in North America and worldwide, including spreadsheet based economic analysis of a wide variety of applicable fiscal systems.  
  • June 9 – 13: The world famous regular course in World Fiscal Systems for Oil and Gas, providing a comprehensive overview of fiscal systems related to leases, licenses, concessions, PSCs and risk service contracts based on our student spreadsheet for conventional oil and gas.
  • June 16 – 20:  The Advanced Course in PSCs, with detailed spreadsheet based economic analysis and discussion of all twelve different PSCs types and styles. The final two days of the course deal with legal aspects.

According to van Meurs, "The total sequence of three courses presents an unusual opportunity to learn about every aspect of oil and gas fiscal systems in the world and receive comprehensive and in-depth training in the details of economic and fiscal analysis and negotiation.  Participants receive a discount of 10% for participating in 2 courses and 20% for participating in all three."

For more information about van Meurs' courses, click here.

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4-8-14 What Do Underfunded Pensions Have To Do With An Alaska Gas Pipeline?

08 April 2014 9:07am

Remember this announcement, 5 years ago today?  ANCHORAGE, April 8, 2008 - BP [NYSE: BP] and ConocoPhillips [NYSE: COP] today announced they have combined resources to start Denali - The Alaska Gas Pipeline. The pipeline will move approximately four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to markets, and will be the largest private sector construction project ever built in North America. The project combines the financial strength, arctic experience and technical resources of two of the most capable and experienced companies in the world.


Globe & Mail.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that Canadian oil exports to the United States are the highest in at least four decades. 

Today, CongressmanDoc Hastings, ESA, Photo by Dave Harbour Doc Hastings' (NGP Photo) House Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee legislative hearing on four straightforward bills to update the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the 21st century and improve species recovery.   This effort works in the favor of Alaska's and America's economy without diminishing reasonable support for protecting truly endangered species.  -dh


Does Alaska's Pension Liability Threaten Gas Pipeline Viability?

(See SitNews Ketchikan Reprint)

by

Dave Harbour

Alaska spends more than it takes in.  To that extent must investors worry about when -- and not if -- the next tax proposal will creep over the horizon toward THEM.  

Below is the link to an Op-Ed wherein mayors (i.e. whose own retirements are at risk with underfunded pension liabilities) urge lawmakers to support the Governor's proposal to reduce the $12 billion unfunded pension liability by $3 billion.

Bill Corbus, Juneau, State Spending, Mine, Electric Utility, Photo by Dave HarbourToday's Juneau Empire Op-Ed.  See long-time Alaskan utility and natural resource expert, Bill Corbus' (NGP Photo) related opinion.  -dh

To do that, lawmakers will have to remove $3 billion from state savings accounts at a time when their deficit spending level requires use of depleting savings.

Oil production from Prudhoe Bay is declining, upon which 90% of state spending is based.  Oil revenue could continue its dramatic, annual production decline putting more reliance on savings accounts to balance an unsustainable state budget.

See Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline, oil, taxes, production, TAPS, Photo by Dave HarbourTom Barrett's (NGP photo) response to yesterday's Alaska state revenue forecast.  We believe that better than projected production decline rates are due to the passage a year ago of SB 21, which reformed Alaska's oil production tax.  -dh

Paying off the entire pension liability is impossible since Alaska doesn't have $12 billion in total savings available.  (4-10-14 Note: See "Understanding Alaska's Budget".  Some might say we have over $20 billion in savings available; but since political reality prevents expenditure of most of these sources for "government pension fund liabilities," they should not all be considered available.) 

Gas pipeline investors have to be wondering, "If I commit to a portion of a $40 - 60 billion gas pipeline/LNG export project and the state continues running out of money, how safe is my investment from predatory tax policy?"

Alaska has a track record of taxing for more than it needs to operate and, to add insult to injury, taxing the oil industry retroactively.  It has built the highest cost per capita bureaucracy in the nation.  Now, in the face of rising costs and diminished revenues it is urging oil companies to invest in a mega gas pipeline project so that revenue from that project a decade from now can fund the state's spending appetite.

Link to our reports and commentary on LNG competition, here.

Energy advisor, Keith Kohl, says in his communique today that, " Like us, Canada's National Energy Board has approved seven LNG export license applications — but unlike us, the first project slated to start tapping the Asian LNG markets as early as next year."

Meanwhile, dozens of pending LNG export projects in the the US and Canada are all romancing the same Asian energy consumers.  Experienced observers know that profit margins will likely be thinner than they hope for.  Asian utility managers are not stupid.  They will want the lowest possible "ship or pay" cost for LNG energy in return for their own "take or pay", long-term financial commitments.  (Some good, Lower 48 researchers are excited about Alaska's prospects, but may not be fully aware of investor concerns or competitive pressures from other export projects that we have covered in these pages.  -dh)

The LNG project that offers the lowest, competitive price to an Asian utility in return for a 20-year, firm contract, cannot afford to risk company solvency on "assurances" that Alaska will not create new energy taxes out of thin air and even apply them retroactively--thus altering project metrics and risk.  The risk that the contracted delivery price of LNG to an Asian market could be lower than the cost of delivering the LNG -- under a "ship or pay" arrangement, may be an unacceptable risk to a responsible investor.

So the final question that any gas pipeline investor might be asking now is, "Can Alaska assure my company that today's gas pipeline investment is safe from future tax increases when unfunded pension liabilities, run-away budgets and diminishing oil production pose a dreadful danger in spite of Joe Griffith, In-state gas, gas pipeline, electric utility, MEA, CEA, Photo by Dave Harbour, ANGDA, CWNany politician's soothing assurances and best intentions?"  

As our friend, utility manager Joe Griffith (NGP Photo), has often said, "Hope is not a strategy."  We all hope for conditions that will enable sustainable budgets and projects to supply both the jobs and the financial resources of the future.  But hope alone will not achieve that goal.  

What then is an answer to this Gordian knot of intertwining politics and energy policy?  Cut public spending to be consistent with income.  Cut welfare/entitlement spending to be consistent with median welfare spending of all other states.  Business taxes should not exceed median of business taxes in other states.  Institute new taxes only on new investment, not on prior investment.  Never tax retroactively.  Cut tax and regulatory burdens to essential and responsible needs.  Avoid state investment into private sector projects--which always involves politicians risking "Other Peoples' Money".  Of course, there are as many suggestions as there are people with opinions.

So is some combination of these and other responsible remedies too difficult?  

If workable solutions are "too difficult" they will not be undertaken and undisciplined, unsustainable economic policies will ultimately result in involuntary compliance with economic realities.

Parents warn children that this is called, "learning the hard way".            

   


​Fairbanks News Miner, by Mayors John Eberhart, Luke Hopkins and Bryce Ward​.  

Gov. Sean Parnell’s budget includes a $3 billion line item to reduce the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) unfunded liability, which is about $12 billion. The mayors of Alaska, through the Alaska Conference of Mayors and the Alaska Municipal League, fully support the governor’s initiative to stop the can from being kicked down the road.

The state has attempted to make inroads in regard to this huge liability, but so far hasn’t had success. Every year the deficit has increased. The governor has stepped forward to address this issue in a responsible way.


Comment: Yesterday, April 7, 2014 the Alaska Department of Revenue issued its Spring 2014 Revenue Forecast.  We believe it provides a brighter outlook for a future, sustainable economy, if decision makers continue to support the sort of tax reform to which the increased production may be Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline, TAPS, state revenue forecast, alaska, throughput, tax policy, Photo by Dave Harbourlargely attributed.  But for future years, a sustainable economy based almost entirely on the back of one industry needs serious, objective attention and problem solving.

Note that the forecast includes improved North Slope production and projects a lower decline than has been anticipated.   The following is from the office of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President Tom Barrett (NGP Photo).  -dh

Barrett issued the following statement this morning:

“The Department of Revenue’s forecast is great news for TAPS.  This much needed upward shift in throughput is critical, because moving less oil through TAPS creates significant challenges for the men and women who work to keep the pipeline operating safely and reliably. Every barrel in TAPS counts and the prospect of thousands of additional barrels moving down the line is welcome news.” 

“We understand that Alaska depends on us to safely deliver the oil that funds so many state services.  That’s why Alyeska and the TAPS Owners have aggressively pursued solutions to declining flow.  But, as I have often said, ‘the best and most direct solution for TAPS is more oil.’”

“I applaud the Governor and the Legislature for fostering an environment that encourages more development.  The forecast reflects that the investments being made by the producers should pay off soon for Alaska.  That’s good news for TAPS and for everyone in the state.”

More information about the challenges of declining throughput is available at http://www.alyeska-pipe.com/TAPS/PipelineOperations/LowFlowOperations

About Alyeska Pipeline

For more than 36 years, Alyeska has operated the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), safely moving oil from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska south to the Port of Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the United States. The pipeline traverses three mountain ranges, permafrost regions and 34 major rivers and streams. Alyeska personnel work in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Valdez and at pump stations and response facilities all along the pipeline. They also operate the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) for Prince William Sound. Alyeska was created to construct, operate, and maintain TAPS for owner companies which today are BP Pipelines (Alaska), ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Unocal Pipeline Company

For more information, visit http://www.alyeska-pipe.com or follow Alyeska on Facebook or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AlyeskaPipeline

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4-7-14

07 April 2014 10:21am

WILD CANADA: This spectacular four-part series on the wildlife and the wild lands of Canada reveals a Canada that few have seen before. 


This morning, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) ...Lisa Murkowski, Pebble, rule of law, Rio Tinto, Northern Dynasty, Photo by Dave Harbour

Rebecca Logan, SB 21, Senate Resources, Alaska oil taxes, Photo by Dave Harbour, Alaska Support Industry AllianceThis afternoon at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, readers may watch a legislative hearing (i.e. live streaming) in Juneau before the Senate Resources Committee.  One of the Doug Smith, Little Red Services, SB 21, oil taxes, Alaska investment climate, Photo by Dave Harbouritems heard will be "Updates From The Field", including testimony concerning Alaska's tax and investment climate by Alaska Support Industry Alliance representatives, Rebecca Logan and Doug Smith (See photos). 

 ... commented on Rio Tinto's divestment of its interest in the Pebble Partnership.  

Her position is consistent with the view we have expressed over that last two years that EPA's potential, preemptive action is a gross violation of the rule of law and creates a dangerous precedent for any oil and gas, mining, commercial fishing, agricultural, construction or other public works project.

*   *   *

Here is Governor Sean Parnell's statement, released Sean Parnell, Rio Tinto, Northern Dynasty, Pebble, Rule of Law, preemptive, EPA, Photo by Dave Harbourearly this afternoon:  Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) today released the following statement after learning of Rio Tinto’s decision to divest its 19 percent ownership stake in Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble copper and gold project.  “It’s disheartening to see a company like Rio Tinto take its business elsewhere as a result of the current federal regulatory environment,” Governor Parnell said. “Even more troubling is the EPA’s efforts to preemptively veto a project before any proposal has been submitted and before a public permitting process has even commenced. Mining provides thousands of jobs for Alaskans and is a critical sector of our state’s economy. Looking ahead, for Alaska to compete globally for investment dollars, it will require a fairer and more stable regulatory process than what the federal government currently pursues.”

*     *     *    

The EPA's unrelenting ardor is aptly demonstrated by Administrator McCarthy's speech tonight to the US Water Alliance in Washington, National Geographic Headquarters Grosvenor Auditorium, 6 p.m.  She will discuss EPA’s continued efforts to "safeguard our waterways" (if not our economy -dh), including the Agency’s recent landmark proposal to clarify protections for the nation’s streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  -dh


Peninsula Clarion/AP by Becky Bohrer.   The House Resources Committee version of a bill to advance a major liquefied natural gas project was starting to take shape Saturday, as members dug into a thick stack of proposed changes.  The committee, with a reputation for finely parsing language, was making slow but steady progress in an amendment process that began Friday. The panel planned to resume work Sunday, after making a slight dent in the stack after hours of meeting Saturday.


From Robert Dillon, Senate Energy Committee Staff.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration today released the first part of its Annual Energy Outlook for 2014. Under the EIA’s high-resource case for U.S. oil production – that is, a scenario where oil production sees sustained production increases over the next 25 years – net imports drop to zero:

“In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, growth in tight oil production continues for a longer period of time than projected in the Reference case. Domestic crude oil production increases to nearly 13 MMbbl/d before 2035 in the High Oil and Gas Resource case, and net U.S. oil imports decline through 2036 and remain at or near zero from 2037 through 2040.” – EIA.gov/forecasts.


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today released the following statement on Rio Tinto’s decision to divest its 19-percent shareholder interest in Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble gold, copper, and molybdenum prospect in Southwest Alaska:

“I appreciate the way Rio Tinto is handling this decision. Instead of simply divesting, it has committed to investing in the education of Bristol Bay’s next generation. This will help ensure that local residents have the skills to get or create the kind of jobs that will allow them to provide for their families.

“I understand that many mining companies are reevaluating their project portfolios right now, but I’m concerned by what else may have prompted this decision. If we want to attract investment to our state and our economy, we need a regulatory system at the federal level that is predictable enough to allow responsible development to go forward – at least to the permitting stage, and without the threat of a preemptive veto from the EPA hanging over it."  

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4-4-14

04 April 2014 8:12pm

Roll Call (4/3/14) reports: The wind industry may be feeling butterflies as the sector’s Production Tax Credit (PTC) is up for renewal again. But Washington’s usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time round because of a new twist: experts are warning a renewal will lead to increased carbon emissions. According to said experts, PTC subsidies for wind are incentives for turbine operators to sell energy at negative prices or a loss. That’s because wind producers still receive positive margins during negative price hours due to the PTC subsidy. So while they can readily turn wind turbines on and off, they are more than happy to keep generating, even if the grid doesn’t need them. 

4-3-14

03 April 2014 4:04am

We're en route from Ecuador to Alaska.  Here are relevant Consumer Energy Alliance clips

Townhall: The Russian Bear and the American Pipeline *Michael Whatley Op-Ed
If there were any doubt about the importance of pipelines to national security, it ought to have been erased by recent events in Crimea and Ukraine as the Russian Bear has pawed away the former from the latter. Europe is vulnerable because 16% of its natural gas comes through Ukraine. It is a powerful reminder of why the Keystone XL Pipeline is critical to our own national security.

 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The shale economy 
Late last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made headlines with a 4-2 decision to strike down several key provisions of the Keystone State’s Marcellus Shale gas development law, known as Act 13. Washington County’s Robinson Township recently announced that it intends to withdraw from a joint lawsuit against Act 13, which prompted Supreme Court action in the first place.

Consumer Energy Alliance’s The Energy Voice: Jacksonville Can Benefit from Natural Gas Renaissance
CEA President David Holt discussed the future of natural gas development in Florida with the Jacksonville Florida Chamber of Commerce.
 
BuildKXLNow.org: Middle East Oil Imports Reduced by 40%
The U.S. reliance on overseas energy has long been a national security concern. Writing at TownHall.com, CEA’s Michael Whatley breaks down why it is so important for the United States to move ahead with building the Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
Canada Free Press: U.S. Now World’s Top Energy Producer - China Now Top Energy Consumer
Not long ago the United States was labeled as being the world’s greatest energy hog and the accompanying criticism from our world neighbors was we weren’t producing enough for our own needs let alone any production for export to other energy needy countries.
 
Investor's Business Daily:  Fracking is making the U.S.
Fracking is making the U.S. an energy leader again as natural gas and oil thought unrecoverable are tapped. A new Census Bureau report shows it's also altering where Americans live. Oil and gas-rich areas near the Great Plains and states like Texas, La. and Miss. along the Gulf Coast were among the fastest-growing regions last year, the report said.
 
Wall Street Journal: Winter Cold Takes Toll on Fracking
The European Central Bank goes into a policy meeting Thursday faced with a decision whether to take interest rates into negative territory because of the warning signs of deflation – most recently seen in Wednesday’s producer prices index report.
 
Investor's Business Daily: U.S. Should Produce And Export More Petroleum Products
America's crude petroleum export ban is an antiquated byproduct of the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Repeal is long overdue. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has sent U.S. oil, natural gas and propane production soaring. Natural gas output is up 36% since 2005. Oil output is expected to increase another 780,000 barrels per day in 2014 and reach 9.6 million daily by 2019. The U.S. is now importing half of what it did in 2005.
 
Wall Street Journal: Oil Boomtown Williston, N.D., Looks for a Stable Future
This oil boomtown, known for its brawling roughnecks and their spare living conditions, is starting to smooth off its rough edges. But not all of them. Muddy pickup trucks still jam the streets, but they drive past recent additions to town, including more than a dozen new restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings. Subdivisions are springing up along the hills and a $73 million recreation center opened last weekend.
 
The Hill: GOP seeks to tie Keystone, gas exports to jobless benefits bill
Senate Republicans want the Keystone XL pipeline and natural gas exports to ride the coattails of unemployment benefits. Republican Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) on Tuesday proposed an amendment to the jobless aid bill that finds a path forward for Keystone and expedites natural gas export applications.
 
Reporter-Herald: Fracking vote has council support
That's the timeline that the Loveland City Council gave Tuesday in directing city staff to move forward in the special election process, while also supporting potential negotiations with advocates and opponents of a fracking moratorium ballot initiative. The proposed ordinance submitted by advocacy group Protect Our Loveland would ask voters whether or not to impose a two-year moratorium of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within city limits while impacts of the process of human health and property values are studied.
 
CBS Denver: Gardner Challenges Udall On Fracking
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to disavow efforts to rein in the controversial procedure known as “fracking.” Gardner is running against Udall. The congressman’s campaign demanded Tuesday that Udall oppose efforts to ban fracking in Colorado.
 
Greeley Tribune: Energy Pipeline: Fracking debate bubbles to the political surface
While two cities in northern Colorado face lawsuits over fracking bans and moratoriums that voters passed last fall, an even larger debate over fracking is beginning to brew at the state level. In the last three months, two groups have announced intentions to gather signatures to put anti-fracking measures on the state ballot in November. One would give cities and towns more control over oil and gas drilling inside their borders. The other would give local governments the power to restrict oil and gas as well as other industrial activity now permitted by state law.
 
FuelFix: Marcellus strategy paying off for gas producers
The Marcellus Shale is starting to prove that, given time, its proximity to the East Coast can make it profitable for those who got in early, according to a Moody’s report issuedTuesday. “Marcellus’ size and geographic location near the high-demand U.S. Northeast and Midwest markets give gas producers there a distinct advantage over their competitors elsewhere in the US,” Moody’s wrote.
 
San Francisco Bay Guardian: Billionaire helps poke holes in oil industry's argument for drilling Monterey Shale
“We’ve been told that there’s a great oil boom on the immediate horizon,” billionaire investor and Pac Heights resident Tom Steyer noted at the start of a March 27 talk in Sacramento. But Steyer (who has pledged to spend $100 million on ad campaigns for the 2014 election to promote action on climate change) wasn’t there to trumpet the oil industry’s high expectations. Instead, he introduced panelists who dismissed the buzz on drilling the Monterey Shale as pie-in-the-sky hype.
 
The Sacramento Bee: Refinery plans to ship 100 train cars of crude oil through Sacramento
A Bay Area refinery’s plan to run up to 100 train cars of highly flammable crude oil daily through Sacramento is prompting a late push by area leaders to protect cities on the rail line. Sacramento officials say they only recently learned that a proposed rail terminal at the Valero company’s refinery in Benicia could dramatically increase the number of trains carrying crude oil through the region, including through populated downtowns. They say they are scrambling to fashion a joint statement to Valero officials expressing concerns.
 
The Denver Post: Colorado legislative committee OKs oil and gas health impact study
A plan for a detailed analysis on the potential health impacts of oil and gas development on the Front Range was approved Tuesday by a state legislative committee. The analysis, to be done by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, will cover six Front Range counties and cost an estimated $700,000.
 
MLive: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signs law offering incentives for enhanced oil recovery at Western Michigan University
With half a million linear feet of core samples as a backdrop, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a package of bills into law Tuesday that provides incentives for an oil recovery method that retrieves more oil and natural gas from existing wells while sequestering carbon dioxide deep underground. Western Michigan University's Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education, where Public Act 82 was signed, is part of a regional partnership set up by the federal government to study carbon capture and sequestration. Since 2011, it also has been home to the Michigan Geological Survey.
 
The Robesonian: Energy companies want OK for natural gas pipeline to NC
Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. said Tuesday they want to invest in a new natural gas pipeline into North Carolina that can deliver more of the cheap fuel to customers and especially to new power plants run by the country’s largest electricity company. The two Charlotte-based companies said they are shopping for proposals to build a pipeline that could start delivering fuel to Duke’s electric power plants and other businesses beginning in late 2018. The companies expect to select a proposal by late this year.
 
News-Journal.com: Texas produces 36 percent of U.S. crude
Texas is producing about 36 percent of the country’s crude oil — three times more than any other state, according to the latest monthly figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas pumped nearly 2.9 million barrels of crude daily of the 7.9 million barrels produced nationwide in January, the latest month for which figures are available. The Gulf of Mexico produced about 17 percent, the second-largest portion, followed by North Dakota with about 12 percent of the U.S. crude. California and Alaska rounded out the top five crude-producing areas, each home to about 7 percent of the nation’s oil.
 
Star-Telegram: Worker shortage endangers growth from gas boom
Chevron Phillips Chemical, preparing to break ground on the first U.S. ethylene plant since 2001, says a lack of skilled labor is the biggest threat to the manufacturing expansion spurred by cheap natural gas. Chevron Phillips’ ethylene and polyethylene plastics plants will cost $1 billion more than the original $5 billion estimate, primarily because of higher labor costs, Chief Executive Officer Peter Cella said Tuesday. The projects will need 10,000 construction workers and will create 400 permanent positions, he said.
 
Washington Examiner: EPA sends proposed emissions rule for existing power plants to White House
The Environmental Protection Agency sent an anticipated greenhouse gas emission rule for existing power plants to the White House for federal review Tuesday, a move that would round out a cornerstone of the president's climate agenda. The EPA sent the rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The agency plans to finish the rule by June 2015.
 
Natural Resources Defense Council (blog):  New Study: Overlooked Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Benefits Put Money in Californians' Pockets
Despite the foot-dragging and dire predictions from California’s oil lobby, the state’s groundbreaking Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is reducing carbon pollution and will save consumers $837 million per year by 2020 as a result of increased diversification and competition of fuel suppliers, according to a study published this week.

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