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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.



06 August 2014 8:21am

News Miner by Jeff Richardson.  Jim Plaquet has crunched the numbers, and he presents a few pieces of scratch paper filled with tiny handwritten figures to prove it.  Contractors, welding shops, trucking companies and more — they’ve all seen an employment boost since the Legislature passed Senate Bill 21, its industry-friendly overhaul of the state’s oil tax structure. Last winter — the first production season since the new system was signed in 2013 — included a hiring spike that hasn’t been seen in years, he said.


05 August 2014 9:42am

Globe & Mail by Gwyn Morgan.  The proposed Northern Gateway project has become a flashpoint for the growing debate about the safety of oil pipelines. Yet despite the arguments put forward by its proponents and opponents, many Canadians lack a broader perspective from which to measure the risks and rewards of what would be a vital oil-export conduit.

ADN by Rich Mauer.  Which oil-tax system is best for Alaska?


Today's Consumer Energy Alliance Energy News Links:

WTAJ (CBS) - Johnstown-Altoona, PA: WTAJ News This Morning
WPXI-TV PittsburghNews 

KOA-Denver: News 
KDKA- PittsburghNews 

106.7 – AtlantaNews 
Roll Call: Skirting Keystone XL Pipeline
As the Keystone XL pipeline lingers in legal limbo, companies are finding new ways beyond rail to move tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refiners in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. This weekend Canadian oil producer Suncor loaded a tanker in Montreal bound for a Louisiana refinery, thought to be the first seaborne shipment from Montreal to the gulf, Platts reported.
AL.com: State officials exaggerate Alabama's coal industry size with fuzzy numbers: opinion
Alabama Power's announcement that it would close three coal-fired power plants in response to federal regulations caused quite a stir last week. The company said the closure will employ 60 fewer people, even though they will not be laid off. The changes "could put upward price pressure on our customers" a senior production officer said.
Albuquerque Journal: Hard choices ahead on carbon in NM
A new analysis by Western Resource Advocates on the potential impact of proposed federal carbon regulations shows New Mexico is well positioned to meet the rules, but it may have some hard choices ahead to fully comply.
Journalstar.com: Nebraska among states challenging EPA's coal rules
A dozen states led by West Virginia and including Nebraska are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block a proposed rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. An environmental lawyer called the states' attempt to stop the rule "laughable."

WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio:  Eight Maryland Lawmakers Urge Obama To Abandon Offshore Seismic Testing
The majority of Maryland's Congressional delegation is urging President Obama to reconsider a proposal regarding a technique to look for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, including off the state's shoreline. Who isn't behind the push is just as telling as who is.
Associated Press: Colorado Governor Strikes Key Deal Over Fracking
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis joined Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state Capitol to detail an agreement that calls for a task force to deal with concerns about energy development. In exchange, groups agreed to drop four initiatives that support or oppose hydraulic fracturing a technique that blasts a mix of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals into underground rock formations to release trapped oil and gas.
Reuters: Oil steady above $105 on geopolitical tension
Brent crude oil steadied above $105 a barrel on Tuesday as tensions in the Middle East and North Africa balanced ample supply in the Atlantic basin. "The market is stable because of a combination of two things. On the one hand you see geopolitical tensions ... but on the other hand you see maintenance from refineries and enough supply," said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam.
Wall Street Journal: Demand for Sand Takes Off Thanks to Fracking
Sand prices are rising and companies are racing to build new mines in South Dakota and other locations as demand intensifies for the silica crystals that energy companies use to fracture shale deposits.

Wall Street Journal: America's Oil Export Policy Is Stuck in the '70s
Thanks to hydraulic fracturing and other unconventional shale-extraction technology, natural gas is the biggest energy story in the U.S. now. Since 2006, however, natural-gas production in the U.S. has soared. The U.S. now produces more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas a year, the most in the country's more than 100-year history of gas exploration and production.
Bloomberg: Shale Drilling Outpaces Research on Its Impact: Study
Scientific understanding of the effects of hydraulic fracturing and other methods of extracting natural gas from shale rock has not kept pace with the rapid expansion of the industry in North America, leaving researchers with a limited grasp of what drilling could be doing to wildlife and plants, said a study published July 31. The study in the peer-reviewed journal “Frontiers in Ecology” involved several U.S. and Canadian conservation biologists and organizations, and was led by British Columbia's Simon Fraser University.
Los Angeles Times: In Colorado, lines are drawn for an election battle over fracking
If proponents have collected enough valid signatures by Monday, the state's voters will decide on one initiative requiring all new oil and gas wells to be set back 2,000 feet from any home or school — a major expansion of the current buffer requirement of 500 feet — and a second that would give communities more control over drilling by adding an "environmental bill of rights" to the state's constitution.
Los Angeles Times: Santa Barbara County oil-drilling project elicits worries
It turns out that there was an exemption in a 1994 law that still allows drilling in a single portion of state-controlled, coastal waters. And a Santa Barbara lawmaker wants to immediately halt any possibility of drilling.
Denver Business Journal: Opposing Colorado oil and gas ballot campaigns moving ahead without a compromise yet
Despite a morning announcement that officials had reached a deal to pull down four potential ballot initiatives related to the oil and gas industry, Monday ended without the sides behind the measures backing down.
WFIW: Illinois lags far behind Indiana when it comes to issuing oil and gas drilling permits
Although Indiana has only a handful of counties that produce oil and gas; more than 300 permits were issued there last year. In sharp contrast, Illinois currently has a backlog of 672 drilling permit applications. Additionally, it has been more than 400 days since the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Act was signed into law.
Bismarck Tribune: S.D. sand mine proposal encouraging
North Dakota may have the oil, but South Dakota could have the hydraulic fracturing sand that makes the Bakken oil boom possible.
Times-Leader: Philly business leaders visit Susquehanna County for primer on gas opportunities
Philadelphia-area community leaders had to see firsthand whether Pennsylvania’s gas industry can help abate their floundering employment statistics.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gas interests silent at EPA carbon pollution hearings
Natural gas companies and their trade groups sat out the Environmental Protection Agency hearings in Pittsburgh, as they have generally abstained from commenting on policies that could harm coal but help natural gas. It was environmentalists and health advocates that brought gas into the picture at the hearings, warning the EPA that, in addition to targeting carbon dioxide, it should also mind methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s the main component of natural gas production.
Breitbart: Texas Gas Town To Vote On Fracking Ban
Voters in Denton, Texas will go to the polls in November to vote on a proposed hydraulic fracturing ban. The vote follows Denton's City Council rejection of the proposal earlier this month.



04 August 2014 5:56am

ADN by Alex DeMarban.  On Thursday, as part of an effort to Sofia Wong, Exxon, Point Thomson, ADN, Alex DeMarban, Photo by Dave Harbourincrease transparency, Exxon flew journalists to see the largest development underway on the North Slope: the $4 billion Point Thomson gas field near the fiercely protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  ...   The Exxon official who has managed the project the last five years, Sofia Wong (NGP Photo), told reporters on the media tour why Exxon was investing so much in what she considers “the middle of nowhere.  “The answer is we have a world-class reservoir right under our feet.”
Petroleum News.  Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has named the members of the state’s Oil and Gas Competitiveness Review Board.  The board was established in Senate Bill 21 and will report to the Legislature in January 2015 on changes to state regulations and permitting which would encourage increased investment in the state while protecting the state’s people and environment; status of the state’s oil and gas labor pool; status of oil and gas infrastructure; and “competitiveness of the state’s fiscal oil and gas tax regime when compared to other regions of the world.”

8-3-14 PNA's Steve Quin Interviews Obama's Alaska Gasline Guru, Larry Persily

03 August 2014 3:03pm

In this interview piece, PNA's Steve Quinn asks Alaska Gas Larry Persily, Alaska Gas Pipeline Federal Coordinator, ACES, AGIA, AKLNG, Dave Harbour PhotoPipeline Federal Coordinator, Larry Persily (NGP Photo), about chances for the current Alaska LNG project.

A mid-august primary election ballot question asks voters whether to repeal tax reform (SB 21).  Oil tax reform attracted approval of the Governor and a majority of the legislature over a year ago after over two years of intense study, public meetings and hearings.  

Yet, soon after it passed, an interesting coalition of some legislators who voted against tax reform--along with various environmental activists and several union leaders--filed the required number of signatures to put the repeal of SB 21 on this month's ballot.

Many have said that if tax reform is pulled back, the degree of uncertainty for Alaska projects will be so great that chances for the gas mega project will be mortally wounded.

Quinn and Persily seem to have revealed through their analysis the realistic benefits that could be achieved from monetizing Alaska's vast, proven reserves of natural gas.

Those voting to repeal tax reform are taking a big gamble with the state's future: Do we want to squeeze every last drop of blood from the turnip now without regard to keeping a seed crop for future generations; or, do we want to have an investment climate reputation of stablity, reasonableness and long term vs. short term thinking?

The decision is at hand.



01 August 2014 1:37pm

Fairbanks News Miner, by Matt Buxton.  With less than three weeks before voters decide the fate of an oil tax system the industry has spent millions to defend, ExxonMobil invited a group of reporters to visit North Slope’s Point Thomson gas field.  Reporters from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Anchorage-based media outlets took an ExxonMobil flight on Thursday to tour what is said to be one of the busiest places of development on the North Slope.


7-31-14 Jansen wants "vibrant long-term economic future" for Alaska

31 July 2014 7:44am

Jim Jansen, No On One, ACES, Alaska oil tax reform, SB 21, Photo by Dave HarbourADN OpEd by Jim Jansen (NGP Photo).  Alaskans have a choice on August 19. We can retain a competitive tax structure, compete in the market for oil investment and have a vibrant long-term economic future, or we can continue to over-tax the petroleum industry, suck on the oil lollipop until it’s gone and let the future be damned.​

Dingman Would Sacrifice Short Term Cash Cow For Long Term, "Environment of Economic Stability"

ADN Column by Mike Dingman (NGP Mike Dingman, Alaska Oil Tax Reform, SB 21, adn, No On One, Photo by Dave HarbourPhoto).  After all of the talk of the past oil tax systems, the fluctuating price of oil, the world market, the domestic market, heavy oil, offshore oil, progressivity along with a litany of confusing acronyms, we are left with one, very important fundamental question -- do we want our oil tax system to be a short-term cash cow or do we want to create an environment of economic stability on the oil patch and ensure high-paying jobs for Alaskans.


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