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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.  -dh

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4-19-15 Pipeline Right of Way Bill Passes

22 April 2015 8:12am

Bill Walker, Alaska Gas Pipeline, Right of Way, Dave Harbour PhotoGovernor Bill Walker today applauded the House and Senate for passing his Gas Pipeline Right-of-Way bill with unanimous support. Once signed into law, SB70 will authorize the issuance of a right-of-way lease for a natural gas pipeline through a corridor in the Denali State Park, Willow Creek, Nancy Lake, and Captain Cook State Recreation Areas.

“I want to thank the legislature today for passing this important piece of legislation,” said Governor Walker. “This right-of-way is a necessary component to building a future natural gas pipeline in Alaska. By setting the wheels in motion now, we will be better prepared down the road.”

SB70 allows of the leasing of a corridor that will be adequate for either the AKLNG or ASAP project. The right-of-way within the authorized area will be approximately 120 feet wide for construction and 53 feet wide for operation under the ASAP project, and approximately  180 feet wide for construction and 100 feet wide for operation under the AKLNG project. Additionally, the bill requires the corridor to be managed as parkland and recreation areas until a lease is issued, and returned to original park and recreation land upon termination of the lease.

Right-of-way leases under SB 70 must be issued by January 1, 2025 and, construction of the pipeline must begin within 10 years of the effective lease date.

-Grace Jang, Office of the Governor


4-22-15 AGDC Lets Alaska Gas Pipeline Material and Weld Qualification Contract

22 April 2015 8:06am

Pete Kelley, Fairbanks, Finance Committee, Senator, Video Photo by Dave HarbourKTUU News.  Disagreements over the state's operating budget continue to keep lawmakers in Juneau past the 90-day session.  Members of the Senate Finance Committee spoke out Tuesday for the first time since the session was extended Sunday night.                                                                                 "The cavalry of funding not coming over the hill to rescue us -- we don't have the money," said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Pete Kelly (Video File Photo).  More with video....

World Pipelines.  Exova, the global testing, calibration and advisory services provider, has been contracted by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) to provide a material and weld qualification programme for AGDC’s Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) project.

AGDC is currently engaged in Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the US$10 billion North Slope natural gas project and in its first contract with the company, Exova’s Houston laboratory is qualifying selected pipe mills and welding contractors specified by AGDC to work on the 727 mile, 36 in. main pipeline.  More....





21 April 2015 1:19pm

Fox Business News.  Gov. Bill Walker vetoed legislation Friday that sought to temporarily restrict participation of a state-sponsored corporation in an alternate gas pipeline project that he proposed.


4-20-15 Could Alaska's Governor Be An Alaska Gasline Obstacle?I

20 April 2015 7:30am

KTUU Opinion by Senator John Coghill (NGP Photo).  

Respectfully, Gov. Bill Walker, with the best of intentions, has proposed “up-sizing” the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project, ASAP, as leverage for prospective negotiations with producers in the Alaska liquefied natural gas project, AKLNG.

On its face that “sounds good.” Unfortunately, up-sizing ASAP may result in significant negative consequences.

As we listened to testimony this session, a few themes developed: 1. the State, if Governor Walker continues on his path, may itself become a “risk factor” for alignment with AKLNG, and 2. if the State pursues two projects at once, it may likely undermine both projects.  More....


4-17-15 Will Excessive Pride Hinder Governor Walker's Ability to Succeed?

17 April 2015 6:28am

Sen. Murkowski: Iran Oil Could Hurt U.S. Production if Prohibition on Exporting Domestic Crude Oil isn’t Lifted

Restrictions on U.S. Oil Trade Amount to “Domestic Sanctions”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today drew attention to the potential impact that ending sanctions against Iran could have on U.S. production if the outdated prohibition on exporting domestic crude oil is not also lifted.

Click to view video

Will Excessive Pride Hinder Governor Walker's Ability to Succeed?


Dave Harbour

On February 25, we expressed optimism that Alaska's new, "'All Alaska' governor has the insight, courage, wisdom and grace to be both humbled at the challenges he faces and capable enough to overcome them.  We are also optimistic that Walker’s propensity to be flexible will enable him to reverse course if he sees the ship of state headed toward rocky shoals."

On February 28, our Daily Planet friend, Paul Jenkins wondered if Governor Walker is "crazy like a fox or crazy as a loon" when dealing with gas pipeline policy. 

Journal of Commerce writer, Tim Bradner, on March 4, 2015, thought the Governor might be throwing a 'wrench in the works', of the AK-LNG project.

In our April 3, 2015 editorial, we expressed concern about, "Administration interference with the Ak-LNG project by even talking about government involvement in a competing project...."

*     *     *

At yesterday's 'press availability', a reporter asked the Governor to comment on legislative suggestions that he may be 'paranoid'.  "I am not paranoid," he said.

Yet, during its due diligence stageWalker has risked losing the most advanced, Alaska North Slope gas pipeline project in history by demonstrating he does not trust the project to guarantee commercialization of gas.  To remedy that, he hopes to plow hundreds of millions in state monies into creating a competing gas transportation and marketing effort.  He believes that if the major AK-LNG project fails because of marginal economics, the state should be able to advance the competing effort because it could accept a lower profit margin than the producers.  (Astute observers, however, note that major Alaska producers are capable of financing a gas pipeline whereas Governor Walker does not have ready access to such financing.)

Yesterday's Senate Resources Committee hearing focused on the very dangerous effects of having the state create a gas pipeline project to compete with another gas pipeline project in which it is also invested.  (We were embarrassed that East Anchorage Senator  Bill Wielechowski tried to interrogate Legislative consultants on what the Legislature was paying them, etc...obviously attempting to divert the discussion from merits of proposed policies to irrelevant matters.)

Today, the Governor issued a news release commenting on his decision to withdraw his proclamation, calling on the Legislature to meet in joint session this morning to act on his appointees.

Walker appears to not trust the Legislature to do its job of voting on his appointments, fearing all the appointments could be made void should the session end this week without appointee confirmations.

Today's release below damns the Legislature by faint praise.  It suggests that he was successful in forcing the Legislature to provide him with a guarantee they would meet and act.

He goes on to suggest that this guarantee will improve relations between the Legislature and himself, that now he
"trusts them".  This is delusionary and prideful.

Then, late today (Friday), as we were completing this commentary, he vetoed the bill designed to keep him from using state resources to compete against the state's investment in the main gas pipeline project

We believe that Alaska's new governor could be honest and well intentioned.  That said, we also believe that, at best, he has a very sophomoric approach to professional relationships with high level public officials and corporate executives.

You don't ask sophisticated companies or elected officials to give you guarantees on matters that are best assured by simple, honest, effective communications and negotiated agreements.

Walker has established himself as a person who lacks the personal self confidence to communicate professionally and successfully with either Legislative or Corporate leaders.

Simply put, he is out of his league and Alaska will pay for his juvenile performance.

The two examples cited above demonstrate that Alaska certainly does not have a governor who is "crazy like a fox," nor has it been shown that his actions are free of paranoid motivations.

As we have often said, we wish Alaska's new governor well but now believe his unjustified sense of self pride may be a major factor in his desire to be a successful state governor.


“If sanctions on Iran are lifted, Tehran will be able to make money by selling their oil to our friends and may use that money to destabilize our allies,” Murkowski said. “If we lift the current sanctions on Iran while keeping in place our own domestic sanctions on crude oil exports, America’s ability to increase its domestic energy security and that of our allies will suffer.”

Click to view video

Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that sanction relief could result in as much as 1 million barrels a day of Iranian oil flooding the global market. Meanwhile, most U.S. oil production is blocked from competing on the world market by regulations leftover from the 1970s.

Murkowski, chairman of the energy committee, stressed the strategic benefits to the United States of rising domestic oil production, including providing flexibility in dealing with trouble spots such as Iran. “It doesn’t make sense that American producers are blocked by U.S. law from selling to the same markets that Iran could reach once the sanctions are lifted,” Murkowski said. 

“It is important for us to recognize that if these sanctions on Iran are lifted and we in fact keep our own domestic sanctions in place it effectively ends up being a liability for us,” Murkowski said. “U.S. producers should be allowed to compete directly with Iran in the global market.”

Click to view video

EIA Administrator Sieminski said rising U.S. oil production – currently at 9.2 million barrels a day, its highest level since 1972 – has helped stabilize world markets and keep prices in check.

“The impact of U.S. production goes beyond just the Iranian sanctions issue,” Sieminski said. “Back in 2012 and 2013, there were some really serious interruptions in oil production in countries like Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and others. They add up to a huge amount of oil – over 2 million barrels a day, at one point approaching 3 million barrels a day. If it hadn’t been for the growth in shale production in the U.S. and production in a few other countries, including Canada, the price of oil would have been a lot higher. Obviously that would have been a benefit to producers but the overall impact on the economy could have been pretty devastating. The growth in production in the U.S. played an important role in stabilizing the global oil markets.”

Murkowski has long called for modernizing U.S. energy and trade policy to end the ban on crude oil exports. In March, she held a hearing looking at the economic and strategic benefits of ending the outdated export prohibition. Murkowski released a report last year on the need to liberalize America’s energy trade policies.

Chairman Murkowski opening statement is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website. The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook is available here.

The end of week Consumer Energy Alliance energy links:

The Wall Street JournalObama Administration Proposes New Offshore Drilling Rules
The Obama administration on Monday proposed new offshore oil and natural-gas drilling regulations aimed at preventing the kind of explosion that erupted nearly five years ago on BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon rig, including provisions the industry has already adopted.
The Wall Street Journal: The Dirty Secret of Obama’s Carbon Plan
Americans don’t give much thought to whether their electricity will be there when they need it. You flip a switch, the lights go on. Your phone charges up. The medical equipment in the emergency room does its job. Yet electric reliability, long a bedrock of this country’s prosperity and high standard of living, does not come as easily as its steady presence might suggest.
CNBCWhat shuttering coal plants means for energy jobs
With new environmental rules looming this week, coal-driven power plants are closing all over the United States, and jobs are going with them. Utilities have been shuttering plants almost since regulatory changes were announced back in December 2011, but the number of closures has spiked recently, and several more plants are scheduled to close in the next few years.
ReutersU.S. shale oil output to fall in May, first drop in 4 years
Oil production from the fastest-growing U.S. shale plays is set to fall some 45,000 barrels per day to 4.98 million bpd in May from April, the first monthly decline in over four years, projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Monday.
CNBCOPEC slams oil producers with 'go-it-alone' attitudes
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries published a stinging critique on Monday of oil-producing countries that had refused to follow its lead in holding back supply in an effort to boost prices.
The Washington PostWhat environmentalists get wrong when they use the California drought to attack fracking
With the continual worsening of California’s drought, an odd argument — in some ways as much meme as argument — has arisen. It’s the notion that in the context of the drought, it’s important to cut back on the water used in industrial hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” operations in the state.
The Dallas Morning NewsA new era for nuclear power?
For decades the U.S. nuclear power industry has stood at a virtual standstill, a victim of economics and fears over safety. But as President Barack Obama prepares to roll out new carbon emission regulations targeting the power industry, nuclear companies are hoping a new era is upon them.
MarketWatch: Natural-gas market is ready to rally
Winter demand for natural gas has ended, but the fuel’s prospects for a price rally are just beginning. The U.S. natural-gas market has seen enough supply over the past year to “greatly reduce” the large storage deficit that followed last year, but there has also been enough cold weather to keep storage levels slightly below the five-year average, Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi Futures, said in a weekly report issuedMonday.
The HillStates outpacing feds in safety regs for fracking
The Department of the Interior recently introduced a rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands to much fanfare. Stating the need to update 30-year-old regulations, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell characterized Interior’s action as taking the lead and giving the states an example to follow.
The HillEPA blasts GOP’s bill to change climate rule
The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee joined the Environmental Protection Agency Monday in criticizing the House GOP’s efforts to weaken the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.
GallupAmericans Choose the Environment over Energy Development
About half of Americans (49%) say that protection of environment should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies, virtually unchanged from their sentiment last year. Fewer than four in 10 (39%) prioritize the development of U.S. energy supplies even if the environment suffers to some extent.
E&E PublishingBoth sides ready arguments for case that could scotch EPA power plant rule
Energy companies and 15 predominantly Republican-led states will press federal judges this week to halt President Obama's greenhouse gas standards for power plants.
ForbesUpstart Siluria Technologies Turns Shale Gas into Plastics and Gasoline
San Francisco-based startup Siluria Technologies has attracted $120 million in venture capital from the likes of Saudi Aramco on the promise that it has discovered a Holy Grail of the petrochemicals industry. Last month Siluria unveiled its new plant tucked in among dozens of giant petrochemical complexes on the Houston Ship Channel.
FuelFixOil firms may have to cut deeper than $126B, report says
The next round of oil-company earnings might show investors just how much firms still need to cut, even after executives stripped $126 billion from annual spending plans this year, a new report says.
FuelFixAs costs fall, companies may start completing wells again
Oil companies keeping thousands of barrels of crude off the market by drilling but not completing wells may soon start flooding the market again.
The HillTribes say no to Keystone
Native Americans are pressuring the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, warning the project could infringe on their water rights, harm sacred land and violate America’s treaty obligations. Tribes sent more than 100 pages of letters to the Interior Department earlier this year raising concerns about the project, which would carry oil sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Billings GazetteSafety is TransCanada's top pipeline priority
I am writing on behalf of TransCanada to address concerns over the Keystone XL pipeline plans raised in an article appearing on your website on April 5 titled "After two Montana breaks, scrutiny builds over federal pipeline regs". TransCanada has worked with PHMSA in planning Keystone XL, and has voluntarily agreed to 59 new safety procedures. Among these, river crossing precautions have been paramount.
Associated PressTexas House set to vote on bill banning local fracking bans
The Texas Legislature is poised to take a major step toward wiping out a highly-publicized local ban on hydraulic fracturing approved by a college town near Dallas — and ensuring that other communities don't follow suit.
Durango HeraldFrackers average at least two violations a day
Fracking companies average more than 2½ violations a day, according to a study of just a small portion of the public record. The Natural Resources Defense Council studied online reports for Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia covering five years.
Akron Beakon JournalMedina County group pushing community rights charter vote
A Medina County grass-roots group is launching a drive to adopt a new county charter with a community rights that might be used to block a planned natural gas pipeline.
The Wheeling Intelligencer‘Nuisance Oil’ Term in Contract Annoys Belmont County Landowner
Curtis Wallner is not sure what "nuisance oil" extracted via fracking is. Neither is a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which oversees mineral extraction in the Buckeye State.
Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewGovernor Wolf appoints business recruiter to advise on energy and manufacturing
Gov. Tom Wolf has tapped Democrat and lawyer-lobbyist David Sweet to fill a new advisory position the governor says he established to stimulate growth and competition in Pennsylvania's energy and manufacturing industries.
The Bradford EraTrailblazing classes: Shale gas emergency training held in Smethport
History was made over the weekend in training classes at the Tri-County Fire School Inc. in Smethport. The two-day, 16-hour class, “Firefighting at Shale Gas Emergencies,” was conducted for the first time in Pennsylvania, noted Jack Fowler, president of the school, which this year marks its 50th anniversary of providing fire training to area volunteer and industrial firefighters.
Huntington NewsFracking Waste Chemicals Allegedly Found in WV Near Drinking Water Inputs
Dr Gupta, this open letter is to ask for your participation in the upcoming public hearing held by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the permitting of two Lochgelly horizontal hydrofracturing (frack) waste injection wells that have been operating out of compliance, and unpermitted, for over a year, and to apprise you of the surrounding issue.
News & RecordProposed bill puts limit on fracking
A Piedmont Triad legislator has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent.
Maine Public BroadcastingMaine Governor Wants Nuclear Power Back on Energy Table
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has submitted legislation that would make it easier to site a small nuclear plant in Maine. The administration says it's time to update the law that governs siting of nuclear plants in the state.
Capital New YorkFracking protesters turn attention to Port Ambrose project
New York State's successful anti-fracking movement has found a new cause: Port Ambrose. The planned liquefied natural gas facility, to be built 19 miles off the coast of Long Island, has already generated vocal opposition from activists, residents and elected officials at rallies, hearings and in official correspondence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                            No. 15-036

Contact: Grace Jang, Press Secretary – (907) 465-3976
Katie Marquette, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 465-5801


Governor Walker Secures Promise from Legislative Leadership on Confirmation Votes

April 17, 2015 JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker today revoked his proclamation to convene the House and Senate into a joint session today at 10 a.m. to vote on his appointments.

“I just wrapped up a meeting with House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Kevin Meyer,” Governor Walker said. “They gave me their word that each of the 89 appointments would be given an up or down vote on Sunday. I trust them.”

Governor Walker said revoking the proclamation is an important step toward a positive relationship with legislative leadership.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             No. 15-37

Contact: Grace Jang, Press Secretary – (907) 465-3976
Katie Marquette, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 465-5801


Governor Walker Vetoes Bill That Ties Alaska’s Hands During Pipeline Negotiations

April 17, 2015 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker today vetoed HB 132, making good on a March 2 promise when the bill was introduced.

“This veto in no way means the end of discussions with legislative leadership,” Governor Walker said. “We continue to have multiple meetings to ensure AKLNG is successful and remains the priority while maintaining access to a backup option.”

HB 132 limits the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) from actively working on any gas line project other than the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (AKLNG) line. The State of Alaska is a partner in AKLNG along with TransCanada, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP.

“We cannot have legislation that ties Alaska’s hands while we are trying to negotiate the best possible gas line deal for Alaskans,” Governor Walker said. “This bill prevents the state from having an adequate backup plan should the AKLNG efforts not proceed.”

Governor Walker also continues to meet with AKLNG partners to advance this project.  Governor Walker has said multiple times AKLNG remains his administration’s priority and having a backup option with the ASAP line will not interfere with the AKLNG project.

(Attached: Veto letters to House Speaker & Senate President; Governor’s veto signature)




16 April 2015 11:36am

Fairbanks News Miner.  The public will have 30 more days to comment on federal regulations for exploratory drilling in the Arctic.  Please visit the RDC website to learn more...then, please comment.  -dh

APRN by Alexandra Gutierrez.

Gov. Bill Walker ​(NGP Photo) has issued a proclamation that would force legislators to act on his appointments.

The executive proclamation comes days after legislative leadership cancelled their confirmation session — and days after the governor sent a six-page letter reiterating that he would veto a contentious gasline bill....

The last time a governor forced lawmakers into joint session over confirmations was in 1983, when then-Gov. Bill Sheffield (NGP Photo) sent state troopers after legislators to force them to appear on the floor.

News-Miner opinion: Sometimes cooler heads prevail. Thursday afternoon, the Alaska House passed House Bill 105, which would allow the Interior Energy Project to refocus on a Cook Inlet supply of natural gas. The bill’s passage marked the end of half its arduous journey through the Legislature; the other half is underway. HB 105’s transit through the House was marked by near-death experiences, from its numerous committee referrals to a series of amendments last week in the House Resources Committee that would have required approval by the Legislature for milestone investments in the project.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and Interior legislators deserve credit for returning HB 105 to a more workable form.  More....

Calgary Herald by Dan Healing.  Regulatory OK of a natural gas pipeline expansion in B.C. improves the likelihood that the Pacific NorthWest LNG project will be built, but a final investment decision still awaits other government approvals, the proponent said Thursday. ... The $1.7-billion project will consist of two 42-inch pipeline sections totaling about 301 kilometres. It would allow transport of gas from northeastern B.C. and Alberta through an interconnection with TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project to provide gas to the Petronas-led liquefied natural gas export facility on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert.

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