AK: Prolific Production & Environmental Stewardship; Australia: Chaotic Policymaking

Unleash Alaskan Energy
Mike Sommers, API Blog, June 10, 2019

The United States leads the world in natural gas and oil production, but that doesn’t mean we can get complacent. Global consumption  has reached 100 million barrels per day — more than double what it was 50 years ago. And demand is expected to keep growing, as opportunities expand for millions living in poverty around the globe. Even under optimistic scenarios for renewable energy, U.S. and international projections agree that three-fourths of demand will be supplied by fossil fuels , with more than half coming from natural gas and oil, for decades to come.  Fortunately, from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico to Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, the U.S. has not just the resources but an industry with the technology and skill  to develop them safely.  Take for example the North Slope of Alaska, an area poised to re-emerge as a “super basin” following discoveries like Willow, Pikka and Liberty. The resurgence has been great news for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS — backbone of Alaska energy and critical pillar of U.S. energy security. TAPS throughput is ticking up, and new finds in National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, or NPR-A, could singlehandedly increase  its volume by 18 percent.

Our Take:  This can’t be said enough “The long-held assumption that we can’t increase energy production, grow the economy and decrease emissions – all at the same time – no longer applies. It doesn’t apply in Alaska either…where the energy legacy is one of prolific production and the highest standards of environmental stewardship.”

Australia risks status as a natural gas superpower
Jayme Smith, Financial Times, June 3, 2019

As a $200bn wave of new global investment gets under way, the energy industry is warning that chaotic policymaking and overseas competition are threatening to cut short Australia’s tenure as the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. The energy companies say the government has failed to deliver coherent climate and energy policies, appears willing to intervene for the benefit of local industry over LNG exporters and has been unable to approve more gas exploration. “Australia’s policies are somewhat uncertain with calls for government intervention — that raises concerns,” Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive, said at Australia’s largest oil and gas conference last week. “We are seeking clarity and stability to provide confidence around the viability of Australian investments.”

Conservative groups tell Congress: ‘We oppose any carbon tax’
Naomi Jagoda, The Hill, June 10, 2019

A group of 75 conservative organizations and leaders on Monday sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to a carbon tax, pushing back at an idea that has received support from politicians and policy experts on both sides of the aisle as a way to combat climate change.  “We oppose any carbon tax,” states the letter, which was signed by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Club for Growth President David McIntosh and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, among others.

Their Take:  “A carbon tax raises the cost of heating your home in the winter and cooling your home in the summer,” they added. “It raises the cost of filling your car. A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives.”

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

DEMOCRATS PREPARE TO FIGHT TRUMP EPA’S EFFORT TO FORCE PIPELINES ON STATES: Democrats led by Tom Carper are clamoring for a fight over President Trump’s most recent executive order hobbling states’ powers to block natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure using Clean Water Act permits.

The Environmental Protection Agency stoked Carper’s rage on Friday by issuing guidance to federal agencies on implementing Trump’s April order to rein in states’ authority to block permit approvals.

Carper, the top Democrat from Delaware on the Environmental and Public Works Committee, said in a statement Friday evening that he is convinced EPA and the president are violating “congressional intent.”

“The president’s executive order and EPA’s new guidance are indefensible and defy the clear intention of Congress,” Carper stated.

GOP ready to rein in state abuses: Nevertheless, Republicans see EPA’s guidance as blocking states from abusing their authority under the law.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the EPA guidance balances states’ authority over water resources while promoting responsible development of energy resources.

The guidance will also “reduce abuse” of Clean Water Act permits to block infrastructure needed to provide reliable and affordable energy, Murkowski added.

Murkowski’s office explained that the guidance is a preliminary action, and that EPA will soon issue new regulations updating how section 401 is implemented, noting that the law governing the permit authority has not been revised since 1971.

Trump’s order directs EPA to issue the new rules 120 days after the guidance is published.

The Republican chairman of Carper’s committee, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, said the EPA reforms are needed now more than ever.

“We need reform, and we need it fast,” he said, accusing states like Washington, New York, and New Jersey of preventing the U.S. from exporting natural gas and other energy resources.

Oil and natural gas groups welcomed the EPA guidance on Friday, while environmental groups rebuked it as a step in the wrong direction for states’ rights and climate change.

Results not Rhetoric on Budget; Supreme Court for Alaska Offshore Drilling?

As the Alaska budget discussion intensifies, so does the need to fact check what is being said publicly.
Headlamp will start today with a chart on where the money comes from to fund our budget. The rhetoric that the oil industry is “held harmless” in the current budget is simply not true.

**It is important to note that the total projected contribution to the state from oil revenue for FY 2019 is $3.078 billion – not all oil revenues go to the general fund.

As Alaska budget tightens, $ 1.2 billion oil tax deduction comes under scrutiny

Supreme Court Could Be Best Shot for Alaska Offshore Drilling
Bloomberg Environment, April 2, 2019

The Trump administration’s best hope to overturn a March 29 lower court decision shutting down oil and gas drilling off the Alaskan coast may lie across the country at the U.S. Supreme Court, environmental lawyers said. All five conservative justices on the high court have shown skepticism about agency claims of authority where Congress hasn’t clearly delegated it—the core issue in the Alaska case. A federal district judge struck down an executive order from President Donald Trump that opened Arctic waters to oil and gas drilling. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act can be seen as a “one-way ratchet” that grants the president the right to withdraw certain areas for drilling, but not for revoking prior withdrawals, said Patrick Parenteau, an environmental law professor at Vermont Law School in Royalton, Vt., and currently a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico law school in Albuquerque.   “That would leave it to Congress to decide whether to either amend the OCSLA or revoke or modify any prior withdrawal,” Parenteau said. “That might appeal to the conservative view of the separation of powers doctrine.”

Hilcorp delays seismic exploration in lower Cook Inlet
Aaron Bolton, KBBI, April 6, 2019

Hilcorp said it’s holding off on plans to conduct seismic exploration for oil and gas in lower Cook Inlet because of potential conflicts with halibut and salmon fishermen. The company also lacks a crucial permit to conduct the work, and it’s unclear when it may get the green light to move forward. In Hilcorp’s permit application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the company said it wants to update 40-year-old seismic data in a 370-square mile lease site offshore from Homer and Anchor Point.

Our Take: “ The company said it’s now delaying the survey until after “the height of fishing and tourist season,” due to concerns raised by fishermen like Maw and Flores.”   Contrary to popular belief, companies do listen to community concerns and respond appropriately.

Blamed for Climate Change, Oil Companies Invest in Carbon Removal
Clifford Krauss, The New York Times, April 7, 2019

Everyone knows an electric fan can make people feel cooler on a steamy day. But could fans moderate the planet’s rising temperatures? Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies would like to find out. Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and the Australian mining giant BHP this year have invested in Carbon Engineering, a small Canadian company that claims to be on the verge of a breakthrough in solving a critical climate change puzzle: removing carbon already in the atmosphere. At its pilot project in Squamish, an old lumber town about 30 miles north of Vancouver, the company is using an enormous fan to suck large amounts of air into a scrubbing vessel designed to extract carbon dioxide. The gas can then be buried or converted into a clean-burning — though expensive — synthetic fuel.


Headlamp – Jackson joins house;  LeBon one step closer to declaring victory

Judge backs Alaska elections division in disputed recount
Dan Joling, AP, December 21, 2018

The Alaska Division of Elections properly recounted votes in a state House race decided by one vote, a Superior Court judge decided Thursday.  The Alaska Supreme Court named Judge Eric Aarseth as a special master to prepare a report on the recount appeal by Democrat Kathryn Dodge. The recount showed her losing by one vote to Republican Bart LeBon in a race for a seat from Fairbanks in the Alaska House.  Aarseth will turn in a written report Friday and the state Supreme Court will have the final say after a hearing next month. Aarseth from the bench after a hearing Thursday said elections officials followed the law as set up by legislators.


                Dunleavy picks Jackson for Alaska House seat

Trump Unveils Proposal For Oil And Gas Drilling In ANWR
Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, December 20, 2018

The Trump administration on Thursday put forward a draft proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration while at the same time protecting the region’s iconic wildlife. The proposal comes nearly one year after President Donald Trump signed GOP-led tax cuts into law. The bill also ordered the Interior Department to open ANWR’s coastal plain, or 1002 Area, to oil and gas leases.  “We have undertaken a rigorous review here,” Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Balash said they worked with dozens of scientists and other experts to craft “a rather robust document.”

Our Take:   From our Congressional delegation and our Governor:

                “One year ago, Congress directed the Department of the Interior to open the Coastal Plain for responsible energy development, and today marks a major step forward to making this a reality,” Murkowski said. “I appreciate the extensive time and attention the Department has dedicated to gather and consider feedback from all Alaskans, particularly the Inupiat and other stakeholders in the Alaska Native community. This input and cooperation will ensure we build a strong leasing program that helps us realize our tremendous energy potential without harming our environment or way of life.”

“I appreciate all the hard work and diligence the Department of Interior undertook to produce this draft Environmental Impact Statement in line with Congress’s statutory mandate from last year’s tax bill,” Sullivan said. “I am particularly pleased to see the serious and necessary considerations for the porcupine caribou that migrate through the region, as well as the abundant level of stakeholder input — including from the Alaska Natives in the area, the vast majority of whom support responsible drilling in the 1002. This Draft EIS brings us that much closer to unleashing America’s energy potential, filling up the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, boosting our economy, and providing good jobs for Alaskans, all while protecting the ecosystem in ANWR’s 1002 as we’ve done on the rest of Alaska’s North Slope for over 40 years.”

“I’ve fought for a long time to open the 1002 Area for oil and gas development, and this is a critical step toward reaching that goal. I want to thank Secretary Zinke and Assistant Secretary Balash for their hard work in producing this draft EIS and look forward to continuing to work with DOI in 2019 to complete the assessment process,” Young said. “Opening the 1002 Area will allow Alaska to be a leader in energy development so we can continue the Trump Administration’s efforts to make our country energy independent.”

“This is a significant milestone in Alaska’s long journey to responsibly explore and develop the 1002 area in ANWR,” Dunleavy said. “The potential oil discovered will spur new jobs and investments for generations to come, extending the life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.”

Donlin Gold signs major wetland mitigation agreement
Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk, December 20, 2018

Donlin Gold has signed an agreement with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to protect some of the trust’s wetlands in the Cook Inlet area.  The company is trying to develop one of the biggest gold mines in the world in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The mine, if built, would disturb 2,800 acres of wetlands. Because Donlin can’t restore all of those wetlands, it is required to protect wetlands somewhere else.  This agreement is a big deal for the company if it develops the project.  “Basically what this does (is) we purchase the conservation easement on a portion of the Chuitna River — I think we’re talking 2,000 acres — so that restricts its use from any kind of development, so it protects that habitat,” said Kurt Parkan, spokesperson for Donlin Gold.

Headlamp – Trump Trade Talk; Earthjustice under scrutiny for ties to foreign governments. 

State wants dismissal of lawsuit challenging bonding proposal to pay oil tax credit obligations
Becky Bohrer, AP, October 1, 2018

A judge said Monday that he wants both sides to submit additional briefs before deciding whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to pay Alaska’s oil and gas tax credit obligations. The state wants the case brought by Juneau resident Eric Forrer to be dismissed. Superior Court Judge Jude Pate said a decision probably would not be made until early November.  The Legislature earlier this year passed a bill, proposed by Walker, to establish a new state corporation that would be empowered to sell up to $1 billion in bonds to pay off the state’s remaining tax credit obligations. Lawmakers had previously voted to end the tax credit program, which had been geared toward small producers and developers, because they said it had become unaffordable.

Our Take:  When the state’s AG argues that paying the tax credits from bonds that have been issued is “subject to appropriation”, AKHEADLAMP gets a chill up their spine.  Instability is the enemy of investment. 

SCOOP:  House Targets Another US Environmental Group Over Its Foreign Ties
Michael Bastasch, Energy Editor, The Daily Caller, October 1, 2018

House lawmakers sent a letter Monday to the environmental group Earthjustice demanding documents regarding its ties to foreign officials and environmental activists, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. The letter from top Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources is the fourth sent to environmental groups over their ties to foreign governments. It’s the second letter related to environmental opposition to the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, Japan. Lawmakers say Earthjustice’s political activities may require them to register as a foreign agent, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the DCNF.  Earthjustice is an environmental law firm often represents environmental activists in litigation.

Our Take:  Three strikes and your out?  How many environmental groups with ties to foreign nations have to be exposed before we say STOP IT?

A sampling of what people are saying about Trump’s Trade deal:

Oil and gas industry praises Trump’s new NAFTA deal
Josh Siegel, The Washington Examiner, October 1, 2018

Trump Clears Deck for China Trade War With New Nafta Deal
By Rich Miller, Andrew Mayeda , and Jenny Leonardm, Bloomberg, October 1, 2018

Trump’s new trade deal is better for workers than NAFTA was
Alexia Fernandez Campbell, Vox, October 2, 2018

Here are some key differences between Trump’s new trade deal and NAFTA
John Schoen, CNBC, October 1, 2018

Trump Renames NAFTA, But What’s So Great About New Trade Deal
Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, October 2, 2018

From Politico’s Morning Energy, Darrius Dixon, October 2, 2018:

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Major oil and natural gas companies are open to regional collective monitoring for methane emissions to help smaller companies cut back on waste, BP executives said at a meeting with reporters Monday. The industry is split between BP, ExxonMobil and other leading companies that have sophisticated — and relatively expensive — emissions measurement technology and a host of smaller, independent companies that do not. The larger companies, via organizations like the Oil and Gas Innovation Center, can help invest in projects that could monitor where leaks are coming from in the Permian Basin and other areas with heavy drilling activity, and even “fingerprint” the gas to analyze which company is responsible, said Gordon Birrell, BP’s chief operating officer for production, on the sidelines of a symposium at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It makes sense for us and others,” Birrell said. “Collaboration in this space is something we’re up for.”

It’s not simple altruism: Companies want to keep natural gas in the conversation as countries in Europe mull how to meet their Paris Accord targets, and U.S. states look at low- to zero-emission energy sources. Countries in Europe are also weighing whether to add a “carbon intensity” price to gas imports. “The risk is stakeholders and customers lose confidence in natural gas as a product for the long term,” Birrell said. “That’s the big risk if we don’t go after this very quickly.”

Alaska’s Balash in the Big Easy; Usibelli Turns 75

Usibelli Coal Mine celebrates 75 years in Healy
Alaska Public Media, Dan Bross, July 17, 2018

Usibelli Coal Mine is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The operation in Healy started by Emil Usibelli in 1943, run by his son and now by his grandson, is Alaska’s only operating coal mine. Joe Usibelli has run the company for the last three decades and shared the story of the family coal mine in a recent presentation to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. Usibelli says his family came to the US over a century ago to seek a better life, just like today’s immigrants. ”My great-grandfather came over in 1907, my grandfather came over in 1909,” Usibelli said. “They came over from Italy, and there’s parallels in the world right now.”

AGDC will stick with Nikiski as prefered choice for LNG Project
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Tim Bradner, July 17, 2018

Alaska LNG has cited all its reasons why Port MacKenzie won’t work as a site for a large liquefied natural gas plant. In a filing with the U.S. Energy Regulatory Commission, the state gas corporation, Alaska Gasline Development Corp., said issues with navigation, tides, beluga whales and other problems make the MatSu port on Knik Arm an unworkable choice for a marine loading terminal for the large LNG plant that is planned.

Our Take: How many times will AGDC be asked to defend its choice of Nikiski as the site for their LNG plant? AKHEADLAMP hopes this is the end of the discussion.

Alaska megaproject hits financial headwinds as elections loom
E&E News, Margaret Kriz Hobson, July 18, 2018

The blueprint to finance and build a $44 billion natural gas export project is coming under fire at a time when people here are gearing up for a governor’s race that could again throw the future of the Alaska liquefied natural gas project into question.

Our Take: We agree. This is shaping up to be a key issue in the gubernatorial race. Does the state allow market dynamics to guide the project or does the state force a project? As Senator Giessel noted, most legislators are supportive of the project, “but not at any cost.”

Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world’s No. 3 oil powerhouse
CNN Money, Matt Egan, July 17, 2018

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.   If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

Our Take: Texas’ activity led to an additional $2 billion + for the Texas State Legislature.

America’s Oil And Gas Boom Is Spreading Through The Country
Forbes, David Blackmon, July 17, 2018

The Permian Basin, home to more than 40 percent of all active U.S. drilling rigs, continues to receive most of the credit for the rapid growth of U.S. oil production; meanwhile, the Marcellus Shale receives the lion’s share of credit for ongoing record-setting levels of domestic natural gas production. But a series of recent information releases demonstrate that the oil and gas boom is spreading into other plays across the nation.

Our Take: ConocoPhillips recent announcement about increased activity gives AKHEADLAMP hope that the oil and gas boom doesn’t bypass Alaska. Reduction in operating costs AND a stable fiscal climate contributed to their decisions. Elections matter – AKHEADLAMP hopes Alaskans will elect leaders who appreciate their largest business partners and will maintain a business climate that attracts more investment.

Parnell backs Dunleavy over Treadwell for governor
KTVA, Steve Quinn, July 17, 2018

Former Alaska governor Sean Parnell has endorsed Mike Dunleavy over Mead Treadwell, who served as Parnell’s lieutenant governor during his first full term. Dunleavy announced the surprise show of support on his campaign Facebook page Tuesday evening. Dunleavy spokesman Brett Huber declined to comment further on the endorsement beyond referring to the page, on which Dunleavy said, “I’m honored to have Sean Parnell’s support.”


From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

TRUMP APPOINTEES ADDRESS CONFERENCE OF CLIMATE SKEPTICS: The Trump administration is appearing in force at this year’s annual conference of the Heartland Institute, a group known for its questioning of climate science.

The group released the list of keynote speakers in an agenda Tuesday night for the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference.

Interior Department: Joe Balash, the Interior Department assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management, is set to deliver the closing keynote speech on August 7 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel.

Energy Department: Another keynote speech will be given by Douglas Matheney, special advisor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Matheney advises on fossil fuels policy.

The agenda: The conference will examine President Trump’s energy agenda, “which is focused on making the United States a global energy power,” according to the group’s agenda. “The conference will examine what has changed, how that has affected America’s economy, and what’s next.”

Our Take: Great to see Alaska’s own Joe Balash as the keynote at this conference!

Headlamp: Russian LNG lands in Boston. Alaska’s draft Climate Change Policy is light on detail.

June 4th was the deadline for comments on the draft Climate Change Policy developed by Governor Walker’s Climate Action Leadership Team (CALT). Response, research, mitigation and adaptation are the four categories covered in the policy.

Take a look at what some of Alaska’s business partners are already doing:

Advancing the energy transition

Reducing, improving, creating. We’re reducing emissions in our own operations; we’re improving our products to help customers lower their emissions; and we’re creating low carbon businesses.

2017 Sustainability Report

We are committed to providing the natural gas and oil necessary to support global economic development while addressing concerns related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Creating secure and affordable energy, while achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement will require collaboration between the natural gas and oil industry and governments, citizens and businesses.

In their comments to the team, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) pointed out:

  • The draft policy is an early work-in-progress and not ready for detailed public comments
  • The policy should be informed by robust scientific and economic analyses
  • A carbon-pricing mechanism in Alaska could result in negative unintended consequences to Alaska’s economy and environment

Our Take: The draft policy is lacking in specifics. Setting goals and targets with no detail on how they will be achieved doesn’t lead to good policy. There is much research and work to be done before a policy can be drafted and put out for public comment. Pro tip: look at what is already being done by our partners.


Russian Gas Addiction Problem No Problem for Those Willing to Address It
Natural Gas Now, Tom Shepstone, June 6, 2018

Russian gas addiction is a very real problem for Europe (and soon Boston?) but the solution is no mystery. It’s fracking here, LNG and development of UK gas. CNN Money has a fascinating story about Russian gas addiction in Europe. It’s a problem that’s come to our shores as well with Russian LNG entering Boston this past winter. What’s most interesting about the CNN Money article is that it ignores the obvious root of the addiction problem and the obvious solution. The problem is failure to develop natural gas resources in Europe (and pipelines to Boston). The solution is a combination of more natural gas development here and in the UK, for instance, and LNG.

Our Take: When political correctness is chosen over practical solutions… As the author notes, there is enormous potential in the UK’s Bowland Shale. “It is, in a word, humongous.” The best solution to breaking the Russian gas addiction is to develop your own resources – but political correctness demands that you choose to reduce your reliance on gas and move towards less reliable, more expensive renewable energy. Governor Walker’s climate action leadership team – take note.


Donlin Gold Advances In Permit Process
KYUK Public Media, Krysti Shallenberger, June 5, 2018

Last week, Donlin Gold received a state permit that regulates wastewater discharge. The mine is located in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and is poised to be one of the biggest gold mines in the world. The company expects to obtain at least a dozen state and federal permits this year, says Donlin spokesperson Kurt Parkan. Those includes a combined record of decision from the Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps spearheaded the Environmental Impact Statement, a study that calculates all the impacts to the environment from the mine. The Department of Transportation is set to issue a record of decision for the mine this year as well.

Our Take: For those who believe that our permitting system isn’t stringent – read on. According to Parkan “this is only a drop in the bucket compared to the potentially more than 100 permits that the Donlin Gold project needs to begin operating.” Parkan also notes “We’ve been saying about 100 general permits to operate, but in fact it’s a lot more than that because of the permits we need to operate the pipeline.”

Giving thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice 74 years ago today.







Headlamp Extra Edition: Fairbanks Daily News Miner omits “The rest of the story”

Many media outlets omitted key facts about the BLM scoping meeting in Fairbanks last night for their notice of intent to prepare an EIS for opening ANWR.

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner (FDNM) headline “Locals speak out against ANWR drilling” is the most misleading description we found, so far. (The newspaper only covered the public portion, avoiding the presented and invited testimony that was balanced)

What the FDNM and other outlets failed to tell you?

  • Doors opened at 3:00pm for an open house and to hand out comment cards
  • Opponents to the lease sale arrived early by bus, took 50 comment cards, left, and returned at 6:30pm for the public comment period
  • Only one person who supported ANWR could testify (#51) since the first 50 comment cards had been taken by opponents and time ran out
  • The invited testimony was very balanced with the Mayor of Wainright and three different labor unions – Teamsters, Laborers, IBEW- testifying in support

So now you know the rest of the story. Here is a different perspective from someone who attended the entire meeting:

“As a life-long Alaskan raised in Fairbanks, I flew up to the “Golden Heart City” to present personal testimony supporting proposed lease sales on the coastal plain of ANWR. The hearing was painful and did not represent the view of many Alaskans. Hundreds attended the packed hearing at the Carlson Center and we were outnumbered 50-1 in testimony. I arrived 20 minutes after the doors opened at 3:00 p.m., more than three hours before public testimony was to begin. I signed up to testify, but learned I was number 52 on the list of those wishing to speak. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to testify as time ran out.

It’s Anchorage’s turn tonight, expect more of the same: a coordinated effort by opponents to get there early while others are at work, take enough comment cards to prevent others from testifying and media coverage that focuses on the opposition while ignoring the supporters.


US and China agree on trade as Alaska’s governor meets Chinese vice premier
KTUU, Leroy Polk, May 21, 2018

Trade tensions between U.S. and China eased considerably Monday as officials with both countries signaled “significant progress” towards an agreement on trade matters. Governor Walker and others met with Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing as part of the Alaska trade mission to China. Walker extended thanks to both Pres. Donald Trump and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping, for “working together to improve trade relations between our countries.” According to Walker, the news from Washington proved to be a big boon for the Alaska mission, stating, “The timing of our trade mission could not be better” and claimed “Alaska LNG Project is key to reducing the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.”

Thank Goodness For U.S. Natural Gas Exports
Forbes, Jude Clemente, May 20, 2018

A recent article caught my attention and hopefully yours, “Trump’s Iran Move May Kick Worst U.S. Gas Market While It’s Down.” There is indeed logic to the simplified idea: rising oil prices mean rising rig counts and rising oil production, which means rising associated natural gas production and thus falling natural gas prices.

Our Take: Driven by the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, rising oil prices mean two important things for our LNG, which is surely a larger baseload demand market for us than piped gas to Mexico. First, long-term LNG supply contracts linked to oil prices will get more expensive, upping the competitiveness of our non-oil indexed LNG. Second, U.S. gas production, especially in Texas, should grow as higher oil prices mean more drilling.

Murkowski Welcomes Final List of Critical Minerals
Federal Register, Interior Department, May 18,2018

“I thank Secretary Zinke for his efforts to develop this list of minerals, highlighting our most critical vulnerabilities,” Murkowski said. “These minerals are needed for energy, healthcare, manufacturing, defense, agriculture, and other technologies, and we must now take real steps to secure a reliable, long-term domestic supply.”

Our Take: The estimated value of rare-earth compounds and metals imported by the United States in 2017 was $150 million, a significant increase from $118 million imported in 2016. The growing demand is driven by the increased use of REEs in today’s high-tech devices. China currently dominates the supply side of the equation. What an opportunity for Alaska! We have large areas that either host known deposits of rare earth elements or are highly prospective for these increasingly important ingredients to modern devises.

April Was The 31st Consecutive Month Alaska Has Lost Jobs
KSRM, Jennifer Williams, May 18, 2018

The State Labor Department released the preliminary estimates showing April employment was down by 1,200, or 0.4 percent compared to April 2017. April was the 31st consecutive month Alaska has lost jobs, making this a longer downturn than in the 1980s, when a deep state recession led to 25 straight months of job loss. The construction sector held steady in April, with no further job losses. Oil and Gas lost another 500 jobs, while the retail sector loss 600 jobs with the closure of some major national chains.

Our Take: Alaska should focus on creating a bigger pie for everyone – not fretting over who gets the few good jobs we have. As highlighted in the Forbes LNG article and the Critical Minerals list – the opportunity for Alaska is great – if we make good decisions and create a stable investment climate for companies.

From Today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:


A divided Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Friday it won’t make broad evaluations about the impact of climate change when it decides whether to approve interstate pipelines. Limited by law: FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre and fellow Republicans Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee wrote in the majority opinion that the National Environmental Policy Act does not require the commission to consider the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emission impact in pipeline reviews.

Headlamp – China seeks to dominate the world through infrastructure investment.

House to Probe China Threat
The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz, May 16, 2018

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will begin a major inquiry into the threat from China this week in a shift from its past attention on Russian subversion. The committee will hold a series of hearings, both open and in secret, examining threats posed by China in the military sphere, economic and industrial realm, technology arena, and Beijing’s significant influence operations against the United States, said committee aides.

Our Take: Our potential partners are being investigated for the “many challenges they pose to our national security through its aggressive territorial claims, unfair trade policies, espionage and cyber-attacks…”

IEA cuts outlook for global oil demand as crude nears $80 a barrel
Reuters, Reuters Staff, May 16, 2018

Global demand for oil is likely to moderate this year, as the price of crude nears $80 a barrel and many key importing nations no longer offer consumers generous fuel subsidies, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday. The Paris-based IEA cut its forecast for global demand growth to 1.4 million barrels per day for 2018, from a previous estimate of 1.5 million bpd.

Legislative report misleads on ConocoPhillips profits
The Anchorage Daily News, Roger Marks, May 16, 2018

The Anchorage Daily News reported on May 6, about a report by Legislative Research Services comparing ConocoPhillips’ Alaska profits with profits elsewhere. Suppose you had a company that produced diamonds and gravel, and in some places, you produced more of one and less of another. Diamonds are, of course, much more valuable than gravel.

Our Take: We aren’t surprised it’s what they do – at the urging of Senator Wielechowski who has had this explained to him too many times to count -but continues to mislead the public.

LNG Edge Q1 2018 Trade Flow Report
ICIS, May 2018

China continued to surprise the market in the first quarter 2018, with a dramatic 65% year-on-year increase in imports as the country switched heating systems from coal to gas to improve air quality. The rate of increase accelerated from the previous quarter, but this is unlikely to be maintained during summer. The country has relatively low storage capacity so will have to rely more on importing at time-of-need rather than building up stocks in summer for the winter ahead.

Our Take: The LNG Edge: Q1 2018 Trade Flow Report draws on the latest voyage data from market-intelligence platform LNG Edge to analyze imports and exports in the global LNG market, bringing you market insights ahead of full data publication from customs authorities.