Violent ENGO actions don’t go unnoticed. Judicial Watch announced on Wednesday it filed suit against the Department of Defense and Army Corps of Engineers, seeking to obtain communications between government officials in the Obama administration and environmental groups related to protests last year opposing the Dakota Access pipeline. The conservative watchdog group’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed June 29 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charges that the Obama administration and environmentalists worked “hand-in-glove” to try to stop the pipeline’s construction and asks to review communications between the two camps to prove it.
$1 Trillion with a capital “T.” Just how big are the overall expectations for the Arctic? Guggenheim Partners, a U.S.-based advisory and infrastructure-financing firm, put the region’s potential at around $1 trillion. The Arctic is vast – a region of panoramic expanses and glittering landscapes that spans the sovereign areas of eight countries. Other than for its four million inhabitants, this region has long been thought of, in both popular conception and practical terms, as remote, inaccessible, and generally off-limits. Make no mistake: As far as economic development and investment go, that era is over. This fact is largely, although not exclusively, the result of climate change, which most of us consider to be a clear negative. But a fact it is. Increased investment and development in the Arctic is inevitable and it’s already happening. And that is a positive – if it is done the right way.
Statoil empty handed. Norway’s hope of discovering a large oilfield in the Barents Sea has suffered a major setback after the far north Arctic‘s most promising reservoir turned out to contain only small amounts of natural gas. Statoil, the country’s top oil and gas producer, has stepped up drilling in the Barents Sea this year as the government seeks to attract more explorers to its Arctic waters to make up for declining North Sea output. But Statoil said on Tuesday that after drilling the northernmost exploration well in the highly anticipated Korpfjell prospect it had found only non-commercial quantities of gas and no oil. Korpfjell was the first exploration well drilled in the Norwegian section of a formerly disputed area between Norway and Russia, where Statoil and its partners had hoped to make a major discovery.
Harvey brings two-year highs for gas prices. Oil markets were roiled on Monday after Tropical Storm Harvey wreaked havoc along the US Gulf Coast over the weekend, crippling Houston and its port, and knocking out several refineries as well as some crude production. US gasoline prices hit two-year highs as massive floods caused by the storm forced refineries in the area to close. In turn, US crude futures fell as the refinery shutdowns could reduce demand for American crude.
Harvey doesn’t impact Alaska oil. Hurricane Harvey has caused nearly 100 oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to temporarily shut down. Since the storm came ashore last Friday, oil production in the region has dropped by more than 300,000 barrels per day according to data from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. But that drop in production doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher demand for Alaska’s oil.
Enstar secures more gas thru 2021. A deal between the regional gas utility ENSTAR and the Texas-based independent producer AIX may cover a small slice of the region’s demand for heat and energy until 2021. AIX, which operates a four-well pad in Kenai’s Kenai Loop gas field, could supply ENSTAR with a total 3.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas between August 2018 and March 2021, if the contract is approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which announced it Friday.
Civic Engagement at a young age. Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) is petitioning the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for concrete action on climate change. The more than one 100 page document calls for a regular inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and a reduction of those pollutants. DEC’s commissioner, Larry Hartig, invited the teens to meet with him on the topic. He agrees the state needs to do a better job of communicating what it’s doing on climate change. “I certainly hope that this generation will keep that fire in them,” Hartig told the group. “And that what we leave you will be something that we can be proud of.” Headlamp is encouraged to see young people involved. For a comprehensive look at what the state of Alaska is doing click here.
Industry Appreciation Day in Kenai. While celebrating the industries that fuel the Kenai Peninsula, Gov. Bill Walker stressed the importance of diversifying Alaska’s commerce. “You look at the career opportunities in this state, as far as the resources in the ground, and you have to ask what we are doing to develop our resources and our careers,” Walker said in an interview during the annual Industry Appreciation Day, held on Kenai Park Strip on Saturday. The event brought together community members and those involved in the oil and gas, commercial fishing, tourism and medical industries to recognize the contributions of local businesses and individuals. “I look out today and see the celebration of industry and, you know, no one in Alaska does it like you do,” Walker said to the crowd, which was spread out among the park, enjoying free barbecue and a salmon bake, playing games or talking to political candidates. Headlamp congratulates the Alliance for winning the award for Outstanding Business Support for the Oil and Gas Industry at this event.
Strange bedfellows. Two Alaska legislators and a longtime Republican organizer are trying to prohibit lawmakers from collecting expense payments if they fail to pass a state budget on time. A new ballot initiative, billed the “Alaska Government Accountability Act,” would also limit some campaign contributions, require legislators to announce conflicts of interest before votes, and limit lobbyist gifts. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka; Rep. Jason Grenn, I-Anchorage and Bonnie Jack of Anchorage are behind the initiative, which was submitted to the Alaska Division of Elections on Monday. Each was named an initiative “co-chair” in a press release announcing the initiative. The division could not provide the formal language of the proposal, but Jim Lottsfeldt, the initiative’s “mechanic,” confirmed it was submitted.
An investment model for the Arctic
The Wilson Quarterly, Tero Vauraste, Summer 2017
Norway’s Arctic oil ambitions suffer setback as most promising well yields none
Arctic Now/Reuters, Nerijus Adomaitis, August 29, 2017
Judicial Watch files lawsuit for communications with environmental groups on Dakota Access pipeline
The Washington Examiner, Josh Siegel, August 24, 2017
Oil markets roiled as Harvey hits US petroleum industry
The Business Times/Reuters, August 28, 2017
Hurricane Harvey won’t impact Alaska oil and gas
Alaska Public Media, Rashah McChesney, August 28, 2017
Alaska teens call for stricter control on climate change
KTVA, Liz Raines, August 28, 2017
ENSTAR contracts with AIX energy for supply until 2021
Peninsula Clarion, Ben Boettger, August 28, 2017
Walker celebrates industry, talks diversification
Peninsula Clarion, Kat Sorensen, August 26, 2017
New ballot initiative targets legislators’ per diem pay
Juneau Empire, James Brooks, August 29, 2017