Arctic Council Meets in Fairbanks. Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan flew to Fairbanks Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for an Arctic ministerial conference. Sen. Murkowski pushed for Alaska to host the 2017 ministerial meeting, including language in a 2015 spending bill directing the secretary of state to hold the meeting as close to the U.S. Arctic as is feasible. Given high numbers of international guests and their security needs, Fairbanks best fit the bill. Sullivan said in a statement Wednesday that Tillerson’s attendance to chair the meeting shows that “the Arctic is a priority for him and the new administration.” And the meeting would also “bring the world’s attention to the strong and generous people who live in the Arctic, whose culture and way of life is a priority in any discussion on the future of the Arctic,” he said.
Jones Act As Is. US Customs and Border Protection has rescinded a proposal to modify the Jones Act to require offshore drillers to prioritize hiring American ships and crews over international ones. “By rescinding the proposal, CBP has decided not to impose potentially serious limitations to the industry’s ability to safely, effectively, and economically operate,” the American Petroleum Institute’s Erik Milito said.
Submersible Skimmer for Spill Response. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement provided the latest details on its efforts to improve oil spill response technologies at the Arctic Oil Spill Response Research and Technology Workshop April 26. Bureau staff presented results of several BSEE-funded projects including the development of a submersible skimmer prototype for oil recovery in and around broken ice.
Up and Running. Hilcorp’s Anna Platform has resumed work after having been shut down since a suspected oil release April 1. An Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) situation report released Saturday states that the platform’s crude oil pipeline to onshore facilities — the suspected source of sheens seen on the surface of Cook Inlet on which prompted the shutdown — was restarted May 2, watched by observers from DEC, U.S. Coast Guard, and the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), who saw no oil releases.
400,000 More Barrels-A-Day Potential on the North Slope. In just the past year, Caelus Energy, ConocoPhillips and the Armstrong Energy-Repsol partnership have all announced oil discoveries capable of producing up to, or well in excess of, 100,000 barrels per day. And they’re all related through the formation of the Brooks Range about 150 million years ago. When the Arctic Coast was further south than it is today, layers of sediment were deposited known as the Torok and Nanushuk formations. Headlamp reminds leaders more production means more jobs for Alaskans and more revenue to the state. Both of which we applaud.
More internet for Remote Communities. Participants in the Arctic Broadband Forum held this week at the University of Alaska Fairbanks got an update on the progress of a project that promises to bring high-speed internet to remote northern Alaskan communities. And while residents of those towns and villages overwhelmingly support plans to bring broadband into the area, some worry about the flood of Western culture that will come with greater access to the internet.
U.S. Senate Fails to Reverse Obama Methane Restrictions. The Senate on May 10 failed in a bid to reverse an Obama-era regulation restricting methane emissions that escape from oil and gas wells on federal land. The vote was 51-49 in the Republican-led Senate with three GOP lawmakers — Maine’s Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona — joining forces with the Democrats to block efforts to overturn the rule. Sen. Murkowski released a statement of her disappointment, saying in part “BLM’s rule is not necessary, not part of its core mission, and it will create higher economic costs, reduce jobs and revenues, and weaken our energy security.”
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, May 10, 2017
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Mathew Daly, May 10, 2017
Alaska Dispatch News, Yereth Rosen, May 10, 2017
Alaska Dispatch News, ADN, May 10, 2017
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, May 10, 2017
Hilcorp’s Anna Platform restarted
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Ben Boettger, May 10, 2017
Fuel Fix, James Osborne, May 10, 2017
BSEE highlights Arctic collaborations on response technology possibilities
World Oil, May 10, 2017
Experts outline benefits of boosting Arctic broadband; but some cite cultural ‘concern’
Alaska Public Media, Tim Ellis, May 10, 2017