Morning Headlamp — Walker on Hiring Restrictions: Do as I say, not as I do

January 11, 2017 | Posted in : News

At a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Carlson Center, senior vice president of Caelus Energy’s Alaska operations Pat Foley, nudged Chamber members to contact their legislators and ask for a consistent oil-tax-credit program that encourages investment in the North Slope. “It’s a dour time, but I’m optimistic,” Foley told Chamber members, “and I think in the next five years, we’re going to see that pipeline-training facility full.” Foley said the North Slope must remain a vibrant business environment for Caelus to be successful, and legislators should work toward “a tax policy that is favorable to North Slope development.” Headlamp agrees and is disappointed in the new House Majority for publicly stating that they plan to introduce new tax legislation that would damage the North Slope.

According to a Ketchikan Daily News editorial, “Sen. Pete Kelly was correct when saying recently that it’s OK for politicians to fight. We would hope the fight will be for budget solutions that provide the maximum of reasonable services for state residents…Judging by the range of topics within the 51 pieces of proposed legislation announced Monday, and with more expected on Friday, legislators have much work ahead of them. Jan. 17 is right around the corner. Each of our elected representatives sought their jobs. We hope they are ready to do them.”

Headlamp asks all legislators not to confuse activity with results. Introducing legislation that does nothing to solve our budget problems is a waste of time and money. 

BP recently announced plans to acquire African gas company Kosmos Energy in a $916 million deal. As evidenced in a Motley Fool interview, this move underscores the producer’s farsighted moves as of late. Unfortunately, none of the moves have resulted in increased investment in Alaska. It is worth repeating: tax policy and fiscal instability affect investment. 

Gov. Bill Walker is hiring Anchorage political consultant John-Henry Heckendorn as a special assistant. Heckendorn will start work at the end of the month as special assistant to Walker and to Scott Kendall, who was named chief of staff in December. Headlamp is disappointed that the Governor isn’t following his own rules about the state’s hiring restrictions. A political consultant is certainly not essential to life, health and safety, the operation of 24 hour facilities, or directly engaged in revenue collection and enhancement.

It can (probably) only get better from here. The amount of oil discovered last year was the lowest since the 1950s as explorers slashed spending amid the worst downturn in a generation, according to Wood Mackenzie. Spending on exploration has been gutted since oil prices started falling in 2014 and may drop further this year, said Andrew Latham, Wood Mackenzie’s vice president for global exploration. However, by making operations more efficient, focusing on easier targets and paying lower fees to contractors, oil companies are getting more for their money. Coupled with renewed industry optimism sparked by an OPEC-led deal to curb output and boost prices, that could mean exploration results won’t get any worse, he said.

 

First Reads

Ready to start work?
Ketchikan Daily News, January 11, 2017

BP Just Opened Up its Wallet, is it Signaling Better Times Ahead for This Oil Giant?
Motley Fool, Taylor Muckerman, January 10, 2017

Walker to hire political consultant Heckendorn as special assistant
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, January 10, 2017

Energy explorer: Smith Bay awash in oil riches
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Kevin Baird, January 11, 2017

Oil Discoveries Seen Recovering After Crashing to 65-Year Low
Bloomberg, Mikael Holter, January 11, 2017

Alaska pushing to open Arctic refuge to oil, natural gas drilling
Kallanish Energy, January 11, 2017

 

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Bad Bill of the Week

January 10, 2017 | Posted in : News

AK Headlamp’s mission is to bring you original content and a perspective you’re not getting anywhere else. Over the last year, we’ve been dedicated to doing just that. Now we find ourselves just days away from the start of the 30th Legislative session. In 2017 we hope to see true leaders use the 90-day session to tackle the serious economic issues facing our state.

This brings us to the newest content you’ll find at AK Headlamp: Bad Bill of the Week. During the 29th Legislature, 614 separate bills were introduced – an average of over 10 per legislator. The time, effort and money wasted on crafting that many bills, even if they never have a hearing, is staggering and something Alaska cannot afford right now. As our state plows headlong into a recession and faces serious economic issues, Headlamp wants to see the Legislature seek ways to solve our financial situation and strengthen the private sector. If a bill doesn’t fulfill those two objectives, now is not the time for that legislation.

The first batch of pre-filed bills were released yesterday. Of the 48 bills on the list, we can already start to tally the hours that legislators and staff will waste on hearing these bills that will do nothing to improve Alaska’s fiscal problems. The vast majority of those filed yesterday do not fit the criteria of solving our financial situation or strengthening the private sector.

Therefore, we’re going to let legislators and the public know about it.

Each Friday, Headlamp will highlight a Bad Bill of the Week. It will likely be hard to narrow it down to just one, but we’re going to try. We hope that by continuing to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions we can turn this ship around, and look forward to a strong and prosperous Alaska for generations to come.

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Morning Headlamp — Alaskans to receive an additional $1000+ if bills pass

January 10, 2017 | Posted in : News

AK Senators’ lucky number. As recently reported, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan recently introduced S 49, the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Act, which would allow development of no more than 2,000 surface acres within the 1.5-million acre coastal plain of the ANWR, a region also known as the 1002 Area. “For nearly 40 years, Alaskans have proven that we can responsibly develop our natural resources while protecting the environment,” U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said in a statement. “Alaskans overwhelmingly support responsible development in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR and there is no valid reason why we should not be allowed to proceed.” U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan said it was “shameful” that the federal government has been ignoring decades of pleas by Alaskan officials to allow limited development of the 1002 Area.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the portions of the 1002 Area controlled by the federal government hold an estimated 7.7 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. The USGS estimate climbs to 10.4 billion barrels with the inclusion of Native lands and adjacent state-controlled water areas within a three-mile offshore boundary.

According to a Fairbanks Daily News Miner editorial, In Juneau this year, legislators should think about what Alaska can afford and what it can’t. Ultimately, the state can afford what its people are willing to pay for. And what it can’t afford is another year of inaction on revenue from the Legislature.”

Gone but not forgotten. Legislation to restore the permanent dividends was proposed by Republican Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla and incoming Republican Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla. Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski of Anchorage revived a proposal he has pushed previously with little success which he said would enshrine the current dividend formula in the state Constitution. Incoming Republican state Rep. George Rauscher of Sutton has proposed putting a spending limit in the constitution. For any of the constitutional-change proposals to go before voters, they first will need two-thirds support in both the House and Senate.

Oil prices have recovered after a more than two-year slump caused by a glut due to U.S. shale oil flooding the market. Prices have risen about 21 percent since the OPEC, which accounts for a third of global oil output, signed an agreement in November to curb supply. “With OPEC putting a floor on oil prices, operators have greater confidence to drill and complete, although the early stages of the recovery will be uneven,” Barclay’s analysts wrote in a report.

 

First Reads

Time for hard budget questions: Legislators must confront what Alaska can, can’t afford
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, January 8, 2017

Bill Would Allow Limited Development of Alaska’s 1002 Area
Natural Gas Intel, Charlie Passut, January 9, 2017

Bills filed to restore Alaska payout cut by governor
The Associated Press, January 9, 2017

Oil Rally: No Longer A Mirage
Seeking Alpha, January 9, 2017

API Chief: Offshore Oil and Gas Production Could Create 800,000-Plus U.S. Jobs, $200 Billion Annually to Treasury
CNS News, Penny Starr, January 9, 2017

Oil companies may boost E&P spending after 2 years of declines – Barclays
Reuters, January 9, 2017

 

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Morning Headlamp — Without oil, Alaska’s economy won’t be healthy

January 9, 2017 | Posted in : News

According to Tim Bradner, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp has a long list of to-dos ahead on the Alaska LNG project. First, the state corporation must answer questions submitted through FERC by federal and state agencies on the 12 resource reports prepared by Alaska LNG as a part of the pre-application process for a FERC certificate. A “comprehensive discussion” was also requested of safety measures employed to protect the public, workers and wildlife during construction, including measures like traffic control and above-ground and underground utility crossings. During the permitting and regulatory stages of resource development projects in Alaska, Headlamp hopes the agencies and interested parties can work cohesively and expeditiously to bring projects to life. Regulatory delays only hurt Alaskans and kill jobs.

What’s ‘healthy’ to you? Oil should be a “healthy part” of the budget, but “we cannot tie our state’s future to the price of one single commodity,” Gov. Bill Walker told the Associated Press. Regarding the budget, most people probably agree that Alaska needs a diversified economy that’s not subject to the whim of oil prices, said Rebecca Logan, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance’s general manager.

But that’s a “very long-term goal,” she said, noting a healthy oil industry is important in the meantime.

Considering the industry has traditionally paid upwards of 80 percent of the state’s budget and a third of the state relies on the industry for a livelihood, Headlamp is highly interested to learn what “healthy” means for Alaska.

Back to work. Alaska’s congressional delegation joined a busy opening week in Washington for the 115th Congress, packed with early votes and meetings with nominees to President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. Alaska’s delegation met with a slew of Trump nominees, readied plans to peel back end-of-term Obama administration regulations and introduced dozens of bills they hope to send to the president’s desk this year. Additionally, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced legislation Thursday that would allow energy production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sullivan and Murkowski argue that a majority of Alaskans support drilling in ANWR. “Time and again, our pleas have been denied. This is shameful,” Sullivan said. Likewise, the delegation — and congressional leadership — were consulting with attorneys to decide the best legal options to repeal Obama’s monument designations that bar drilling in many areas offshore of Alaska.

 

First Reads

AGDC has long, and potentially costly, to-do list as it takes over LNG project
Alaska Dispatch News, Tim Bradner, January 8, 2017

Military base expansion may help offset Fairbanks from statewide job losses in 2017
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, January 8, 2017

Alaska governor takes on mighty foe: state’s oil dependency
Associated Press, Becky Bohrer, January 9, 2017

No state services without costs
Peninsula Clarion, January 8, 2017

Congressional Republicans seek legal strategy to restore Alaska drilling options
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, January 7, 2017

Water bill requires fresh look at Arctic port
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 7, 2017

Oil drilling in Alaska refuge is again on the table
The Seattle Times, January 7, 2017

 

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Friday’s Fast Five

January 6, 2017 | Posted in : News

Top Story of the Week

This week, the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company announced the Trans-Alaska Pipeline moved about 517,500 barrels per day last year. That’s a 1.8 percent increase from 2015. This is the first time in 14 years that production, and subsequently TAPS throughput, from Alaska’s North Slope has increased.

Top Reads of the Week

Alaska’s senators set eyes on drilling Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
KTUU, Travis Khachatoorian, January 5, 2017
New legislation was filed in the first week of the congressional session to unlock a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas development.

Labor Dept.: Oil industry will top job losses again in ‘17
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 5, 2017
Alaska’s economy is going to get worse before it gets better, state economists predict.

AK, the loser state
Craig Medred, January 4, 2017
Alaska sucks, but living in the Far North beats being some hillbilly in West Virginia.

Quote of the Week

“So it’s OK for politicians to fight. They should fight. We want them to fight. And they should be good at it.” – AK Sen. Pete Kelly

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Morning Headlamp — ‘It’s OK for politicians to fight’

January 6, 2017 | Posted in : News

Bringing the fight to Washington. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Act, S. 49, saying in a press release, that drilling in ANWR would lead to more robust energy independence for the United States and more revenues for Alaska’s economy. “The landowner, ASRC, the people of the North Slope, the overwhelming majority of Alaskans support this, now it’s up to the congressional delegation to convince enough of their colleagues in the House and Senate that this makes sense for Alaska and also the rest of the country,” said president of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association Kara Moriarty. According to the United States Geological Survey, an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil could be recovered in the 1002 area, making it one of the largest existing untouched oil fields in America.

The hemorrhaging doesn’t stop. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projecting the state will lose another 7,500 jobs this year after shedding about 6,800 in 2016. Job losses in the 7,500 range would be about 2.3 percent of the state’s workforce. The losses in 2016 were roughly a 2 percent employment contraction. The department attributes the continued economic downturn primarily to lasting fallout from the sudden decline in oil prices in the second half of 2014, which doubly hit Alaska via the state’s budget and one of its largest industries. The biggest losses are expected to come from the oil and gas, construction and state government sectors. Combined, the three could lose about 4,000 jobs, according to the report. This is why tax fights in Juneau are more than just fiscal policy disputes. Each day the industry is dissuaded from investing, Alaskan families lose out on their livelihood.

Battle royale. The incoming president of the Alaska Senate on Thursday predicted the next legislative session would be contentious, marked by an ideological rift between his own Republican-led majority and the new House majority coalition, which consists mostly of Democrats. “A lot of times people say, ‘Well, we shouldn’t fight in Juneau because everybody should just get along.’ No, we should fight,” Kelly said. “Because the alternative of a government that doesn’t fight in Juneau — those governments fight in the streets. And so it’s OK for politicians to fight. They should fight. We want them to fight. And they should be good at it.”

According to an Alaska Journal of Commerce editorial, “Given the production increases, the third-best lease sale in decades in December and strong prospects under development, the evidence does not back up those who are spinning the end-of-oil narrative. Gov. Bill Walker has not exactly expressed enthusiasm for prospects by independents Caelus and Armstrong, and his Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Mark Wiggin reacted to questions about the 2016 production increase not with celebration but with an Eeyorish comment about how we’re not heading back to our peak production days in the late 1980s.”

The US Army Corps of Engineers will not remove oil pipelines from the next five-year authorization of its streamlined permitting program, despite opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline and historic preservation groups calling for more scrutiny in order to prevent spills. The agency released a final rule Thursday authorizing the program through March 2022.

 

First Reads

Alaska’s senators set eyes on drilling Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
KTUU, Travis Khachatoorian, January 5, 2017

Labor Dept.: Oil industry will top job losses again in ‘17
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 5, 2017

New Alaska Senate president on upcoming session: ‘It’s OK for politicians to fight’
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, January 5, 2017

AJOC EDITORIAL: Production forecast leaves room for pleasant surprise
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, January 5, 2017

US Army Corps keeps oil pipelines in streamlined permitting rule over protests
Platts, January 5, 2017

Will Obama’s offshore drilling ban be Trumped?
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Patrick Parenteau, January 5, 2017

 

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Morning Headlamp — Alaska sucks?

January 5, 2017 | Posted in : News

The loser state. According to a Forbes’ report on the Best States for Business, Alaska ranks 47th. Craig Medred took offense to being ranked next to West Virginia, but understands how Forbes got to their conclusion. According to Medred, “The 49th state continues to face a revenue shortfall of more than $3 billion per year. Gov. Bill Walker has already robbed Alaskans of half of their beloved Permanent Fund Dividends in hopes of using the money to help shore up the budget and denied oil companies tax credits that had been hoped would encourage them to up the ever declining flow of oil through the transAlaska oil pipeline. Instead the oil industry is cutting jobs, and the economy is spiraling downward.”

“Alaska’s economy is unlike any other in the U.S.,” Forbes noted. “It is estimated that the oil and gas industry is responsible for more than 80 percent of the state’s revenues…Alaska is one of only four states where gross state product is down over the past five years and the employment outlook ranks as the fourth worst in the country, according to Moody’s Analytics.

The ever-present threat of new taxes only digs this hole deeper. Alaska’s biggest industry, and employer, does not deserve the fiscal uncertainty we’ve witnessed over the past two years. Headlamp can only assume that even the slightest improvement to industry conditions would result in Alaska moving up in the rankings.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), urging it to withdraw its Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy (DRMS) for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). “First, the premises of the Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy are deeply flawed,” Murkowski wrote in her letter. “The document seeks to address conditional impacts resulting from hypothetical development and requires advanced compensation for the sustainability and enhancement of environmental conditions.”

According to a BLM report, “the intent of the DRMS is to provide a well-balanced mitigation framework that will increase consistency, predictability, and certainty for future oil and gas development, while providing for environmentally responsible development of resources within the Northeastern NPR-A,” BLM State Director Bud Cribley said. “Once the DRMS is finalized, it will be an important step towards ensuring the sustainability of natural resources in the Arctic, including important subsistence wildlife populations.” Headlamp applauds Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s continued advocacy for the industry and Alaska’s future.

Pentex Alaska Natural Gas Co. is close to changing hands for the second time in less than two years in an effort to shepherd along the struggling Interior Energy Project. The Fairbanks North Star Borough-owned Interior Gas Utility has a preliminary $58.2 million agreement in place with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to purchase the parent company to Fairbanks Natural Gas and holder of the Titan LNG plant on Point MacKenzie in Southcentral.

Holding hands in the cold. Associate in the Geopolitics and Security Unit at Polar Research and Policy Initiative Richard Clifford penned an extensive dive into US-Russian Arctic relations examining the surprising levels of cooperation between the two global powers. Clifford included a look at global economic trends in his and according to the author, “global economic trends have diminished the attractiveness of developing Arctic oil in the short term. If there is to be contestation over resources within the region, this has been postponed for the time being as cooperation in the region continues. At time of writing, oil prices are at roughly $51 per barrel. With the low oil price, OPEC states refusing to cut production and developments like US shale gas, global oil markets have been in flux for some time. Currently, the race for Arctic resources narrative is not playing out as some expected. For example, while the frequently-cited statistic is that 22% of the world’s undiscovered resources reside under the Arctic ice, much of these resources actually fall within the EEZ of states, thus giving them sovereignty over these areas.”

The midnight hour. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday that would allow Congress to more quickly overturn “last-minute” Obama administration rules, including for the energy sector. The bill is part of GOP efforts to streamline or cut regulations as Republican President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office. The House voted 238-184 to pass the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, or H.R. 21. The bill would amend the Congressional Review Act so that Congress can repeal multiple new regulations at one time. Under the CRA, lawmakers can file a disapproval resolution to undo a regulation finalized in the past 60 legislative days and prevent the government from crafting substantially similar regulations.

 

First Reads

AK, the loser state
Craig Medred, January 4, 2017

Murkowski seeks withdrawal of Alaska mitigation strategy
Daily Energy Insider, January 4, 2017

AIDEA agrees to sell Pentex to Fairbanks utility
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 4, 2017

How has cooperation in the Arctic survived Western-Russian geopolitical tension?
Arctic Now, Richard Clifford, January 4, 2017

NOAA releases plan for Alaska endangered beluga whales
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Dan Joling, January 4, 2017

House GOP kicks off new anti-reg push with passage of Midnight Rules Relief Act
SNL, Molly Christian, January 5, 2017

 

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What the media missed…again

January 4, 2017 | Posted in : News

Even though New Year’s just happened, Headlamp thinks it’s time for another celebration! Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the operator for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) announced last Friday that total oil throughput for calendar year 2016 was up nearly 2% over 2015:

  • In 2015, total throughput in TAPS was 185,582,715 barrels – an average of 508,446 barrels per day.
  • For 2016, total oil flow through the pipeline was 188,887,500 barrels – pushing the average daily production up to 517,500 barrels a day!
  • This is the first time in 14 years that production, and subsequently TAPS throughput, from Alaska’s North Slope has increased.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: 

  • Oil tax reform of 2013 (SB 21) that made Alaska more competitive and a more attractive place for companies to invest played a significant role in the production increase witnessed in 2016.
  • There’s more where that came from:
    • Armstrong’s Nanushuk prospect
    • Brooks Range’s Mustang Field
    • Caelus’ Smith Bay discovery
    • ConocoPhillips NPR-A activity
  • Each of these prospects, and several others, has the potential to continue to increase production and stem the decline.

Major media outlets reported that Tax Division Director, Ken Alper, believed that the increase wasn’t meaningful as the state was forecasting a continued decline. Likewise, many in the media, the administration and the legislature have bought into this “we will never be an oil state” again philosophy.

Headlamp strongly disagrees. The oil is there. The companies are here. Increasing production can and should be a critical component of the state’s economic plan. Don’t be too quick to close the door on the best opportunity Alaska has to end the recession it is experiencing.  More production means more revenue for the state and more jobs for Alaskans.

Congratulations to Alyeska and the producers who made it happen!

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Morning Headlamp — DNR Official Says Don’t Expect 1988 Production Levels in 2017

January 4, 2017 | Posted in : News

Following news that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System increased production in 2016 yet again, many have begun to explore possible causes and what it means for the industry in 2017. Alaska Department of Natural Resources deputy commissioner Mark Wiggin said he can’t point to a single factor behind the increase. There was a full year of production for ConocoPhillips’ first development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska at the CD5 drill site. The private company Hilcorp was also more active on the North Slope, drilling 10 wells at Milne Point. And, Wiggin said, fewer North Slope facilities were shut down for maintenance last year. However, according to Wiggin, “The uptick that we witnessed in 2016, while very positive, and it’s the direction we want it heading, surely does not suggest that we are heading back to the peak year in 1988.”

When it comes to oil prices, Alaska’s official forecast is bearish. It has oil prices for the 2017 fiscal year, which ends June 30, averaging about $47 per barrel. In fiscal year 2018 the expectation is a $54 per barrel average. On the other hand, the state’s production expectations are by nature conservative. However, the sudden expected return to declining production levels comes right on the heels of 2016 – the first year of increased North Slope oil extraction since 2002. Getting the numbers right is critical to all Alaskans. Projecting such a sharp decline in production makes the budget gap much bigger and supports the narrative of needing more revenue – AKA taxing Alaskans. 

According to Tim Bradner, independents exploring potential North Slope shale oil resources are bullish on test drilling results so far, but the companies also admit to big unknowns. Some key questions will be answered by drilling this winter in Icewine No. 2, a follow-up test to Icewine No. 1 drilled last winter. Based on modeling, but without the fracture and flow test, 88 Energy and Burgundy predicted a resource base on the companies’ leases of 1.4 billion to 3.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, although how much of this could actually be recovered is not known.

Increased fishing and hunting fees. Under H.B. 137, a small step to deal with state government’s financial problems, the Department of Fish and Game has increased license and tag fees. Resident sport fishing fees, for example, go from $24 to $29, and a new $15 Chitina dipnet fishing fee will be implemented. Non-resident fees, however, are going up the most: the grizzly bear tag is doubling to $1,000, and the muskox bull tag is doubling to $2,200. Several other non-resident tags are also doubling in cost.

The developer of the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine and the federal agency seeking to block it are asking a federal judge to halt their court battle over the project until March. Both sides say they want the court case to be put on hold so that they can pursue settlement talks. Neither, though, is ready to talk publicly about how the case might be resolved. EPA officials declined to be interviewed on Tuesday. The agency stated its position in an email: “EPA remains committed to protecting the unique and valuable Bristol Bay fishery and way of life and stands behind the process it has started to ensure protection of the watershed,” it said. “The agency remains confident regarding the outcome of the litigation, but is open to alternatives for resolving the dispute, including mediation, which the Alaska court requires parties to consider.” Headlamp isn’t confident of the EPA process. Click here to read about the corruption that exists in the EPA. 

 

First Reads

TAPS kicks off 40th year with a little more oil than expected
Alaska Public Radio News, Elizabeth Harball, January 3, 2017

Potential Oil and Gas Development in Cook Inlet, Alaska
Global Trade, Peter Buxbaum, January 3, 2017

ExxonMobil, Tillerson Reach Agreement to Comply with Conflict of Interest Requirements
Business Wire, January 3, 2017

North Slope independents bullish, but fracturing, extraction, need testing
Petroleum News, Time Bradner, January 3, 2017

Pebble, EPA want to freeze lawsuit and push settlement — until well after Trump is in office
Alaska Dispatch News, Lisa Demer, January 3, 2017

Watching prices, production, exploration in 2017
Peninsula Clarion, Elwood Brehmer, January 3, 2017

New year, new laws: 5 things Alaskans need to know
KTUU, Austin Baird, January 3, 2017

 

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Morning Headlamp — Russians are kicking our rear…

January 3, 2017 | Posted in : News

Welcome back. According to an Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) press release, the Corporation, ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips have concluded agreements that will enhance AGDC’s ability to progress an Alaska liquefied natural gas export project to commercialize Alaska’s North Slope natural gas resources. According to the agreement, “the arrangement promotes the seamless continuation of the regulatory, commercial and optimization efforts. AGDC plans on completing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pre-filing process, building upon the draft environmental and socioeconomic resource reports prepared by the parties during Pre-FEED.” Headlamp is happy to hear the recent drama-filled relationship has come to an agreement heading into the New Year.

According to an Alyeska Pipeline Service press release, the volume of oil moved through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System increased in 2016, the first calendar year-over-year increase since 2002. In 2015, the pipeline moved 185,582,715 barrels and averaged 508,446 barrels per day. The predicted total amount moved in 2016 is around 517,500 barrels a day – a 1.8 percent increase. Entering its 40th year of operations, the pipeline has mostly reported annual throughput declines since its peak flow of 2 million barrels a day in 1988. The only exceptions were slight year-to-year increases noted in 1991 and 2002.

Alaskans are eagerly anticipating the selection of a new regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, hoping that this time, an Alaskan will oversee the regional office. The position is key to how the agency is managed in the state, said John Iani, the last regional administrator to come from Alaska. “EPA is very thinly managed,” with regional administrators reporting directly to the top in Washington, Iani said. The current Region 10 administrator is Dennis McLerran, a native of Washington state. He oversees about 500 employees and a $300 million budget, according to the agency. “We’ll be putting names up,” Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said of a variety of federal agency positions, in an interview earlier this month before Congress broke for the holidays.

The Interior Gas Utility announced it’s close to signing an agreement with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to consolidate the utilities under local control and chart the course for its development for the next decade. “Right now, we have two utilities serving the broader Fairbanks community in the borough, and this agreement lays the groundwork for it to be consolidated into local control,” IGU general manager Jomo Stewart said. “It lays out the financing for that to happen, but also to expand the system for more service at a lower cost to more people.”  Headlamp would note that AIDEA paid $52 million dollars to lower the cost of energy in Fairbanks for less than 2000 people. Such attempts by government to expand and provide more energy service at lower costs have meant massive government funded subsidies in the past.  

 

First Reads

It’s Alaska’s turn for EPA regional administrator, but will Trump listen to tradition?
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, January 1, 2017

Congressional delegation decries drilling prohibition
The Arctic Sounder, December 30, 2016

While Obama Smiles About ‘The Ecosystem,’ The Russians Are Kicking Our Rear in Arctic Drilling
Independent Journal Review, Andrew Clark, December 30, 2016

Alaska oil pipeline volumes usually decrease each year. But 2016 was different.
Alaska Dispatch News, Jeannette Lee Falsey, January 1, 2017

Interior Gas Utility, Fairbanks Natural Gas close in on merger
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Matt Buxton, January 2, 2017

Alaska’s retail sector is shedding jobs after years of growth
Alaska Dispatch News, Jeannette Lee Falsey, January 2, 2017

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