Today’s Key Takeaways: Alyeska Pipeline report embraces transparency, highlights “overall positive work.” Pantheon Resources hails ‘big deal’ as independent report suggests huge Alaska field. WSJ claims Asian buyers “uninterested” in AKLNG while Asian buyers are in Alaska checking out the project. U.S. immigrant labor force grew 9.5%.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Trans-Alaska Pipeline System operator report examines its work on environment, social issues
Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon, August 29, 2023
An inaugural environmental, social and governance report issued by the operator of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System summarizes what the company said was overall positive work “as caretaker, steward, and operator” of the 800-mile oil line and its Valdez marine terminal.
The 19-page report, released last week by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., covers a wide variety of metrics from 2022, the system’s 45th year of operation. Subjects covered include greenhouse gas emissions from operating the system, which are trending down; notable repair and maintenance projects; freshwater use; Alaska Native hire and employee diversity; and worker injuries, which increased somewhat in 2021 and 2022 after falling substantially over the past two decades.
The report is planned as the first in a series of annual ESG reports, said Michelle Egan, Alyeska’s chief communications officer.
Alyeska has been issuing external and internal reports for years on specific aspects of its operations, and this ESG report is intended to combine that information, Egan said.
“Our view was we should pull this all into one publicly available report and we should follow a framework that people are familiar with,” she said.
Pantheon Resources hails ‘big deal’ as independent report suggests huge Alaska field
Phillip Whiterow, Proactive, August 29, 2023
“It is very rare to see certified resources of this size.”
Pantheon Resources PLC (AIM:PANR, OTCQX:PTHRF) said an independent report has estimated almost one billion barrels of oil at its Kodiak project, formerly known as Theta West, in Alaska.
Netherland, Sewell & Associates (NSAI) carried out the assessment with 2C or mean average contingent resources estimated at 962.5 million barrels, a low estimate of 437.8 million and 2.01 billion in a best-case scenario.
Jay Cheatham, Pantheon’s chief executive, said: “This really is a big deal. A credible third-party estimate of nearly one billion barrels of recoverable liquids for a company the size of Pantheon is an incredible achievement, validating our geological model.”
Pantheon said the estimates are also of material value as the fluids identified can be blended and underpin the development plans for the Kodiak project, which will involve the development of leases totaling some 126,000 acres.
Pantheon plans to drill the next Kodiak appraisal well in recently acquired leases some five miles northwest of Theta West-1.
Bob Rosenthal, Pantheon’s technical director, added: “For perspective, it is very rare to see certified resources of this size, particularly onshore and near to infrastructure.
“NSAI’s evaluation of Kodiak is a transformational milestone on the path to commercialization. I remind shareholders that this report on Kodiak only covers the Lower Basin Floor Fan, based on three wells and our proprietary 3-D seismic data set.”
David Hobbs, Pantheon’s executive chairman, noted that NSAI conducted an intensive review of the data, adding: “We remain on track to meet our strategic goal of delivering sustainable market recognition of $5 – $10 per barrel of recoverable resources.”
NSAI has now been commissioned to complete a similar report on the Alkaid horizon at the Ahpun project, with expected completion in the final quarter of this year.
AK LNG optimism endures while overseas market cools
Riley Board, KDLL, August 28, 2023
The long-sought Alaska Liquified Natural Gas project got a boost when Russia invaded Ukraine.
The project would bring natural gas from the North Slope down an 800-mile pipeline to Nikiski, where it would be liquefied, then shipped to Japan and South Korea. Versions of the project have been discussed for decades, but a huge price tag means work hasn’t really moved forward.
Alaska officials promote the pipeline as a way for the U.S. Asian allies to end their dependence on Russian natural gas, and enthusiasm rose in 2022.
Last month, it took a hit; a July Wall Street Journal article reported that those potential buyers in Asia just aren’t interested in Alaska’s LNG, and think the project’s long timeline and lack of investment won’t work for them.
Prominent Alaska politicians have remained optimistic.
Earlier this month, during a visit to the Kenai Peninsula, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said the project continues to remain an opportunity, but she recognized the obstacles.
“It is not a project without challenges, we acknowledge that. It is huge, it is significant. Not only from a cost perspective, but really from the volume of gas that would be made available,” she said. “So you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got that market there. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now in the energy markets.”
Murkowski said for 40 years, Alaska supplied LNG to Japan, which shows a history of a strong energy relationship. And she said Alaska continues to have a strategic advantage.
“We do it in a shorter route than anywhere else in the country, and we do it with no choke points,” she said. “So there are so many advantages that the Alaska LNG project holds.”
In May, Gov. Mike Dunleavy brought energy leaders together in Anchorage to discuss the project, where U.S. ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel said the project could offer energy stability in Asia and create jobs in Alaska. Murkowski’s fellow Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan was also there, and said the state is well-positioned to provide natural gas internationally.
U.S. LNG Exports to Take Center Stage At G7 Meeting
Alex Kimani, OilPrice.Com, August 29, 2023
- U.S. House Speaker McCarthy looks to promote U.S. LNG during the upcoming G7 meeting.
- Last year, U.S. LNG exports to Europe jumped 140%Y/Y to 56 billion cubic meters (bcm) as Europe ditched Russian gas.
- Interestingly, both European and U.S. benchmark natural gas prices have been rising recently despite Europe’s gas stores being nearly full.
Immigrants are rescuing a worker-starved U.S. economy
Felix Salmon, Axios, August 29, 2023
Immigrants are joining the U.S. workforce at much higher levels than normal.
- They’re likely to account for roughly half a million new jobs over the next three quarters, per a new report from Goldman Sachs.
Why it matters: As the U.S. continues to struggle with a historically-tight labor market, immigrants are coming to the rescue of desperate employers — while also creating new jobs themselves.
By the numbers: Between the pre-pandemic month of January 2020 and July 2023, the immigrant labor force grew by 9.5%. That compares to a tiny 1.5% growth rate among the native-born.
Between the lines: The foreign-born labor force is growing for three main reasons.
- Immigration: The rate at which the U.S. is giving out visas — both temporary work visas and permanent green cards — has risen by about 335,000 workers per year over the past 12 months, to a level near record highs. That’s partly because the government has successfully begun to clear the backlog of more than 500,000 visa applications that built up over the course of the pandemic.
- Participation: More of those immigrants are working. The foreign-born labor force participation rate has jumped by 2.3 percentage points to 67% over the past two years. By contrast, the native-born rate has risen by a meagre 0.4 points, to 62.2%.
- Demographics: The great retirement of the Boomer generation is taking place mainly among the native-born — most immigrant workers aren’t yet facing retirement. As a result, millions of new native-born workers need to enter the workforce every year just to keep the total native-born labor force constant, let alone growing.
What they’re saying: “The foreign-born labor force has made a disproportionate contribution to reducing the jobs-workers gap,” writes Goldman economist Tim Krupa.
- In normal times, he calculates, the unemployment rate holds steady when employment grows at about 75,000 workers per month. Thanks to immigrants, however, the U.S. can currently absorb some 125,000 new jobs per month without driving unemployment even lower.
The bottom line: Immigrants: We get the job done.