Saturday, March 22, 2014

SB 138 Flowchart

Good graphic explaining the SB 138 path forward.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014


 Ding Dong AGIA is dead. Any predictions on the degree of State participation?  I'm guessing an eighth or more.  An eighth would equal $7.5 billion which should be a manageable figure for the state.

Why this is Good:

1. AGIA may have worked in a shale gas free world,but it was absolutely doomed after shale gas gathered momentum in the lower 48.

2. State participation gives the project better financing  options and terms.

3.  Alignment - State interest are better served as partners.

4.  Revenue - as an investor the State stands to receive a return on the investment.

5. Agreements are forthcoming - I have to assume the Governor wouldn't make this announcement unless the grand deal was about to signed.

6.  A Flat Gross Tax on gas sounds like fiscal certainty at long last?

What would make this better:

1. LNG Buyer participation - nothing says that won't happen, but LNG customer participation could strengthen the project. 

What could go wrong:

1. Just about anything and everything can go wrong at this stage.  The problem with grand deals is that somebody or group will feel left out or abused by the deal, then the lawsuit phase of the project begins.  I hope the project survives that stage but hang on to your hat.

Good luck Governor, this is a big step in the right direction.

Press Release from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (LINK), text:

January 10, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced that the State of Alaska will pursue becoming an equity partner in the Alaska LNG project. The governor also announced the state will terminate its involvement with TransCanada as its licensee under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), and partner with the company in a more traditional commercial agreement.

“For the first time in our state’s history, the framework is in place to build an all-Alaska gasline on Alaska’s terms and in Alaskans’ interests,” Governor Parnell said. “We have all the necessary parties to make an Alaska gasline project go - three producers, a pre-eminent pipeline builder, an entity in AGDC that can carry Alaskans’ interests, and state agencies responsible for the royalties and taxes.”
The governor stated he soon expects a commercial agreement, known as a Heads of Agreement, for the Alaska LNG project. The agreement is anticipated to be signed by Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips, TransCanada, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), and by the commissioners of the Departments of Revenue and Natural Resources. The Heads of Agreement will be subject to public review by the Legislature.

“As a partner in the gasline project, Alaska will control its own destiny,” Governor Parnell said. “Ownership ensures we either pay ourselves for project services, or negotiate and ensure the lowest possible costs. As a partner, Alaskans stand to gain more.”

Governor Parnell also intends to introduce legislation addressing how the state will manage its gas resources by authorizing the Department of Natural Resources to modify certain leases, and enter into shipping agreements to move and sell the state’s natural gas. The legislation will propose moving from a variable net tax to a flat gross tax for North Slope gas, allow certain leases to pay production taxes with gas, and enable the Departments of Revenue and Natural Resources to manage the state’s gas revenues.

“While most Alaskans have seen past efforts to develop a large gas project falter for various reasons, this time is different,” Governor Parnell added. “AGDC is our ‘ace in the hole,’ meaning we can still opt for the smaller volume ASAP project.”


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stand Off ? Game Over ?

Interesting news - Obviously the AGIA project team of TransCanada and ExxonMobil will need to agree to abandon AGIA for new undisclosed agreement and project structure.

If TransCanada and the North Slope producers assemble a new project structure will the new project include an equity position for the state? And what about the Japanese (JBIC & REI) I'd like to think customers with money to invest would have a role on the project.

There are a lot of moving parts here and the state of Alaska and the producers have spent years and millions of dollars with very little to show for their efforts.  The clock is ticking down and I see Governor Sean Parnell losing the game in the last second.

The first big loss happened on Sarah Palin's watch - The gas line was almost a reality when North American shale gas burst upon the scene.  North Slope producer ExxonMobil bet big on shale gas ($40billion) and bought XTO.  Fractional term Governor Palin's introduction of AGIA burned valuable time off the clock and the win went to gas investments elsewhere.

The full impact of shale gas was not immediately apparent and it took some years for the overland Alaska gasline to morph into an all-Alaska gasline feeding an LNG export terminal.

Along the way fate dealt Japan a cruel hand in the form of a devastating earthquake which also destroyed nuclear plants at Fukushima.  The magnitude of the Fukushima disaster resulted in the closing of all nuclear plants in Japan and a dramatic uptick in Japan's need for imported energy including LNG.

Somehow the state skillfully avoided the obvious and failed to engage with Alaska's long term LNG customer to strike a deal.

Meanwhile cheap shale gas in Texas and Louisiana prompted many Gulf of Mexico LNG import terminals to invest in LNG export projects.  Soon, the first loads of GOM LNG will hit the market.  A portion of those sales will go to Japan.  Again other projects are getting built while Alaska make no progress.

The losses keep piling up. Maybe Governor Parnell knows what he's doing but the producers have hundreds of competing projects with known variables competing for their investment dollars.  In fairness to the Governor he did win the battle of Point Thomson so I have some level of faith in his abilities.

Other opportunities exist (state equity position, and low interest customer government backed financing).  Again Alaska is avoiding the win or ignoring the clock, either way investment dollars are poised to go elsewhere.

The clock is ticking, and oh by the way interest rates are heading up. Spoiler Alert Governor Parnell - interest rates will kill the gas line for decades unless the grand bargain is reached in 2014.