Sunday, August 31, 2008

FERC to the Rescue?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday volunteered to help merge two competing Alaska natural gas pipeline projects into one.

High energy prices have created a free market conditions favorable to building a gas line from Alaska to supply much needed gas to develop the Albert Tar Sands.

The Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), is slated to pay State of Alaska funds to TransCanada to work towards building a gas pipeline.

Somewhere down the road one or both of the pipelines will not be built. 

FERC, not the State of Alaska, regulates pipeline development. Maybe this is a positive step to smooth the way.  Maybe not. 

The current playing field is populated by oil and gas producers (ConocoPhillips and BP - Denali Pipeline) playing by the rules, working with FERC, working within the bounds of free market economics - on the other side Governor Sarah Palin has passed new taxes on oil companies, slowed development, and passed a Pipeline law (AGIA) that shovels money to pipeline company TransCanada with no guarantees that they will build a pipeline.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pipeline Work Heats Up

Here's a news roundup on the Alaska Gas Pipeline:

Word of thanks to Senator John McCain for the 10,000+ hits my blog got yesterday, now back to the pipeline:

Carrie Tait, Financial Post

Engineering firms chase opportunity in Alaska

HIGH OIL PRICES: Fluor, other heavyweights expand in state. By WESLEY LOY

Probably the BEST new of the week:

ExxonMobil Commences Site Work at Point Thomson to Support Drilling Program

If you're looking for information on Sarah Palin, Alaska's Glam Tax & Spend Republican Governor, I suggest Andrew Halcro's site.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin Picked - Gas Pipeline Blog Swarmed

Thanks for visiting my blog today - It's a sleepy little blog that gets about a 100 hits on a big news day - I guess John McCain's announcement of running mate has something to do with today's volume.

If you are interested in Sarah Palin scroll through or search her name within the Blog. I'm Pro-Alaska and Pro-Gas Pipeline. That does not mean I agree with Palin's policies, or approach. The Alaska Gas Pipeline is a monumentally huge project and I tend to think of it as more important than hand full of personalities that get the headlines.
How will Palin's VP bid affect the Pipeline? If she wins it will take her out of the game in Alaska - that may be a good thing since her policies are Pro-Government and Anti-Free Market. Whether VP Palin could help or hurt the pipeline is something to consider.

Remember it was VP Spiro Agnew that cast the deciding vote in the U.S. Senate for the Alaska Oil Pipeline.
Pipeline issues aside - I'm flabbergasted at McCain's choice -A Republican in Name Only -'nuf said.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Buffet and Gates Visit the Oilsands

Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet visited the Canadian Tar Sands this week. Apparently they wanted a "First Hand Look".

Curious indeed. Earlier this year Buffet's Mid American Energy failed to submit a complying AGIA proposal to the State of Alaska. Mid American's CEO David Sokol said in a letter to Governor Sarah Palin "you and we alone cannot develop the pipeline project through AGIA's expected process".

So what's changed? What's Buffet's play? And why bring in Gates?

A stake in the Tar Sands at the Warren Buffet / Bill Gates level of play only makes sense if they have a long term source of energy in mind for Tar Sand Processing. Is it Alaska Gas? Nuclear? or Tar Sand Gasification?

Maybe Denali or TransCanada has a new partner.

Take the poll, multiple answers allowed -->

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mackenzie Pipeline Enjoys `Head Start'

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice says the Imperial Oil Ltd.'s Mackenzie pipeline project has cleared most regulatory hurdles and has a ``head start'' over a competing project in Alaska.

The Mackenzie pipeline capacity is about 25% of the capacity of the planned Alaska Gas Pipeline.

Calgary-based Imperial, is 70 percent-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. Other partners in the Canadian project include Exxon Mobil, Shell Canada Ltd., ConocoPhillips and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, which represents some northern native bands.

This project will compete with the both planned Alaska pipelines (TransCanada AGIA, and ConocoPhillips BP Denali) for customers, steel, engineers and craft labor. Unlike the plannned Alaska pipelines, the Mackenzie passes the "Is Exxon Happy" test.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"A Terrible Blunder"

That's what former Governor Wally Hickel says about passage of the Alaska Gas Inducement Act.

"Gov. Sarah Palin and the Alaska Legislature have decided to allocate to the TransCanada Corporation up to $500 million and the power to negotiate a deal with the North Slope producers to build an Alaska gas pipeline through Canada."

Wally suggest that Alaska build a line to the coast and ship LNG to the world - Not a bad idea, but nobody is biting.

Wally also points out "The oil producers want to use our gas to heat up the Alberta tar sands to produce crude oil, an environmental disaster in the making."

See the Alaska Gas - Tar Sand story here.

The point is that the Canada Only pipeline ties down Alaska gas for decades to come - It's easy economics, if Alaska had multiple markets it could get the best price.

Wally gets it. Too bad he's not in office now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Enbridge: The other Canadian Pipeline Company

From CNNMONEY/Dow Jones:

Enbridge Inc. (ENB) is still in talks with ConocoPhillips (COP) and BP PLC (BP) about taking part in their natural gas pipeline from Alaska, the company said Thursday, even as the state government throws its support behind a competing project.

Canada's second-biggest pipeline firm added that it wouldn't rule out participation in a broader consortium involving Alaska's major gas producers and Calgary-based rival TransCanada Corp. (TRP), which recently won the approval of Alaska's senate.

"We're still continuing discussions" with ConocoPhillips and BP, Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Varey said. "We've always seen ourselves participating in a larger consortium...We certainly see a role for us."

-By Hyun Young Lee, Dow Jones Newswires


Friday, August 15, 2008

What About the Tar Sands?

Candidate Obama's website claims he supports "Create Millions of New Green Jobs" The last bullet point is "Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline."

It's interesting to note that Alaska natural Gas is needed to develop Canadian Tar Sands .

Obama's support of the Alaska Gas Pipeline is appreciated, but does Obama also support development of Canadian Tar Sands as part of a "Green" agenda?

Also - the phrase "Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline" could mean placing the Alaska Gas Pipeline at the bottom of the list. What's wrong with saying "Build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline"?

Obama should clarify these points before he is truly listed among supporters of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Conoco and TransCanada Want Exxon To Join Gas Pipeline Effort

From CNN Money:

Conoco favors "taking ExxonMobil into the Denali project," said Brian Wenzel, Conoco's vice president of Alaska Gas Development. He added that the company would consider partnering with any other company that "provides value" to the project.

TransCanada has said Exxon's participation could be vital to its project.

ExxonMobil hasn't committed to either pipeline, although it has said it wants to participate in a project that would ship gas from the Point Thomson natural gas field on Alaska's North Slope, to the lower 48 states. The company said Thursday it wants to work with BP, Conoco, TransCanada and the Alaskan government to build a natural gas pipeline.

Exxon says they are ready "(Dow Jones)- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) said Thursday it's ready to work with the Alaskan government and three companies competing to build a natural gas pipeline in the state, even as a dispute over leases revoked in 2006 looms in the background.

From the Denali Project

It's full steam ahead for the Denali team according to Bud Fackrell, President of Denali - The Alaska Gas Pipeline LLC

"The granting of the AGIA license will not affect the Denali work program, and as long as the State ensures a level playing field, should not affect Denali's steady march toward its first major milestone, an open season by the end of 2010."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Exxon & The Alaska Gas Pipeline

Here's a good story by the Canadian media on the role of Exxon in the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline and the Alaska Gas Pipeline.

In their opinion Exxon is still a key player in the development of Arctic gas resources.

They quote TransCanada chief executive officer Hal Kvisle as saying:

"Things aren't always as they seem," Mr. Kvisle said. "Exxon is not the front-and-centre party in the press but I know for a fact that they've got very hard work going."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Alaksa Senate Votes 14-5 for TransCanada Eh?

Today the Alaska Senate voted 14-5 to award a license to build a natural gas pipeline to TransCanada.

The license includes a $500 Million (US) payment from the State of Alaska to TransCanada to help the pipeline company move forward with the multi-billion dollar project.

It's not yet a ride on the gravy train with biscuit wheels for the Canadians. They will have to contend with the Denali Pipeline.

The Denali Pipeline doesn't have $500 Million of State handout money, but they do have gas to fill their pipeline. Committed gas is needed to secure funding to build the gas pipeline.

Competing ideas for a All Alaska / All American pipeline for LNG export are off the table for the time being.

It's a big gamble. The $500 Million is actually the smallest sum at risk. The TransCanada plan could derail or delay the ultimate pipeline by years if the process lands all parties in court.

Ironically a total solar eclipse started in the Arctic today over Canada...

A sign from above perhaps?

More AGIA Perspective from Frank Murkowski

The Fairbanks News-Miner has this Op-Ed piece by Frank Murkowski

It's worth reading in these final hours before the Senate vote on AGIA