Thursday, October 30, 2008

TransCanada Financials Part II

Looks like project funding problems at TransCanada have intensified. See Part I here.

Here's a link to the story on Andrew Halcro's blog:

TransCanada Corp. said it could delay parts of its multibillion-dollar Keystone oil pipeline expansion if its oilsands customers, dogged by the credit crisis, want to hold off on shipping additional crude oil to the Gulf Coast. (Canwest News Service; Financial Post
Published:Wednesday, October 29, 2008)

Did Palin get a pipeline for Alaska?

Kay Cashman, publisher and executive editor of Petroleum News says Palin came close (LINK):

I say she has come closer than any other governor to making a pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to market a reality. In her first two years in office, two major North Slope oil producers, BP and ConocoPhillips, decided to build their own gas pipeline without any up front guarantee of fiscal concessions from the state of Alaska.

Trans-Canada, a major North American pipeline company, was right behind them with $500 million in state matching funds that would either result in a completed pipeline or a valuable certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would belong to the state if Trans-Canada pulled out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ted Stevens - Guilty

It's a bad day for Ted Stevens, a bad day for Alaska and a bad day for the Alaska Gas Pipeline. We'll know in a week whether or not this cost him the election. (LINK).

After the election we can ponder the impacts on the Alaska Gas Pipeline project - there's too many variables in the equation right now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Palin’s Pipeline Claims Prompt Media Investigation of Alaska Gas Pipeline

And the results aren't pretty.

Most of the facts are old news to Alaska Gas Pipeline project news followers, but Justin Pritchard and Garance Burke of the Associated Press have put Palin's boasting in context (LINK).

In interviews and a review of records, the AP found:

_Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group — the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas.

_Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.

_The leader of Palin's pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman's former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada's lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal, interacting with legislators in the weeks before the vote to grant TransCanada the contract. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin's pipeline team.

_Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.

ConocoPhillips Cautious in '09

As oil and gas prices plummet keep a sharp eye out for the first cracks in the plans of Alaska Gas Pipeline producers and potential builders. Last week we heard that financially strong ExxonMobil is holding steady with it's capital investment plans. This week we're see some signs of potential weakness in Denali Pipeline partner ConocoPhillips.

According to Brett Clanton of the Houston Chronicle:

ConocoPhillips "will not be as aggressive" with drilling in North America and will probably keep its capital spending budget flat in 2009 amid continued volatility in the commodity and credit markets, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday.

The temporary pullback in the lower 48 U.S. states and Canada would result only in delays, not cancellations, of projects and would be part of a broader effort by ConocoPhillips to watch costs and prioritize spending, Chairman and Chief Executive James Mulva said in a conference call after release of the company’s third-quarter earnings report.

"Until we see more certainty or probability, I think our concentration is to live within our means," he said. (MORE)
ConocoPhillips third quarter earnings call was silent on the progress of the Denali Pipeline or the overall outlook for Alaska Gas production and utilization (transcript link, presentation link).

What are your thoughts on the impact of recent financial events on the Alaska Gas Pipeline project? Check out the new poll, multiple answers are allowed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exxon chief says capital spending still on track

From Bloomberg News (LINK)

Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said the company’s capital spending program hasn’t been scaled back by the drop in crude-oil prices. “Nothing that we had in our plans has been affected by this change in prices,” Tillerson told reporters today at an American Petroleum Institute meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.
ConocoPhillips and Chevron will announce capital spending plans later this year.

This is good news for the Point Thomson project which will eventually produce gas for the Alaska Gas Pipeline. Point Thomson holds nearly one-fourth of the North Slope's 35 trillion cubic feet of known reserves (Link to Point Thomson Lawsuit story).

We look forward to some positive indication from ConocoPhillips and BP - builders of the Denali gas pipeline.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Gazprom eyes role in Denali pipeline project in Alaska
By Steve Gelsi (LINK)

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Officials from Russian energy giant Gazprom on Tuesday reiterated interest in taking part in a pipeline project to transport natural gas from Alaska to the U.S. market, according to published reports. In a recent visit to Alaska, the world's largest gas producer discussed gas production, transport and supply with counterparts in the U.S., including ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva. ConocoPhillips and BPhave proposed the $30 billion Denali pipeline project to connect natural gas fields in the North Slope of Alaska to the lower 48 states
From Reuters (LINK)
"Gazprom has accumulated great experience in exploring hydrocarbon deposits, building and using gas pipelines in the Far North environment. Gazprom's experience will be relevant in realisation of similar projects in Alaska," it said in the statement, without specifying what projects were discussed.

Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller, who headed the delegation, said in June his firm wanted to join a gas pipeline project to pump the fuel from Alaska across Canada to the U.S. market and had made a proposal to oil majors BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and ConocoPhillips.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alaska Gas Pipeline - News Roundup

Here's a round up of stories that may affect the Alaska Gas Pipeline:

Dermot Cole of the NewsMiner reflects on the impact of low oil prices on teh Alaskan economy:

As oil prices continue to tank, state officials should focus on budget challenge
By Dermot Cole

What is seen Outside as the “silver lining” from the stock market collapse is bad news for the Alaska economy, which lives on oil money, much of it filtered through state and local governments.

To some extent, the silver lining applies here, at least in terms of lowering the price of gasoline and heating fuel, though the downward movement has been slower than a quart of 30-weight motor oil poured at 40 below.
Fortunately, Alaska Governor and resident oil industry expert understands the oil business, or does she?
Palin wrongly suggests Congress bans oil exports

"No. It's not 75 percent of our oil being exported," Palin said, suggesting some of Alaska's oil, in fact, may be going abroad but not that much.
"In fact," she added, "Congress is pretty strict on, um, export bans of oil and gas especially."

No Alaska oil has been exported since 2004, and little if any since 2000, according to the Energy Information Administration and the Congressional Research Service.
The trial of Ted Steven's edged forward this week. A conviction could rob Alaska of it's best leader in Washington and pave the way for a former V.P. candidate to appoint herself Senator.
Associated Press Link

Justice Department Link

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Palin's Political Career Hits An Icy Patch

Last night the facts caught up with Sarah Palin. From Reuters - "Alaska ethics probe says Palin abused her power"

Blogger Andrew Halcro broke the story months ago and the investigation validated his story.

Here's a link to the investigation report.

Assuming her Vice Presidential bid is unsuccessful she will continue to play a big role in Alaska politics and the Alaska Gas Pipeline, either as Governor for the rest of her term, or as Senator via self appointment in case Ted Steven's career falters.

What's does her future hold? Vote in the new poll on the right.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Companies spend millions mapping gas line route

By Amanda Bohman (Fairbanks NewsMiner) (LINK)

Published Saturday, October 4, 2008

FAIRBANKS — The two companies competing to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Alberta, Canada, are spending tens of millions of dollars as they continue efforts to map a route in time to start lining up customers in 2010.

Denali — The Alaska Gas Pipeline is backed by two major oil producers, BP and ConocoPhillips. TransCanada, a pipeline company based in Calgary, Alberta, is developing its gas line project in coordination with the state of Alaska. Which project prevails depends on federal regulators and market conditions years from now. Gas isn’t expected to flow before 2018.

TransCanada is doing similar work.

Tony Palmer, TransCanada’s vice president for Alaska Development, said his company has done aerial photography of the Alaska portions of the route and documented the Canadian section on special 360-degree video.

The company has hired an environmental planner for the Alaska section, Palmer said.

TransCanada also is in the midst of hiring companies to complete geotechnical and terrain mapping of the route as well as engineering and design for a gas treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay, Palmer said.

“The bulk of our field work will be completed in the spring or summer of 2009,” he said.

Palmer estimated TransCanada will have spent $84 million by 2010, when it will try to line up customers. TransCanada has agreed to conditions set by the state, which has promised to reimburse about half of that money.

Fackrell Offers More Details on Denali Pipeline Project

By Tim Bradner (LINK)
Alaska Journal of Commerce

Denali Pipeline President Bud Fackrell gave additional details on the company's gas pipeline planning effort at the Alaska Oil and Gas Symposium in Anchorage Sept. 23.

Fackrell said that most of the chilled pipeline would be buried, while other segments would be built above-ground through earthquake-prone areas and major river crossing. The gas pipeline will be placed on vertical support members similar to the procedure used for the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

The company in 2009 will also begin studies of long-term in-state gas needs and will ramp up training initiatives, he said. The in-state needs assessment is required by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Alaska groups like the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority and Enstar Natural Gas Co. are working on ways of getting North Slope gas to consumers in the state, he said.

Denali is focused on the big pipeline, but the company intends to work closely with these groups. Fackrell said Denali has established five take-off points for gas within Alaska and is setting up a special engineering team to work with groups like ANGDA and Enstar, which want to take gas from the pipeline.

Friday, October 3, 2008

TransCanada Alaska Project on Despite Natgas Price

By Frank Pingue (LINK)

TORONTO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday the slide in natural gas prices does not dampen the outlook for its proposed Alaska gas pipeline, which would deliver natural gas to U.S. markets from Alaska's North Slope.
TransCanada Chief Executive Hal Kvisle told reporters after a Toronto speech that natural gas prices often hit their lowest level of the year around September and October before turning around during the winter months.

"The commodity price is always a big concern and a big risk on a project like (Alaska) but I still don't think we're in an environment of falling natural gas prices," said Kvisle. "The real comparison is what was the bottom in the gas market this year versus what it was a year ago, and we're actually up a bit over a year ago."

The price of natural gas fell as low as $7.43 on Thursday, which is off considerably from the $13.69 reached in July, but comfortably above the 2007 low of $5.19 touched in September.

In August, TransCanada won approval from Alaskan lawmakers to construct a 1,700-mile (2,700-km) line to an existing pipeline hub in Canada that would send about 4 billion cubic feet of Alaska natural gas a day to U.S. markets.