Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dan Sullivan Pitching Alaskan LNG?

According to this story by Steve Levine  (LINK) Dan Sullivan is visiting China and Japan pitching the security of LNG from Alaska.  There's also another related story by Levine (LINK).

Apparently there's a 14 slide presentation he presents.  I've asked the DNR for a copy (can't find it on their website).

Quotes from the Steve Levine story:

When Dan Sullivan, Alaska's bare-knuckles natural resources chief, stands before a decisionmaker from China or Japan, he whips out a 14-slide PowerPoint and minces no words: You may be currently buying natural gas from Russia, Qatar or Australia, but take my advice. Get some security in your energy portfolio -- add Alaskan gas.
Perhaps, but Sullivan must also persuade the oil companies, which will have to spend an estimated $40 billion to develop the necessary pipeline and LNG infrastructure. Alaska's Parnell is pushing the companies for a serious draft working plan for LNG export, along with an aggressive construction timetable, by September. Given the level of planning and preparation required for such projects, a rapid effort would have the LNG facility completed in about 2019, Sullivan estimates. If the companies can promise all that, Sullivan says, the governor is prepared to put a reasonable long-term tax and royalty deal before the state Legislature for approval in its next session, which begins in January.
If true this is true then it's good news, but why isn't this story more widely reported and discussed?  I look forward to some more information on Dan's trip.  It's good to know someone is out pushing the project.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Northern Pipelines - On Hold

Low gas prices can't support Arctic gas pipelines:

First the Mackenzie Pipeline (Calgary Herald link) and quote:

CALGARY - Partners in the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline have put the $16.2-billion project on hold, slashing budgets and eliminating staff in response to continued poor price outlooks and lack of commercial support.
Imperial Oil, the lead producer in the project with a 34 per cent interest, will close offices in Norman Wells and Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, this year, and has reduced the size of its office in Inuvik, N.W.T., spokesman Jon Harding said Thursday.
Cheap shale gas that pulled down prices, and cost escalations played into the partners' decision to cut capital on the pipeline project, he said
Back in Alaska pipeline company TransCanada has asked permission to curtail work on the eastern part of the Alaska Gas Pipeline (LINK) and quote:
TransCanada has asked the commissioners of Natural Resources and Revenue to allow it to "curtail" its work on a line that would run from Alaska's North Slope into Alberta, Canada, to focus on a liquefied natural gas project, said Tony Palmer, the company's vice president for major projects development. TransCanada's piece of that project would be the pipeline.
So now there is one project with two probable phases. Alaska LNG pipeline Phase 1 (condensate to TAPS and gas Prudhoe Bay) then Phase 2 (Gas to tidewater + LNG plant).  Lots of permutations and iterations along the way, but many options are now off the table.  Expect LNG for Japan, Korea and China in about a decade.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reaction to Point Thomson Settlement

Maybe it's a case of what was said doesn't equal what people heard.  Fairbanks News Miner columnist Dermot Cole heard the part about no commitments (LINK).  The Anchorage Daily News heard (correctly) that Alaska has a deal to develop Point Thomson Gas (LINK) . The Wall Street Journal heard that "Alaska, Gas Firms Clear Way For Pipeline" And many media outletS proclaimed that Alaska and Exxon have agreed to build an LNG plant "Exxon seals deal with Alaska to develop $26b LNG plant".

If you want to know that facts I suggest you look at the documents on the Alaska DNR website (LINK).

What you will find is that one of three alternative or combinations of alternatives will play out over time:

Alternative A - Major Gas Sale : Gas to a pipeline and liquids to TAPS.  The clock is ticking to get this alternative sanctioned by 2016.  The window closes in 2019 when the producers must choose Alternative B or Alternative C.

Alternative B: Increase cycling and produce more liquids for TAPS.  Producers must do this or start losing leases.

Alternative C: Gas to Prudhoe Bay, Condensate to TAPS.   The gas flow to TAPS "Significantly increases TAPS throughput" This alternative also provides gas for in-state use.

None of these options involve a guarantee from the producers. The stated goal of the agreement is "A primary goal of this settlement is to incentivize commercialization of North Slope gas/Major Gas Sale (MGS)"

Looking at these options you can see it's a bit over the top to claim a LNG plant is in the works anytime soon. Possible - maybe, probable no. On the other hand the State and the Producers have covered all the bases, and they have done so in away that allows development of Point Thomson in a way that can boost Prudhoe Bay production in the short term and develop a gas export solution later (i.e. Alternative C first followed by Alternative A).  Alternative B looks like the worst case scenario unless you count Alternative "D" Point Thomson abandoned.

Those are the facts, but what about perceptions?  The markets are focused on the potential of Alaskan LNG entering the global mix.  Alaska's competitors will need to pencil that volume into the mix.  Alaska's potential customers can now step up and start negotiating deals.

Any of these outcomes equal revenue and jobs - Good things for Alaska.