Elwood Brehmer

Clean Air Act regulations could render Healy plant obsolete

Federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could hit particularly hard in Fairbanks according to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig.

Golden Valley Electric Association’s Healy 1 coal-fired plant could be regulated off the Railbelt power grid if the Environmental Protection Agency implements its proposed Clean Air Act carbon standards.

As is often the case, federal regulations designed to fit a Lower 48 model do not translate well to Alaska, Hartig said.

Federal judge orders EPA to halt pending Pebble action

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to block Pebble mine is on hold after a Nov. 24 federal court ruling.

U.S. Alaska District Court Judge H. Russel Holland ordered a preliminary injunction be put in place on the EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 404(c) process in the Bristol Bay region.

The ruling came immediately after oral arguments on a motion for the injunction filed by Pebble Limited Partnership in its lawsuit against the EPA.

Refurbished Port of Anchorage cost estimated at $485M

It will likely cost nearly another half a billion dollars to upgrade the Port of Anchorage according to the project managers.

The Anchorage Port Modernization Project team revealed its concept design selection to Anchorage Assembly members at a Nov. 21 work session.

“This is an out-the-door cost; it’s everything,” CH2M Hill project lead Lon Elledge told the Assembly.

Selected by Mayor Dan Sullivan and the Assembly last spring, engineering and consulting giant CH2M Hill is the latest management firm for the port construction project.

Caelus' Nuna plan to advance with lower royalty rates

Caelus Energy’s Nuna development can move forward with lower royalties on production.

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash approved a 5 percent royalty rate for five Nuna leases Oct. 29.

The 5 percent rate will remain until Caelus grosses $1.25 billion from production at Nuna, the company’s projected investment cost, according to the royalty modification application.

ConocoPhillips targeting 62,000 new barrels by 2017

ConocoPhillips’ North Slope work could add up to 62,000 barrels of oil per day to its production by late 2017, according to Alaska President Trond-Erik Johansen.

The production would come from four projects on the western Slope, where ConocoPhillips is the primary operator.

Early work to get to the reserves pushed the company’s capital investment on the North Slope to more than $1.6 billion this year, Johansen said. That’s up from just more than $1 billion in 2013.

Hearing set in state lawsuit seeking new ANWR exploration

The State of Alaska will have its day in court to push for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason granted a motion for oral argument Nov. 21 on the state’s motion for summary judgment in its case lawsuit to force the Interior Department to approve a state exploration plan for ANWR.

The hearing will be held Jan. 20 at the federal courthouse in Anchorage.

Hilcorp buys Point Mac LNG plant

Hilcorp Energy has agreed to purchase the Southcentral liquefied natural gas plant that supplies Fairbanks Natural Gas.

Fairbanks Natural Gas President and CEO Dan Britton said the prospect of the sale was spawned from discussions between the companies on how longer-term gas supplies could be secured.

Titan Alaska LNG, a partner company to Fairbanks Natural Gas under Pentex Natural Gas Co., operates the Point MacKenzie LNG plant. Britton is also president of Titan.

There is currently a gas contract in place from Hilcorp through 2018 to supply the plant.

LNG Project team ready to work with Walker

It’s full steam ahead on the Alaska LNG Project as the state prepares for a change in leadership at the capital.

ConocoPhillips Project Manager Mike Britton said more than 255 people participated in more than $30 million worth of fieldwork on the project during the 2014 season.

There are about 130 people working at offices in Anchorage, Houston and Calgary, Alberta, on the plan to export liquefied North Slope gas.

Britton is stationed in the Houston office.

“This is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash,” he said.

DOD spending down, Corps finds other work

Military construction activity continues to decline across Alaska, but work with other federal agencies should keep government contractors busy.

Overall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to have $410 million worth of work available on more than 400 projects in the state during the federal fiscal year 2015, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, according to Alaska Contracting Division Chief Chris Tew. That is about flat compared to the $416 million spent in fiscal year 2014.

Rare cargo options offered at Stevens Airport

Oh, the possibilities.

Thanks to a little two-paragraph amendment by the late Sen. Ted Stevens to the 2004 Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, the airport now named after the senator is open to more business opportunities than virtually any other hub on Earth.

What can be done at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport would be cabotage other places — a federal crime. Airport leadership prefers to describe it differently.

AIDEA sells interest in jack-up rig for $25.6 million

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority sold its stake in Kenai Offshore Ventures for $25.6 million and the Endeavour jack-up rig is on its way out of Cook Inlet, the authority announced Nov. 14.

Ezion Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiary Teras Investments approached AIDEA to purchase its share of Kenai Offshore Ventures after the joint-venture company was unable to secure long-term work for the Endeavour in the Inlet.

Port Mac rail extension needs $120M more from state

The state will need to pony up nearly $120 million to finish the Port MacKenzie rail extension to keep business opportunities alive, according to Matanuska-Susitna Borough leaders.

The borough will officially request a $119.5 million capital appropriation from the Legislature during the upcoming session.

Overall, the 32-mile rail spur from Houston to Port MacKenzie will end up costing $303.5 million, or $31 million more than the $272.5 million price tag once affixed to the project.

ConocoPhillips contracts with Nabors for new drill rig

ConocoPhillips is adding another drill rig to the North Slope.

Alaska President Trond-Erik Johansen said the producer signed a contract with Nabors Alaska Drilling Inc. on Nov. 17 to construct a coiled tubing drilling rig that will be used at the Kuparuk River Field.

The Nabors CDR3 rig should be ready to drill in late 2016, according to ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips contracts with Nabors for new rig

ConocoPhillips is adding another drill rig to the North Slope.

Alaska President Trond-Erik Johansen said the producer signed a contract with Nabors Alaska Drilling Inc. on Nov. 17 to construct a coiled tubing drilling rig that will be used at the Kuparuk River Field.

The Nabors CDR3 rig should be ready to drill in late 2016, according to ConocoPhillips.

AIDEA sells interest in jack-up rig for $25.6 million

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority sold its stake in Kenai Offshore Ventures for $25.6 million and the Endeavour jack-up rig is on its way out of Cook Inlet, the authority announced Nov. 14.

Ezion Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiary Teras Investments approached AIDEA to purchase its share of Kenai Offshore Ventures after the joint-venture company was unable to secure long-term work for the Endeavour in the Inlet.

IEP gas contract, plant cost still uncertain

Crucial elements of the state’s plan to relieve Interior residents of burdensome energy costs are up in the air less than six weeks before everything is supposed to come together.

Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority staff and their Interior Energy Project partners from MWH Global Inc. said at the Nov. 6 AIDEA board meeting that a gas supply contract should be in place by early December.

Their goal is to financially close on the project at the Dec. 16 board meeting.

DOT hones social media strategy to keep public informed

The art of social media is becoming a science.

Engaging with the public through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and smaller but growing platforms is a daily practice at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Jeremy Woodrow, a communications officer for department said social media allows DOT to respond to what would otherwise be said or wrote without the department’s knowledge.

“It’s important to be on there so we can listen to the conversation,” he said.

Alaska and British Columbia cooperate quietly on transboundary issues

Alaskans concerned with mining in transboundary watersheds often aren’t aware of the cooperation between the state and provincial governments, according to a British Columbia resource official.

“I’m not sure if there’s any elected person in the state of Alaska that really knows the extent to which we engage Alaska on northwest (British Columbia) mining projects and that’s on us. We need to do a better job,” British Columbia Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said.

Hawaii company buys Horizon Alaska operations for $456M

Matson Inc. announced Nov. 11 it has agreed to purchase Horizon Lines Inc. Alaska operations for $456.1 million.

Horizon uses three vessels to provide twice-weekly containership service to Anchorage and Kodiak and once-per-week service to Dutch Harbor from Tacoma, Wash.

Sullivan poised to knock off Begich

A replacement for Alaska’s junior senator seat appears imminent, but neither side was willing to admit it as of the morning following the general election.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” Republican candidate Dan Sullivan said as the calendar changed from Nov. 4 to Nov. 5.

Sullivan held a remarkably steady lead over incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Begich all election night. When the first round of precincts reported in shortly after 9 p.m. he had 49.4 percent of the vote to Begich’s 44.4 percent.

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