Tim Bradner

State signs AGIA license granting TransCanada $500M

Alaska officials signed a state license agreement Dec. 5 giving TransCanada Corp. access to $500 million in state funds to aid its efforts to build a $30 billion-plus natural gas pipeline from northern Alaska to Alberta.

As the license was signed, at a ceremony in Fairbanks, energy prices continued to plunge in international and North American markets. Energy analysts predicted significant oversupply of gas and low gas prices for five to six years.

Meet Alaska's corrosion cops

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Allison Iversen, coordinator of the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office, Division of Natural Resources, works from the Atwood Building in downtown Anchorage.
Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

North Slope is busy despite plunge in oil prices

Activity levels are expected to be brisk on the North Slope this winter, despite the recent plunge of oil prices to levels not seen in years. The plunge has steepened in the last two weeks, but much of this winter’s drilling and construction was planned months or even years ago, and much of it will go forward, the operating companies say.

The major operators are warning, however, that next year will be slower as companies adjust their plans to lower oil prices.

Southcentral Alaska's gas situation is grim and getting worse

Southcentral Alaska’s natural gas situation is getting grim. The large producing fields in the region are being depleted faster than expected.

While there is still plenty of gas left in producing gas fields, producing companies and utilities are concerned about the “deliverability” of the fields, or the capability of the aging wells to produce enough on cold winter days to meet peak demands.

Belts tighten on Alaska's North Slope

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A Carlile Transportation truck driver tightens a load of pipe from a storage yard at Prudhoe Bay that was headed for the Alpine Field early last year. Producers are tightening their belts as oil prices drop worldwide.
File Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

Fairbanks man receives first state ADS-B loan

The first state loan application for the equipage of new aviation technology, referred to as NexGen, has been approved and the equipment installed in a Fairbanks-based aircraft.

The Alaska Avionics Loan Program, introduced in a bill by Gov. Sarah Palin in January 2008, qualified its first applicant for the installation of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, equipment. Fairbanks resident Gary Hunt has the technology in his amphibious Lake Buccaneer aircraft.

State denies permit for Point Thomson ice road

The state of Alaska on Nov. 14 denied a key permit to ExxonMobil for an ice road needed for drilling it plans in the disputed Point Thomson gas and condensate field on the North Slope, upping the ante in a contentious dispute between leaseholders at Point Thomson and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Big jack-up rig may be heading to Cook Inlet

Pacific Energy Resources Ltd. has notified the state of Alaska that it has signed a contract for a heavy-lift vessel to move the Blake 151 jack-up rig to Cook Inlet to drill offshore exploration wells.

The company hopes to have the rig in place for the 2009 summer drilling season.

The contract for the rig was signed with Blake Offshore LLC earlier this year but getting a suitable vessel to move the rig from the Gulf of Mexico has taken the company longer than expected, said Kevin Banks, director of the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas.

Apprehension, caution among Alaska miners at meeting

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Steve DeMolen with NC machinery shows Stan Peters, a heavy equipment operator at the Donlin Creek mine, a simulator that teaches drivers how to operate the new Caterpillar M series grader.
Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

100 renewable energy projects head for final review

State officials are in the final stages of reviewing renewable energy projects eligible for $100 million in state funding and expect to make final recommendations to a legislative committee Dec. 7, state energy director Steve Haagenson told a state energy task force Nov. 10.

If the projects recommended by the Alaska Energy Authority, Haagenson’s group, are followed by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, which has authority to approve them, the $100 million will most likely be dispersed in the first quarter of 2009, according to Karsten Rodvick, spokesman for the AEA.

BP pipe rupture caused by external corrosion

A preliminary investigation into the Sept. 29 rupture of an eight-inch high-pressure pipeline on the North Slope points to external corrosion as a likely cause, BP and state officials say.

The pipe was carrying carrying gas to a Prudhoe Bay field production pad.

Allison Iverson, director of the state Petroleum Systems Intergrity Office, said BP’s initial investigation indicated the presence of external corrosion, but other factors may have also been involved.

Ten groups pay $9 million for on/offshore lease sale on North Slope

The state of Alaska auctioned off new leases on the North Slope Oct. 22, bringing bonus bids of $9.1 million into the state treasury. Some 32 offshore tracts and 60 onshore tracts brought bids from 10 different bidding groups in the sale.

The state offers acreage annually in regularly schedule areawide sales, which typically include all unleased state lands in a given region. The October sale included unleased North Slope onshore and Beaufort Sea offshore acreage within the state’s three-mile territorial limit.

Legal price-gouging going on says state attorney

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Pumping gas into his pickup truck at an Anchorage gas station Oct. 28, Bristol Beaujean, 29, pays more for gas in Alaska than his friends in the Lower 48.
Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

Despite energy turmoil, gas pipe work proceeds

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ConocoPhillips President Jim Bowles and BP’s Alaska President David Suttles discuss the Denali pipeline project at a briefing earlier this year. Work on both the Denali and the TransCanada pipeline projects are underway.
File Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

Pebble mine construction now estimated at $6 billion

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Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively and spokesman Sean McGee.
Photos/Tim Bradner, Margaret Bauman/AJOC
   

Construction costs for the proposed Pebble mine have topped $6 billion, the president of the company that would develop the project told the Alaska Support Industry Alliance Oct. 9.

Doyon Ltd. has stakes in most of Alaska's key industries

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This 2008 photo shows the Doyon Ltd. sign, with the corporation’s headquarters building in the background. Doyon is the Alaska Native regional corporation for Interior Alaska. The organization has business stakes in several of the state’s key industries.
Photo/Melissa Campbell/AJOC
   

Oil industry leaders offer update on Sakhalin work

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia - A major Sakhalin oil and gas project being led by ExxonMobil Corp. has achieved its first major goal - recovery of initial capital costs - and is now gearing up for a significant expansion.

Recovery of capital costs is a key milestone in Sakhalin I’s project agreement with the Russian government because it triggers and expansion of revenues paid to the federal government and the local Sakhalin Oblast regional government, James Taylor, president of ExxonMobil’s Russian subsidiary, said during an oil and gas conference in Sakhalin Oct. 3 and 4.

Loss of partner, political obstacles prompted BG bid drop

BG Group told Alaska legislators Feb. 2 that it had planned to submit a bid for an Alaska liquefied natural gas project in the state of Alaska’s recent solicitation for gas project proposals, but pulled back out of concerns for political risks and when a pipeline company partner pulled out of a proposed joint venture at the last minute.

Clean water initiative now before elections division

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Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has more than 60,000 signatures to review relating to a Clean Water act voter initiative.
Photo/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
   

ConocoPhillips wants fiscal agreement

ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. wants an agreement with the state on fiscal terms for a North Slope gas pipeline by February if the company is to begin preliminary field work for the project next summer, company officials said Dec. 13.

ConocoPhillips submitted a proposal to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Nov. 30 for a 48-inch pipeline built from Alaska to Alberta. The proposal was made outside the state’s formal solicitation for pipeline proposals. Alaska received five proposals under its solicitation.

Officials with the Palin administration did not return calls.

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