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2-17-12 - House Majority Passes ANWR - House Minority Attacks LNG Exports


Here is how to order Cindy Roberts' (NGP Photo) new gas pipeline book, Cracking the Code 2012: A Citizen's Guide to the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Discussion.

HOUSE MAJORITY.  Yesterday the Full House of Representatives passed H.R. 3408, with a bipartisan vote of 237-187.  The legislation is a bipartisan plan to expand offshore energy production, open less than three percent of ANWR for oil and natural gas production, encourage the development of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil shale in the Rocky Mountain West, and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  The plan will create over 1.2 million jobs, raise over $4.3 billion in new federal revenues, help lower gasoline prices and strengthen our national and economic security.

HOUSE MINORITY.  Press Action.  The movement to stop the export of domestically produced natural gas in the United States continues to gain momentum, as Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced two pieces of legislation this week that would limit the ability of companies to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

(Commentary: As Alaska seeks to impose more and more tax and regulatory controls on the oil industry -- and consider direct ownership of pipelines and hydroelectric dams -- we draw attention to this new study released this week.  Thanks to reader, A.T. for this link.  -dh)  Stanford University News by Mark Golden.  To maintain power, oil-rich governments often lean on their national oil companies in ways that hurt the environment, damage their companies' efficiency and raise prices for the rest of the world, according to Stanford University researcher Mark Thurber.  The state-owned oil companies, like Saudi Aramco, Petróleos de Venezuela and China National Petroleum Corp., control 73 percent of the world's oil reserves, dwarfing the ExxonMobils of the world.  Beyond just producing profits for their central governments, the national oil companies (known as NOCs) are often saddled with tasks such as heavily subsidizing domestic energy consumption and employing thousands of unneeded workers with good political connections.  "You might think that the NOCs would be good for the environment because they are partly the cause of today's high oil prices, and high prices should lead to less consumption and less pollution, but that isn't the case," said Thurber, co-editor of, and contributor to, the new bookOil and Governance: State-Owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply  (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Fairbanks News Miner by Matt Buxton.  Less than two months after the Borough Assembly signed off on a study on building a natural gas distribution network in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, assemblymembers heard preliminary results during a work session Thursday night.

Eureka Alert (12/16/12) reports: Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to reports of groundwater contamination, based on evidence reviewed in a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin…The study, released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, found that many problems ascribed to hydraulic fracturing are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations, such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.
The Hill (12/16/12) reports: Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday he is confident the federal government will lose less money on the Energy Department’s loan program than a recent analysis predicted…The analysis, which was mandated by the White House in the aftermath of the Solyndra collapse, estimated that the federal government could lose up to $3 billion from the loan program…“I would be very surprised if we lost that,” Chu told reporters Thursday after testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on his department’s budget blueprint.

 The Hill: Opponents of Keystone pipeline are threatening US jobs (op-ed) - Democrats have launched their latest attack on export-led job creation, this time piggybacking on anti-oil sentiment to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would bring crude from the vast oil sands deposits in Canada to American refineries along the Gulf, creating thousands of private sector jobs.

Bloomberg: Keystone Pipeline Bill Passes House, Lacks Match in U.S. Senate - Legislation that would force U.S. approval of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline and open Atlantic waters to offshore drilling passed the House, a measure that the Senate doesn’t plan to consider. The bill, approved 237-187 yesterday, would strip President Barack Obama’s authority to decide on TransCanada’s $7 billion project and give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 30 days to approve the pipeline after it’s deemed safe.
Oil rose for a third day as signs of an improving U.S. economy and progress on a bailout for Greece bolstered the outlook for fuel demand. Futures increased as much as 0.6 percent and are poised for the biggest weekly gain this year after U.S. jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since 2008.
Politico: Republicans pounce as gas prices climb - Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops.  It’s a familiar refrain: Once again, GOP lawmakers and conservative commentators are on the attack, blaming President Barack Obama for higher prices at the pump. And they’re promoting a “drill, baby drill” agenda as the answer.
The Houston ChronicleOpening U.S. resources would boost job market (op-ed) - During the State of the Union - just moments after promising to "double down" on his commitment to clean energy - the president threw a bone to the oil and natural gas industry. "We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration," said Obama. "And tonight, I'm directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources."
Fox Business: Politics at the Pump (op-ed) - Five dollars. Get used to seeing that number because that’s how much a regular gallon of gas may soon cost. I'm not talking years from now. I'm talking weeks. Experts already expect prices to hit the four dollar mark, and then exceed it sometime this summer, or even as early as Memorial Day weekend.
Washington Post: Will high oil prices hurt the recovery- or help it? (op-ed) - These days, the U.S. economy’s looking rosier, with one exception: oil. Crude prices are ticking past $100 per barrel — thanks, in part, to tensions with Iran — and gasoline remains pricey. That, in turn, could imperil the recovery. But let’s see how this might happen. The conventional story is this: If U.S. consumers are spending more on gasoline, all that money gets spirited to overseas producers.
AP: Oil continues its rise, threatening U.S. growth - The price of oil has surged 12 percent the past six weeks, pushed up by tensions with Iran, a cold snap in Europe and rising demand from developing nations. The surge is hitting home. Oil is raising the price of gasoline for American motorists. It’s also making diesel and jet fuel costlier for shippers and travelers. That could crimp already modest growth in the economy.
AP: House passes drilling-friendly energy package - The Republican-controlled House endorsed a plan Thursday to vastly expand oil and gas drilling off the nation's coasts to help pay for a $260 billion transportation bill. The legislation has no chance of passing the Senate and faces a White House veto. But for Republicans, the 237-187 vote showed they're willing to go further to boost U.S. energy production than President Barack Obama. 
Investors.com: Obama Likes High Gasoline Prices, But Won’t Admit It (op-ed) - If gasoline prices so far are any indication, the pain at the pump will be severe this year. But if you think President Obama cares, you're wrong. If anything, he's secretly cheering it on. Already, average pump prices have topped $3.50 a gallon, leading some experts to think they could reach an all-time high of $5 by the summer.


Alaska Business Monthly news links.

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