Sen. Giessel Reports on Energy Council Meetings
Following her attendance at last week’s Energy Council meetings in Washington, DC, Senator Cathy Giessel released the following statement:
“Alaska is a world class resource province, competing in a global market. Alaska Legislators participated in an international meeting on topics related to energy economics and production, doing their part to assure that they have the best and most current information. The Energy Council meeting was so important that a representative of the Chinese government, whose intentions must be taken seriously, attended the meetings.
“Energy Council was an opportunity to confer with officials from other oil and gas producing provinces from around the world and to meet, face-to-face, with our US Congressional delegation and government agencies. Visits to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were invaluable for establishing relationships and sharing our concerns. And we heard from regulators about the requirements our projects must meet and what hurdles we must overcome.
“Personally, I participated in meetings with FERC commissioners and staff, the US Interior Department, and our Senators and Representative. The information shared and discussion of questions was invaluable and informative. Informally, I talked with people from Alberta, Kansas, North Dakota and Mississippi about prospects and issues in their areas.
“Some say that Alaska is a resource extraction state. I urge us to soberly consider that the TransAlaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is 2/3 empty right now. Senator Lisa Murkowski points out that the North Slope (NPR-A, OCS and ANWR) contains enough oil to replace
Persian Gulf imports for the next 65 years…if we could begin accessing them.
“New players in the Alaska oil patch believe there are trillions of barrels of oil equivalent still on the North Slope yet to be recovered. Much of this must be developed by unconventional means, such as fracking. Fracking has made the headlines in the Lower 48 states, as those areas develop their unconventional gas and oil plays. Alaska Legislators must be informed about these issues. The last session of the Energy Council meetings was a presentation on fracking techniques and related issues.
“On March 7, Tokyo Gas cosigned a contract to buy an average of 160 mcf of gas per day for 20 years from unconventional gas sources in Australia. In Alaska, the Conoco-Phillips/Marathon LNG export facility in Kenai is closing, having lost an export contract with Tokyo because they could not guarantee more than two years in a contract.
“The world economic and industrial balance is in flux. Alaska cannot isolate herself and expect to be competitive The Alaska Legislature would be remiss if we did not attend Energy Council.
“We have no control over when Energy Council meets for their spring meeting. Personally, I will be attending several other Energy Council meetings this coming year, but that won’t make the headlines. I understand the public’s concern with the Legislature going into a “holding pattern” during the first week of March. I would add those missed days onto the session time in April, were I able. But I’m not in charge so it is what it is. I can say that attending Energy Council has given depth to my understanding of worldwide issues and personal contact with many US and Canadian officials with whom we must collaborate in pursuit of a prosperous future for our state.
“Energy Council will be meeting in Anchorage during the last week of this coming September. This would be a great time for Alaskans to hear the discussion.”