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Lawmakers Struggle With OCS Complexity

Commentary and Report

by Dave Harbour

Alaska Senate Resource Co-chairmen, Senators Bill Wielechowski and Lesil McGuire (NGP Photo) Bill%20Wielechowski%20and%20Lesil%20McGuire%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-30.jpgpresided over a full house at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office yesterday (9-21-10), dealing with the infinitely complex subject of Arctic oil spill preparation and response.  They approached the potentially controversial and divisive challenge with tact and courtesy.  Consequently, the invited witnesses seemed cooperative.  While appearances can be deceiving, one could observe a consensus Lesil%20McGuire%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-16.jpgthat nowhere in the world are oil and gas industry contingencies better anticipated than in the North American Arctic, though, as in all human endeavor constant improvement is both possible and desired.

Wielechowski opened by observing that his goal for the hearing was to, avoidBill%20Wielechowski%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-21.jpg controversy and asses Alaska's OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) oil and gas exploration and development with the needs of both the nation and the state in mind.  He said that while -- in contrast to deep water Gulf of Mexico (GOM) operations -- Alaska's OCS is primarily focused on shallow water prospects, unlike the GOM, Alaska has ice and other peculiar challenges affecting mammals, humans and the general environment.  "We want to do it right," he said, and noted OCS activity is critical to Alaska's Marilyn%20Crockett%20-crop-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-10%20026.jpgeconomic health.

McGuire stressed the importance of conducting a credible, balanced and informal process for the hearing.

Alaska Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Marilyn Crockett (NGP Photo) David%20Guttenberg%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-10%20020.jpgsaid that, "Industry capabilities and requirements is an appropriate first step," in approaching the subject, observing that, "Alaska takes the lead in oil spill and clean up response."   Representative David Guttenberg (NGP Photo) expressed concern with the history of spills and noted that, "successful outcomes is what we're looking for."

Becky Silves (NGP Photo-lower left) serves as the Alaska Emergency Response Coordinator for ConocoPhillips (HSE Alaska Drills and Training Coordinator).  She stressed the importance of satellite tracking capability and that before the first exploration well is drilled in Becky%20Silves%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%209-21-13.jpg2012 or 2013 ( or later) that, "Oil spill recovery equipment will be available on-site to provide for immediate response in the event of a spill."  When Wielechowski questioned her about spill response in winter, Arctic conditions, Silves noted that while there are challenges associated with oil recovery in icy water, the industry had about a decade to prepare for year-round development.  She said that before development could occur, exploration would proceed only on, "open water" and only during the warm months when ice is not present.

...much more coming later today, from your one man band...Pete Slaiby, Craig Johnson, Jeff Short, Lois Epstein, Nancy Wainwright, Harold Curran, Mike Munger, Mark Swanson, Larry Dietrick, Larry Hartig, Dan Seamount, Cathy Foerster, Kevin Banks.  (Note: We always urge readers to offer additions/corrections to our stories.  This distinguishes us from mainstream media.  While we sometimes opine, we love the facts and urge everyone to help keep us focused on accurate reporting.  -dh)

Yesterday.  Those trying to develop Alaska's vast natural gas reserves, both forBryan%20Butcher%20-left%20profile-%207-1-10%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%20099.jpg local consumption and David%20MacDowell%204-4-02%20-cu-%20by%20Dave%20Harbour.JPGexport, told the state's business leaders Tuesday that the state is on track, or multiple tracks, to get a natural gas pipeline.  Two big pipeline efforts are underway, seeking to build a 48-inch-wide pipeline through Canada, to feed gas into the U.S. Midwest, an industry panel told the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce convention Tuesday. ... Denali's Dave MacDowell (NGP Photo-l) said the company has spent $150 million developing a pipeline plan, and is now out seeking bids from customers who want to ship gas through that line in a process called "open season."  ...   The state-sponsored Alaska Natural Gas Development Corp. is studying a "bullet line," a small diameter line that would be somewhat cheaper to build but would not provide enough gas for export.  "What happens if those big pipes are delayed? There needs to be a backup plan," said Bryan Butcher (NGP Photo-r), the venture's vice president for public affairs. ... Federal Pipeline Larry_Persily_by_Dave_Harbour_11-19-10%2088x110.jpgCoordinator Larry Persily (NPG Photo-l, below) said the bullet line could provide neither the cheap energy nor the revenue to the state that the Denali and TransCanada plans may be able to.  "This is why you shouldn't give up on the big pipe," he said. ...  Persily said that contrary to some opponents' statements, there is a strong market for Alaska's gas in North America, a stronger market than the export market for liquefied natural gas.   Juneau Empire by Pat Forgey.

DAN%20SULLIVAN%20-%20STRAIGHT%20-%204-8-10%20-%20GOOD_NEWS_GREAT_KIDS%20-%20Copyright%202010%20Dave%20Harbour%20-%20118%204-8-2010%20.jpgToday.  Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan's (NGP Photo) Energy Task Force Meeting: will include a review and updating of the Energy Transition Report created a year ago.

Tonight.  WE URGE ALL ANCHORAGE-BASED NGP READERS TO GO HERE AFTER DINNER TONIGHT: The Future of Offshore Drilling in Alaska: The Risk/Reward Balance. The forum will be at UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium on Wednesday, September 22nd, 7-9pm.  The International Association of Energy Economists are sponsoring the event and say the purpose of the forum will be to present a variety of perspectives to the public, and to conduct a deliberative discussion surrounding the benefits and risks of Arctic drilling within the contexts of the following:

· addressing oil spills in an ice environment, · risk mitigation (prevention, paying for spill damages) and · benefits of Alaska offshore development. The panel includes David Ramseur, Chief of Staff to Senator Mark Begich, Mayor Edward Itta, North Slope Borough, Pete Slaiby, General Manager, Shell Oil Alaska Co. and John Schoen, Senior Scientist, Alaska Audubon Society. The panel will be moderated by Michael Carey, host of APRN's Anchorage Edition, Running and guest columnist for the Anchorage Daily News. Look forward to seeing you there.  Next week.  6th Annual Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.  Conference co-chairs: Dave Harbour, Publisher, Northern Gas Pipelines and Margaret Brown, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cook Inlet Region Incorporated • Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator, Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects ... Alaska Gas Pipeline ü Key insights from the Joint In-State Gas line Development Team on in-state gas development ü Global natural gas supply/demand trends and impact on Arctic gas ü How the state of Alaska is expediting the ... Latest News - http://www.prlog.org/page1.html

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