August 10, 2010

Taps for TAPS: Enviro Efforts toDeny Access to Chukchi, Beaufort, ANWR Part of a Larger, Simpler Strategy toRender Useless the Alaskan Pipeline. LATimes (8/10) reports, "In its heyday in the 1980s, the pipeline carried asmuch as 2.1 million barrels of oil a day from America’s largest oil field atPrudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez. Alaska was transformed into a petro statewith an oil savings account worth $33.3 billion. Today, however, the pipelineis carrying only about 660,000 barrels of oil a day, and production from theNorth Slope’s aging fields is set to steadily decline over the nextdecade.  What this means for thecontinued delivery of oil to the rest of the U.S. from Alaska is significant.Engineers have warned that the pipeline – the only means of delivery of NorthSlope oil – will develop potentially dangerous problems with corrosion and iceif flows drop below 500,000 barrels a day, as they are expected to within thenext five to 10 years. At 350,000 barrels a day, frost heaves could cause theunderground portions of the pipeline to dangerously wrinkle and kink. Already,oil that once took 4½ days to surge from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez now crawlsthrough in 14 days, with flow rates slowed to 2 mph. Alaska officials say thebest way out of the pipeline dilemma is to generate new production.Conservationists who have urged a slowdown in the march of oil development intothe vulnerable regions of the Arctic coastal plain and outer continental shelfconcede the problem with pipeline flows but say the oil companies are using thethreat of a pipeline shutdown to get access to more oil without paying for thescientific studies needed to do it safely.

Red All Around: Chinese RigSlated to Be Producing Oil in Cuban Waters for a Spanish Company Operated byCanadian Engineers Starting in 2011. Edmonton Sun(8/9) reports, "A Chinese-built drilling rig is expected to arrive in Cubanwaters in early 2011, likely opening the way for full-scale exploration of theisland’s untapped offshore fields. The journey to Cuba will take two months,and once it arrives it will be put into operation almost immediately, said theofficial, who asked not to be identified. It will be used first as anexploratory well for a consortium led by Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF, whichdrilled the only offshore well in Cuba in 2004 and said at the time it had foundhydrocarbons. Cuba has said it may have 20 billion barrels of oil in itsoffshore, but the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated a more modest 4.6billion barrels and 10 trillion cubic feet of gas. Repsol has been mostlysilent on the long delay in drilling more wells, but it is widely assumed inthe oil industry it was due to the longstanding U.S. trade embargo againstCuba. Repsol is said to be planning at least one exploration well and possiblyanother. The rig will then be passed to other companies with contracts to drillin Cuban waters. Cuba’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico has been divided into 59blocks, of which 17 have been contracted to companies including Repsol,Malaysia’s Petronas Brazil’s Petrobras, Venezuela’s PDVSA and PetroVietnam. 

The Story You Won’t Hear: MoreCash Paid to PA State Forests by Single Marcellus Producer Than the StateDivvies Out for Forest Conservation in 3 Years. PittsburghTribune-Review (8/10) reports, "Marcellus shale gas drilling in stateforests could pay the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Fund – an account for stateparks and conservation projects – more cash from a single energy company thanit typically collects in three years. A spokesman for Talisman Energy Inc.,which leases mineral rights on 5,700 acres in Tioga State Forest, saidyesterday that 13 Talisman wells there are producing 55 million cubic feet ofnatural gas a day. That translates to about $33,000 to $34,000 daily in royaltiesto the state fund.  At that rate,the publicly traded Warrendale company could pay $12 million a year to a fundthat previously collected $3.5 million to $4 million a year. Royalties aregrowing as wells ramp up production. A spokesman for the Department ofConservation and Natural Resources said the fund collected $680,877 inroyalties from Marcellus shale wells last month, as of July 28. That’s adramatic increase from six months earlier when the royalties totaled $98,333.In Pennsylvania, Mark Scheuerman of Talisman Energy said his company’s stateroyalty payments could increase significantly as drilling continues.  And that’s just a portion of thepotential money for the state fund. A spokesman for the Department ofConservation and Natural Resources said three other companies – Anadarko,Seneca Resource and PGE – have producing Marcellus shale wells on state landwhere they hold leases.

Why Would George Soros PumpMillions Into to Deny Private Landowners Access to Their Gas Rightsin PA, NY? Read On. Ed Laskywrites (8/9) on the AmericanThinker, "George Soros is continuing his assault on America’s shale gasindustry. His latest step is to mobilize MoveOn.Org, a so-called 527 group thathe liberally funds, to join forces with the very left-wing Working FamiliesParty of New York in an effort to stop the process of hydrofracking: a crucial, and safe, technology used to tap our nation’s abundant natural gas reserves:Why would the group focus on stopping the development of shale gas? BecauseMoveOn is following the agenda of George Soros. He wants shale gas — a vast,easily tapped resource located on-shore throughout large swaths of America –to be plugged up. This helps his big financial interest in the Brazilianpetroleum company Petrobras, the Australian-based InterOil corporation, and thebillion dollars he is pouring into "renewable" energy schemes. Sorosalso has pulled in his billionaire pals, Herbert and Marion Sandler who havefounded and funded their own media outfit, ProPublica, that is purportedly anon-partisan investigative group. ProPublica has for some odd reason focusedmuch of its efforts on disparaging the shale gas industry. There seems to be aconcerted effort among George Soros and the Sandlers and their pet groups,MoveOn.Org and ProPublica, to derail America’s most promising domestic energyresource: shale gas.

 WH Cries Crocodile Tears onUntimely Death of Carbon Criminalization – Blames GOPers Publicly, ButPrivately Tossing Greens Under the Hybrid Bus. Greenwire(8/9, subs. req’d) reports, "The White House is "deeply disappointed"that Congress hasn’t passed climate legislation but won’t give up on getting itdone this year, President Obama’s top climate and energy adviser saidyesterday. Carol Browner said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that theadministration is still holding out hope for a legislative victory on climateand energy, despite the political challenges of passing a controversial billthrough the Senate after the chamber returns from its August recess. "TheCongress is coming back. We will continue to see if we can getlegislation," she said. "We passed it in the House. We’ll continue towork in the Senate." Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) will seek a vote this week ona resolution asking Congress to agree not to pursue controversial bills likeenergy and climate during such a session. But even advocates of greenhouse gascurbs acknowledge that a lame-duck push for a climate bill will be a toughslog. "Barring a surprise, it’s going to be very hard, even in a lame-ducksession, to get 60 votes for a carbon cap," climate bill co-author Sen.Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said last week. "It’s not impossible, but it’svery hard."

 The Sun Also Sets: SolarLobbyists Won’t Get Bonuses This Year if Pelosi Public Sector Bailout BillPasses – Can’t Believe They Let a $1.5B Rescission Slip Thru.E&E News (8/9,subs. req’d) reports, "The renewable industry is stepping up calls for Congressto replace loan guarantee funding on the eve of House passage of a state aidbill partially paid for by taking $1.5 billion from the Energy Department’sstimulus program. The Solar Energy Industries Association said taking another$1.5 billion from the program on top of $2 billion that Congress rescinded lastyear would be a "terrible mistake" and "jeopardizes" $15billion to $20 billion in private investment. "A $1.5 billion rescissionwould cut the DOE loan guarantee program to the point where it would besubstantially over-subscribed and many meritorious applications would likely bedenied," wrote Daniel Adamson, vice president of government affairs forSEIA, in a letter to lawmakers. SEIA President Rhone Resch also asked PresidentObama today to restore the funding and to extend another program that providescash in lieu of tax credits for renewable energy project financing. The solarindustry’s efforts follow requests last week from wind, biomass, hydropower andgeothermal companies asking the House not to approve the program cuts.

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