Archive for the ‘alaska natural gas pipeline’ Tag

My Turn: Here’s the straight line on natural gas   Leave a comment

My Turn: Here’s the straight line on natural gas | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

In his own words.

Posted February 20, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

Tagged with , ,

Size matters – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor   Leave a comment

Size matters – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

Wow! When people comment, they should perhaps have some idea of what they’re talking about.

Natural gas is not oil. The two are very different from one another. The engineering for the pipeline is very different and the concept of “full” is also so different as to be comparing apples to oranges.

First, the TAPS is half-full not because it was built too large 35 years ago, but because environmental regulations and the long-term planning of oil companies has prevented exploration and development of new fields. The fields exist. The geologists say we have at least one more Prudhoe sized field and probably as many as three. Good luck tapping them so long as the environmentalist control the government … or until Alaska grows up and tells the federal control-freaks to go pound sand. But that won’t happen because of the long-term plans of the big oil companies who plan to use Alaska as a land bank until such time that they have exhausted the resources in the OPEC nations and then they’ll come here. By that time, Alaska should be so desperate for revenue that we’ll give our oil to them for pennies on the dollar.

Second, size does matter in the gasline. If we build the line too small now, it requires getting permitting to build a second line to augment it later. Good luck with that, given the environmental hostility to building anything in Alaska. So, we build a tiny line, we get gas to Fairbanks, Anchorage decides it wants it too and now we have little or no gas for customers at the end of the line. Container ships for LNG are large and they don’t belly up to the dock for tiny amounts of fuel nor will they hang around for that fuel to come down the pipeline. If we can’t deliver the LNG in sufficient quantities, our potential customers will not be interested. So do we cut off Alaskans who need heat and electricity or do we let the state government go into free-fall? You choose.

The primary reason for building the line smaller than 48″ has to do with the world steel supply. If we build it at 48″, we will consume all of the world’s steel supply for a two-year period (we did something similar with the TAPS). It could result in huge construction delays to build at 48″ just because of supply issues. I have heard, but not confirmed, that the only country in the world that can roll 48″ pipe is China and they’re unwilling to compromise their own steel supply for our benefit.

Building at 36″ makes a great deal sense. It’s more affordable. It doesn’t overtax the steel supply. It will meet proposed near-term instate demand and proposed foreign market demand. Building at 24″ inches, however, or the ridiculous 12″ offered, would lead to having to build another pipeline and the smaller the sooner.

But using the current low through-put of the TAPS as an argument is ridiculous because the TAPS is half-full for political reasons, not economic and certainly not because there’s no oil in the ground.

A different route for export of Alaska’s natural gas – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Community Perspectives   Leave a comment

A different route for export of Alaska’s natural gas – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Community Perspectives.

For the record, I think this is a crazy idea because it is not taking into account that the current warming trend is a natural trend. Alaska’s north coast (as Mr. Fields calls it) will be socked in with ice most of the year again — maybe not for a century or maybe in a year or two. Then Alaskans will look a lot like the Vikings who farmed southern Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period only to die of starvation in the Little Ice Age that followed.

This idea was floated as an alternative to the TransAlaska Pipeline, btw. Back then, the need for ice-breakers showed how ridiculous the idea was. Today, it’s tempting … but the climate is only temporarily warming, so ….

Let’s use our heads!

Alaska needs the gas instate and trucking is expensive. The LNG trucking project Golden Valley Electrical Association is planning will reduce my $200 a month electric bill by 6% (estimated). It will put about 50 additional trucks on the Dalton a day, but at that rate it will do nothing for my heating bill.  If they triple the number of trucks, they can heat my home at just about the price I currently pay for diesel. How does that help me? Trucking LNG is a short-term bandaid solution to the problem. Mr. Fields would know that if he didn’t live in the Anchorage Bowl where a sweetheart deal with the natural gas producers of Cook Inlet has given residents a false sense of how much energy actually costs in the rest of the state. We need a gas line to make it affordable — at least to Fairbanks. We could save a lot of money by not taking it Anchorage, but then Anchorage would never let the funding through the Legislature if they were not included.

Mitsubishi offered to build a pipeline for us back in the Palin era, Prudhoe to Valdez, with takeouts for instate use, but primarily for export to Japan. They ended up building a similar pipeline in Japan because Palin was set on the Trans-Canada line and then Parnell was in the pockets of the oil producers. The market is there.

I do agree however that we should deep-six the Trans-Canada deal. They’ve had plenty of time to do what they said they were going to do. Clearly they aren’t going to do it. Why should they when US shale gas as made export to the US fiscally unsound. That doesn’t affect the Asia markets. If we would take the hit with TransCanada and commit to building the gasline whether to Nikiski or Valdez (Valdez being the better choice because it provides gas to a wider region), we could have it built in two years. By 2017 or 2018, gas could be flowing to our homes and businesses here in the Interior and elsewhere in the state and being shipped to the Asian markets (if the federal government would give us a Jones Act waiver).

But building a pipeline and port facility on the north coast of Alaska … how does that help Alaskans? It helps our government, but that’s not necessarily the same thing.


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