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BP’s gas play

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BP is going big on liquified natural gas (LNG), only not in Alaska.

Less than a month after the London-based petroleum giant announced it had found a way to extricate itself from its 49th state oil and gas holdings, it revealed a $9.61 billion, 18-year deal to sell LNG to South Korea’s state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS).

BP is heavily invested in shale gas in Louisiana and Texas. 

That gas is to ship from nearby LNG terminals in Freeport, Texas and Cameron Parish, LA, according to Natural Gas Insider.  Freeport LNG Development, an independently owned company that contracts with producers to liquefy their gas, in 2013 signed a 20-year deal with BP to process 4.4 million tons per year. 

A facility originally intended to import LNG, Freeport welcomed the first BP export tanker in 2018. 

“A decade ago, no one would have believed that natural gas would become an important U.S. export,” Oceaneering.com reported at the time. “But the shale revolution that began in earnest in 2008 changed that in a big way.

“Since then, analysts have estimated that the U.S. has enough natural gas supplies for at least the next 100 years.”

Booming discoveries of new gas not only in the Lower 48 but globally can be expected to further delay construction of a long-proposed, $40- to $50-billion-dollar, natural gas pipeline stretching more than 800 miles from Alaska’s North Slope to tidewater in Cook Inlet or Prince William Sound.

Larry Persily, the last director of the extinct Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Gas Pipeline Projects, is now of the opinion it will be decades before construction begins on such a line – if construction ever begins.

LNG sea change

A decade ago, Alaska was expected to become the major gas supplier for the U.S. Midwest. As envisioned by the state and federal governments, and the major Alaska oil producers, a pipeline would snake south for 1,700-miles from the edge of the Arctic Ocean through Alaska across Canada’s Yukon Territory and the province of British Columbia to connect to Canadian pipelines in the southern portion of the province of Alberta.

Those Canadians pipelines are welded into a network that already supplies gas to the U.S. West and Midwest. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin bragged about the coming Alaska connection in a 2008 speech to a Republican presidential convention about to nominate her as the party’s candidate for vice-president.

“I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history,” she said. “And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

“That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.”

By then, it was already obvious the proposed gasline was in trouble due to competition from the new gas discoveries all over the Lower 48. A gas glut began driving prices down, and they fell so  low that oil producers in the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico this summer had “to resort to actually paying shippers to take their gas in some cases over the last year, and essentially all of whom have been flaring far more natural gas than they would prefer,” Forbes reported earlier this month.

Prices have since begun to move upward, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts only a modest increase in gas demand and price through 2050 as renewable energy sources provide ever more new electricity.

“Renewables (including hydropower) are the fastest-growing source of electricity generation during the 2018 to 2050 period, rising by an average of 3.6 percent per year,” says the agency’s September outlook with projections through 2050. “Natural gas generation grows by an average of 1.5 percent per year.”

Electric power plants are the largest consumers of natural gas in the country and the largest consumer of all fossil fuels. They annually burn 38.3 quadrillion Btus of energy, 10 quadrillion more than the transportation industry, according to the EIA.

Residential use of all energy sources – natural gas, fuel oil, wood, and more – accounts for only 6.9 quadrillion BTUs or less than 20 percent of the use by powerplants.

Bad hand

Neither national nor international markets look good for Alaska North Slope gas in the short term, though the Wall Street Journal noted some analysts are suggesting a growing future demand for gas if China “more aggressively turns to gas to fuel power plants in place of coal.”

Plagued by air pollution from coal-fired power plants, China would like to transition to gas and renewables, but that move is not a given in a country more worried about its economy than its air or increases in carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

“While coal consumption and production peaked in 2013, both have increased again since 2017 and are slowly creeping back to 2013 levels,” Yale Environment 360 reported just days ago.

“China approved four coal mines in a single day on Tuesday as part of its effort to boost its ailing economy, with the combined output capacity equal to the United Kingdom’s entire coal consumption for 18 months,” the South China Morning Post reported in February. 

“The four projects in the north of the country, two in inner Mongolia and one each in Xinjiang and Shaanxi, will cost 11.7 billion yuan (US$1.75 billion) and will have the combined annual output capacity of 26 million tonnes.”

China was the hoped-for golden market for Alaska LNG after the gasline to the Lower 48 officially died five years ago with Congress’s decision to end funding for the Office of the Federal Coordinator. Exxon/Mobil, BP, ConocoPhillips and the state of Alaska had by then already shifted their attention to a different idea – a pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater at an ice-free Alaska port.

Along with TransCanada, the company which had originally hoped to build the 1,700 mile continental pipeline, the state and the companies in 2013 announced they were considering “large-scale liquefied natural gas exports from Southcentral Alaska…as an alternative to a natural gas pipeline through Alberta.”

“Commercializing Alaska natural gas resources will not be easy,” the companies said in a media statement at the time. “There are many challenges and issues that must be resolved, and we cannot do it alone. Unprecedented commitments of capital for gas development will require competitive and stable fiscal terms with the State of Alaska first be established….

“The producing companies support meaningful Alaska tax reform, such as the legislation introduced by Gov. (Sean) Parnell, which will encourage increased investment and establish an economic foundation for further commercialization of North Slope resources.”

Exxon/Mobil was eventually agreed upon as the company to head the project. The third-largest gas producer in the world, Exxon is respected by its competitors for its technical expertise if not exactly well liked.

It was leading efforts to lay the groundwork for a pipeline to Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula when newly elected Gov. Bill Walker, Parnell’s replacement, ordered a state takeover of the project.

Walker had previously been involved in an effort by the North Slope Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the City of Valdez to build a gas pipeline paralleling the oil pipeline from the North Slope south to the Port of Valdez.

Personal agendas

The Alaska Gasline Port Authority never gained any traction, and Walker believed it was because Exxon was sabotaging Alaska gas plans. Why was never clear, but he loved to tell a story about how when he went to visit Exxon headquarters in Houston he was taken to a meeting “in the basement” of the Exxon tower.

The state takeover of the gasline project was considered a mistake by the producers, but ConocoPhillips and BP did their best to play along with Walker despite the latter’s increasing frustration with its 60-year-old Alaska investment.

A global company valued at $298.75 billion with Alaska offices in a towering high-rise in Midtown Anchorage, BP was a big target for Alaskans regularly pushing for higher taxes on oil, and environmentalists looking to portray the oil business as a dirty industry.

Dealing with an aging oil field on the North Slope, which means falling production and increased risks of oil spills as pipes corrode from the inside out, it was a toss up as to which issue was more of a problem for the company. Any sort of BP-related spill on the North Slope became an international story in the wake of the Deepwater oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Deepwater explosion and oil rig collapse in 2010 led to the death of 11 people and the largest ever release of oil into the world’s oceans. After an estimated 2.5- to 4.2-million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf, BP lost its taste for pushing the technological edge of oil production.

Plans for the company’s Liberty Project on the North Slope were subsequently shelved. Liberty had been viewed as breakthrough technology in directional drilling. It was designed to drill down from an island just offshore in the Arctic Ocean and then turn and run horizontally for more than 8 miles to an offshore oil deposit. 

The rig would have set a new record for the distance covered by horizontal drilling, but there were risks. Massive amounts of torque were required to twist the bent pipe to make it go such a distance horizontally.

“All wells for this project will be outside current industry performance for this depth,” the BP plan submitted to the U.S. Minerals Management Service at the time conceded. “As a result, the state-of-the-art of ultra-extended-reach drilling (uERD) must be advanced. BPXA first plans to drill a single well in order to assure that such drilling is feasible. If that well is successful and the technology is proven, then BPXA will proceed with drilling additional wells and installing new facilities to complete the project as described in this
document.”

The $215 million Liberty drilling rig built specifically for the project could have been fairly called both groundbreaking and experimental.

In expectation of its success, however, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and then-Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, introduced legislation to allow directional drilling to tap the hotly debated Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“Everybody wins with this bill – America improves its energy security and the conservation community is ensured that there will be no visible impact on the refuge,” Murkowski raved in a press release. “I urge those previously opposed to oil and gas exploration in ANWR to take a fresh look at this issue and show a willingness to compromise.”

A new path forward on ANWR died with Liberty, and the failure of the project might have been the beginning of the end for BP in Alaska. The company was left with its aging oil field, high-operating costs, and a new governor threatening to shutdown Prudhoe Bay oil operations altogether if companies didn’t cooperate on his natural gas scheme.

Some at BP thought the company that helped build Alaska’s economy and support state charities with millions of dollars per year in donations had become unwelcome in the 49th state. That just added to the other problems that failed to go away with a change in state administrations.

Walker gone

Walker lasted only one term as governor. His campaign for re-election fell apart after he essentially fired his running mate, 75-year-old lieutenant governor Byron Mallott, for propositioning a young woman at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. 

Walker’s independent campaign stuttered and then crashed after removal of Mallott, a once-respected Alaska Native leader and leader in the Alaska Democrat Party. The Associated Press later revealed documents obtained under a freedom of information request indicate Mallot invited the young woman to his room and possibly more.

Emails from first lady Donna Walker to her husband cautioned that Mallott’s misbehavior went beyond “inappropriate comments”; “it was the conduct as well of inviting her to his room, and it sounds like there was some discrepancy as to how he greeted/touched her.”

Walker’s successor, Gov. Mike Dunleavy promised to be friendlier to the oil industry and continued the state’s Alaska Gasline Development Corporation with hopes of obtaining needed permits for pipeline construction from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) next year. 

But there remains little hope of gasline construction any time soon. The line is simply too long and the costs too much to make the numbers pencil in today’s LNG market.

Alaska gas producers and others are now quietly talking about the possibility of direct shipment of LNG off the North Slope as ice in the Arctic Ocean continues to shrink.

Russia and China in May inked a major deal to beginning shipping LNG from the Yamal Peninsula about 1,250 miles northeast of Moscow to China via the northern sea route and the Bering Strait. 

Almost the entire route is north of the Arctic Circle. If necessary, nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers would be used to keep a shipping lane clear for a fleet of Korean-built, ice-breaking LNG tankers. One of the first of those tankers successfully barged its way through the ice from Norway to South Korea in 2017, however, without the help of an icebreaker.

During Walker’s term, the Chinese were actively courting the state as potential investors in the Alaska gasline, but in June Chinese leader Xi Jinping signed a $20 billion trade and energy deal with “best friend” Vladimir Putin, the Russian strongman.

 “The Chinese commerce ministry said that the two sides aimed to increase the volume of trade between the two countries to US$200 billion a year following last year’s 24.5 percent rise to a record level of US$108 billion,” the South China Morning Post reported.

Some have suggested the Chinese might have played Walker to get a better deal on more Russian LNG.

BP’s sale of its Alaska assets to Houston-based Hilcorp for $5.6 billion eliminated BP as a player in the Alaska gas game and relieved the global energy giant of responsibility for an aging, Arctic oil field with less production and more production problems.

Oil industry analyst David Blackmon, writing for Forbes, described the deal as one “that will no doubt be characterized as surprising by some, but really should come as no surprise to anyone.” He summed it a “win for everyone,” noting that BP has better opportunities elsewhere and Hilcorp specializes in “maximizing profits by boosting production and reducing overhead” in fading fields.

The only real surprise for those familiar with BP’s Alaska operations was that it was able to untangle itself from its Alyeska Pipeline responsibilities and concoct a way to coordinate its oil shipping business with a new oilfield operator. Most of the oil for BP’s Cherry Point refinery near Bellingham, Wash., is shipped there from Valdez on BP tankers.

Details as to what sort of deal BP worked out with Hilcorp to keep that oil flowing are unknown.

Hilcorp is a privately held company and thus its annual revenues are unreported, but it does a fraction of the $298.75 billion in business BP was reported to have done last year. Because of that, it lacks the sort of influence BP had in trying to organize financing for a $40 billion gas pipeline.

But its size also allows for more efficient and more nimble operations. Think U.S. Army special forces as opposed to armor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

libtyty the spruce goose of the oil indstry

22 replies »

  1. A little crowdsourced edit: Transocean owned a rig named Deepwater Horizon. That rig was contracted to British Petroleum to drill the Macundo well. The well blew out causing an explosion and the sinking of the rig and the subsequent loss of eleven lives. This is an oil town you should get these terms right.

    • Moki: Thanks. All true. Also all details that just confuse a general reader.

      This accident is now well and generally known to the to masses as the Deepwater spill although I avoided that latter word because it wasn’t a “spill” but a blowout.

      Remember it all quite well. I was down in the Gulf when it was gushing and the air above it was so full of hydrocarbons it was a little scary to be circling there in a C-130. They did later close the airspace for a time. They should have closed it sooner.

  2. There is a 3 part series on Netflix titled “Bill’s Brain” (Bill Gates). All three are very good, but the third addresses a new technology nuclear plant that would be much safer than the current/old designs and would actually be fueled by our current nuclear waste. Before you say no way to nuclear watch this episode.

    If the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is actually able to build a full scale demonstration model as planned even natural gas fueled plants will be replaced by this in China and the rest of the world. GTL seems to be the best direction for AK gas.

    • Nuclear power has been around for ages. It is one of the cleanest and most efficient forms of energy there is. Liberals and Democrats, but I disgree go batchit crazy over the word, like many other words. They pay hords of “rent-a- mob” losers protest any and every thing. No different than the evolution of coal fired plants. As for the Chinese, well, they have an over abundance of cheap American coal and don’t subscdibe to the whole “Global Warming” lie. They are the worst polluters onnthe planet, like every other Communist or Marxist country, yet American Marxists and Communists protest America’s environmental policies and leave China alone. Hmm. Wonder why that is??

    • Bill Gates’ nuclear energy project is called TerraPower. The main idea seems to have been to sell it, transfer it, or maybe just basically give the method to the Chinese. Trump slapped a technology-transfer restriction on it at the beginning of this year, and evidently they’re throwing in the towel, if they can’t give it to China.

      Their “new technology” is called a Travelling wave reactor … and as seen there, it dates back to the 1950s.

      This is a recurring theme with nuclear technologies that come out in the papers as New … that actually, they’re pretty old. And really, when you beat the bushes for a homestead, you stake out the nicest & most-promising spread you can find, first. Unless there is some compelling side-issue that says you should sink you marbles into a problematic piece of intellectual real estate … which happens, for commercial & business reasons.

      Small modular reactors are cropping up like weeds in the late-summer showers. No surprise … mobile versions are the doctor’s prescription, for tar-sand process-heat etc, and for agimarc’s GTL and CTL chemistries. Again, we read about it in ancient Scientific American articles.

      The reason tar-sand methods and conversion-chemistries (which yet-again is your great-Granny’s news-flash) are CO2 offenders, is that you normally have to burn something, to create the heat to drives the process, and that’s where the added CO2 comes from. If you can use nuclear power to provide that heat – BOOM – tar sands, oil shales, and even coal-conversion methods are basically as CO2-clean as anything else.

      The Toshiba 4S modular, transportable reactor was in the Alaska news for a long time, as the village of Galena worked with Toshiba on a proposal to install one on the Yukon.

      With cheap gas, the push to provide nuclear energy to drive hydrocarbon recovery & conversion processes presumably shifts back onto the cooler part of the stove. Oh – that guy Bill Gates? Before he got TerraPower going, he was a Toshiba 4S fan boy. Interesting.

      More threads here for me to weigh in on – good stuff! – but I’m off to work in the brush today. Check ya later.

      • The answer on the Quiz, What happened with Galena’s Toshiba 4S reactor, is that Toshiba never initiated the licensing process with the NRC Nuclear Regulator Commission.

        Searches for ‘toshiba 4s prototype’ don’t turn up any straight-forward leads. Ie, they didn’t build a test or pilot-version of this thing … evidently that was going to be Galena’s role in the deal: guinea pig.

        Presumably, even though the design is intended to run by itself, Toshiba would have kept some sort of monitoring staff in Galena, at least for a few years. This might have been an arrangement with U Fairbanks etc … which may explain how Toshiba happened to glom onto Galena in the first place.

        Villages have had problems riding herd eg on somewhat-technical sewage systems, distributed heating systems, even water. The 4S output will be steam; you can run a steam turbine electrical generator, and pipe steam all over the village for old-fashioned steam-heat in homes & businesses.

        But somebody has to be reasonably steam, turbine & big-generator savvy. Toshiba may have gotten a pointer from someone in academia (Alaska has people in this capacity), that Galen might be what they were looking for – indeed Galena is a special/unique place, and this idea might not be entirely far-fetched, in their particular case – but when Toshiba came in for an on-site familiarization they realized it was not what they were picturing, and got cold feet.

        Really though, everything nuclear is Strategic, Geopolitical, and mortal humans have no scoop on what is or is not really or not-really happening. Corporations and small (technical) entities alike put forward suggestions, they amble along for a few years, then just fade away.

        No prototype? For a design that is small, cheap, simple and supposed to run by itself for decades? Should be easy to set up a prototype, show that it works, in a controlled, industrial environment. That they didn’t, is a flag.

    • the problem with GTL is that the economics aren’t that good. maybe we should use it for its good feedstock to start a carbon-fiber industry in Alaska. CF is already well on its way to being the new steel.

  3. It fits with their re-branding. Being the big dog in a field filled with smaller competitors puts them in an interesting spot for decades to come. The massive glut of natural gas is going to be around for some time, possibly generations. Natural gas is the fuel for the foreseeable future, unless it becomes the eight track. Look for more announcements like this from BP and other majors in the years ahead, along with acquisitions of smaller companies in the natural gas business. BP is buying into gas while it is at historic lows and will remain at historic lows for quite some time. This is a long play, and Alaskan natural gas won’t be marketable for a long, long time.

  4. Sure market values have a lot to do with BP’s decision to “liquidate” AK assets and invest in other areas but I would say the toxic political environment across the state is an equal contributor to this ending.
    Why is there NO government talk of shipping LNG off of the North Slope?
    The area is now Ice Free for a majority of each year…
    The bottom line is most businesses and investors with deep pockets are looking away from Alaska as are many young college graduates who never return home.
    Instead, the state has become a sort of “in-holding” for oil field workers, civil servants and would be political hacks.
    Rex Tillerson noticed this several years ago when he decided to not invest in the gasline project.
    “Then, there is this: What happens when Walker is out and the next governor wants to chase a different white whale?
    Frustrated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson once observed that Alaska has a history of flip-flopping after elections, and he opined, “Alaska is their own worst enemy.”
    He was absolutely right.”

    https://northerngaspipelines.com/7-10-16/

  5. Marcellus gas is selling at the wellhear at a little over $2.00 MCF in Pennsylvania. A large gas line is being built across Pennsylvania to get to a giant LNG plant being constructed on the East Coast. I’ve been told that North Slope gas delivered to Kenai would have to get $17+ MCF to break even. Perhaps LNG tankers on the North Slope would be viable,however Alaskan gas line: no way…………..

  6. Wonderful article Craig! You did it again. Tying together all the information in a relevant piece! I hope you don’t work to hard . Hopefully you can afford to take enough time for yourself. Thanks for relevant details important for Alaska and the world. I will read it carefully. To bad walker didn’t let the pros deal with the gas line when we had a chance. It’s good to hear we have major world wide supplies of natural gas to handle energy needs untill renewables can more fully come into play through technology advances. Hopefully the world keeps moving towards natural gas usage and steps far away from fracking and coal .

    • To maybe play the devil’s advocate, Opinion … I saw a few – not many – years back that there was a (renewed?) debate over a proposal to create an upper Susitna river hydroelectric project. It was evidently ‘resolved’ with a Gov veto, if that’s a debate-resolution.

      There is also a much older idea, a MUCH more big-time, get-real time idea, to dam the Yukon in the vicinity of Rampart, and fill the Yukon Flats with a new Great Lake.

      Two things about Rampart Dam, perhaps not in order of historic relevance: 1.) It would be pretty-much a North Slope oil kingdom for the Interior Native communities & Corporation … except the oil would never run out. 2.) At the time this idea was first mentioned, Fairbanks was Queen of the North, Anchorage was next to nothing, and the universal assumption was the Interior would be the center of everything-Alaska. After Statehood … but really after Prudhoe Bay, Anchorage & Fairbanks did the no poo-poo death-match for who would lead – and define – the new state. Younger folks may be missing something here. Putting a world-class hydroelectric resource in Fairbanks’ backyard launched South Central boosters (perhaps extending to D.C.?) into clutch-mode.

      So what’s it gonna be? CO2 mitigation as long as it’s easy, painless, and nimby?

      For completeness (while the devil has the mic), let’s mention industrial nuclear power, which is a fabulous fit for the Northern Realm … and pushes hard to create & promote the very kind of citizen & citizenship on which Alaska culture is so-fondly based. Again, is CO2 really important, or is it maybe just a wedge for something else?

      • There’s another option for North Slope natural gas – GTLs (Gas to Liquids, Fischer – Tropsch), synthetic diesel batch shipped down TAPS with oil. There is a worldwide market for diesel (aka kerosene, Jet-A, AvGas, JP-8, even RP-1) that unlike LNG, is not flooded with product. You can tap batch shipments at any pump station, 6 of which have been shut down. Best of all, if you get into the GTL business, you create infrastructure that will support a future CTL industry on the Slope and you don’t need a $40 – 60 b new pipeline. Cheers –

      • Very good points, agimarc, about Gas-to-Liquid and future CTL tech.

        This fits well with the same philosophy that advises high-tech in general (including nuclear), for the maintenance of an Alaskan culture.

        First-steps GTL can be argued as being especially apt & direct, for & in the Interior and Fairbanks area. This of course is one of the reasons why it has not gotten the kind of attention that the bare facts on the table would seem to suggest. It tends to shift the focus away from Anchorage, and makes Fairbanks more competitive.

        How do we revive Venezuela, and put them on a long-term stable footing? An obvious option is to help them develop their best-in-world bitumen tar-sand like deposits … basically the same as Alberta … where they especially need synthetic liquids to modify the pipeline characteristics & refinery-behavior of the tar-sand product. These ‘gunk-technologies’ bring us quite close to coal-to-liquids (and gas!) methods … at which point Alaska is permanently endowed.

        The technology & training emphasis of naval, maritime & shipping industries is what enabled Portugal, Spain and Britain to become World Powers. All of these had small populations, but their emphasis on technical exploits put them over the top, big-time.

      • Ted ,Thanks! Devils advocates are always needed. I will adress your last point/thought first . C02 . My observation is co2 needs struck from the climate argument. It’s a fools errand . It can’t be adequately prooven to be a bad thing therefore is a distraction. It’s riddled with questionable inaccurate alleged science.Alaska was once a tropical or similar style climate. Warm with big animals. There are days I wish it was that way again. There are frankly to many unknown and uncontrollable variables to frame any part of life around the discussion of global warming. Scientists can’t even accurately reliably predict the weather a day in advance yet more than aprx 50% . We may need all the heat we can get at any moment if the sun changes. It’s a political and possible evil, on purpose distraction from real first hand guaranteed world problems. Chemicals that damage the human organism must be at forefront of consideration . To innumerable to mention. At risk , Air water food ground. If humans loose our heath or ability to think coherently we are in danger. Our civil rights are in immediate danger therefore basic human dignity. Ai is about to rise = imminent danger to humans according to their creators . Genetic engineering and tampering of human and animal genome is extreme threat to our survival if not done right . These and more ethical considerations are an imminent danger to humanity yet get little press little thought ,little government or citizen push for reform and protection. Co2 is nothing but a magicians slight of hand distraction. Watch my hand while everything important to you disappears . The people engineering and setting the format for climate debate are not stupid and know exactly how to control the populace of nations – use irrational fears or thoughts to mess with the brains of lower tier humans while they move all the pieces to their favor. I will consider your other thoughts after a bit.

      • Ted, Ok ,big damns , nuclear ?Current/ future needs, Available options and Gain to risk analysis is usually where thinking humans begin . Do we currently or soon need big damns or nuclear to survive? No . Are there many many other options available? Yes . Gain / risk . Most things are in part about location . Are damns and nuclear abnormal high risk due to being near the ring of fire and generally unstable ground? Yes . Could an accident effect human health on a large scale ? Yes . Does Alaska pose to risk it’s image and natural resources from changes a nuclear/ damn accident and presence would bring ? Are these things important to many ? Yes . So now the gain . Would Alaska’s economy benefit if the infrastructure could be purchased and permits acquired ? Probably yes . Then the analysis. Can we get similar results from lower risk options? Yes we can . Therefore benefit to risk analysis says go with the lower risk equal benefit option. Is my writing boring. Yes!!!

      • Yes, Opinion, on climate: 1.) Computers (“a” computer) only quite recently became capable of “playing” chess. The 64 squares, the 32 game-pieces of a half-dozen kinds, simple creates too many “combinatorial” possibilities. Even Cray Super Computers ran into a Great Wall of Trump, trying to ‘compute’ chess. Now, remind me again how we’re going to realistically ‘compute’ all the variables & permutations of the planet’s climate? ‘Taint_gonna_happen. (All chess software available to mere mortals operates on ‘cheat-sheets’, not by computation. Come to think of it … not that diff from Climate Models!)

        2.) I once read a little column, might have been that guy who writes out of the U AK Fairbanks, answering the question, ‘How awfully cold would it get in Alaska, during an Ice Age?’ [Like, how could people have survived</em? in such terrible, terrible cold?!] Answer: 'Not much colder than it gets today, just more of it … and not as warm in the summers – but still probably good enough for barley.'

        It's the same thing for warming, only in reverse. 'How searingly hot will get due to either AGW or natural warming'? Answer: About as searingly hot as it gets in a bakin' summer heat-wave, today. It would just be hot more, longer hot season. Milder most winters … but winters, still.

        No real emergency conditions are anticipated at all, if significant warming does occur. Nothing much beyond what we know & deal with most-every summer.

      • That’s right Opinion: Analysis of the risk-benefit balance becomes steadily more important, as society becomes increasingly complex & interdependent.

        Sometimes we can make small incremental steps – like being able to host & tend nuclear icebreakers – while there can less intermediate ground, for say flooding the Yukon Flats.

        Freeport was supposed to be about export, and now it’s the U.S. with gas to burn. We always have to stay on our toes!

  7. Liberty didn’t fail, the rig did. I don’t know the specifics but Parker/BP screwed up and tried some experimental technology and it didn’t work. I heard the rig was scrapped and cut up on site for salvage. Hilcorp is moving ahead with this site.

    • I heard that too. The rig got damaged during transport. And the cost to fix it was too high. So the project died.

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