Monthly Archives: August 2010

Estimated Alaska North Slope Netback Values (using closing prices for August 30, 2010)

Day Oil Gas (AGIA) Gas (Valdez LNG)
8/30/2010 $67.51/BOE Minus $3.15/BOE Minus $2.11/BOE

This page has started reporting netback values for Valdez LNG Gas.  For a discussion of the methodology and potential implications, see “What about those ‘premium Asian LNG markets …,’” (Aug. 31, 2010)

What about those “premium Asian LNG markets” …

Turns out the “premium” revenues are consumed by higher costs …

The proponents of the Valdez LNG project often talk about “premium Asian LNG markets,” and the ability of those markets to help Alaska cope economically with declining oil production. The theory is that revenues from LNG sales to Pacific Rim markets will produce sufficient revenues to offset the impact of declining (and ultimately, ending) oil production. Among other things, this logic is used to justify the continuation of the ACES (“Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share”) tax structure, by arguing that even if ACES causes producers to stop investing in new oil development, the Alaska economy will be fine because the Valdez LNG project will result in replacement revenues from sales of gas.

The argument always has created a sense of unease. Generally speaking, Asian LNG markets operate at price levels above those in the Lower 48. The analysis, however, has not captured the entire story. Pipeline facilities and LNG liquefaction plants are expensive to construct and operate. As the economic consultants to the State summarized when comparing the Valdez LNG project to the Trans Canada’s proposed AGIA (“Alaska Gasline Inducement Act”) pipeline to the Lower 48, LNG projects both have higher capital costs and significantly greater fuel consumption that comparably size pipeline projects. As a result, the unanswered question has been are the “premium” Asian LNG prices sufficient to absorb the higher costs of the Valdez LNG project and still produce revenues comparable to those produced from oil.

The answer turns out to be no. In an effort to assess whether a Valdez LNG project would produce net revenues sufficient to offset the impact of declining oil production this page has developed and started reporting the estimated netbacks to Alaska if either the AGIA pipeline or the Valdez LNG project were operating today. The results, using yesterday’s closing prices as an example, are reflected in the following chart.

Estimated Alaska North Slope Netback Values



Gas (AGIA)

Gas (Valdez LNG)



Minus $3.15/BOE

Minus $2.11/BOE

Continue reading

Basis for Estimates of Alaska North Slope Netback Oil & Gas Values (August 28, 2010)

The purpose of these estimates is to provide an indication of the relative value of Alaska North Slope (“ANS”) oil and gas to the Alaska economy. The estimates provide values, netted back to the field, for ANS oil, and ANS gas delivered through two outlets – through an overland pipeline through Canada to the Lower 48 (“AGIA Gas”), and through a pipeline to Valdez, Alaska, for conversion to LNG and ultimate sale in the Pacific Rim (“Valdez LNG”). These estimates attempt to provide field netback values because that is the starting point used to calculate royalty and production taxes which, together, fund a large portion of Alaska state government.

To be clear, neither of the market outlets for ANS gas actually exist today. The reported value for the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (or “AGIA”) market estimates what the current netback to the ANS would be for gas transported initially to the Canadian AECO hub through a pipeline yet to be built, and then on to the Lower 48 through either existing pipeline systems or additional pipelines yet to be built. The second value, for “Valdez LNG,” estimates what the current netback to the ANS would be for gas transported initially by pipeline yet to be built to Valdez, Alaska, then liquefied at an LNG liquefaction facility yet to be built, then transported by ship and sold in markets in the Pacific Rim.

Simply because the facilities for those market options have yet to be constructed, however, does not mean that current estimated netback values for gas using those market outlets cannot be constructed. A current market price for gas available at the AECO hub (named for the Alberta Energy Company facilities first used as a pricing point), for example, is reported for each weekday by publicly available sources. Similarly, a current netback price for LNG delivered to the port of Sodegaura, Japan, from the terminus of an existing LNG liquefaction facility of comparable distance from Valdez to that port is periodically reported by the Oil & Gas Journal. In addition, substantial public information has been developed and made available over the last two years regarding the cost, and likely tariffs, of the facilities necessary to deliver gas from the ANS to those points, enabling the construction from public data of an estimated netback value from those pricing points to the ANS. Continue reading

Closing 8/27/2010 Estimated Alaska North Slope Oil & Gas Netback Values

Day Oil Gas (AGIA) Gas (Valdez LNG)
8/27/2010 $67.77/BOE Minus $2.90/BOE

Estimated Alaska Oil & Gas Values

Estimated Alaska North Slope Netback Values:

Day Oil Gas (AGIA) Gas (Valdez LNG)
8/26/2010 $65.81/BOE Minus $3.02/BOE
8/25/2010 $64.92/BOE Minus $2.67/BOE
8/24/2010 $64.20/BOE Minus $2.44/BOE
8/23/2010 $65.70/BOE Minus $2.73/BOE

An Explanation of A New Approach to Estimating Alaska Oil & Gas Values

In an attempt to compare alternative futures for Alaska on an apples-to-apples basis, this page will start carrying, on a trial basis, weekday comparisons of the netback value of Alaska oil (generally, the starting value used for royalty and tax purposes) and an approximation of what the netback value of Alaska gas would be under AGIA, expressed on a barrel of oil equivalent basis.

This is somewhat similar to the information currently being posted with some regularity by the Alaska House Majority on Twitter, at, but the effort on this page will be focused on reporting the prices on an apples-to-apples basis using “barrel of oil equivalent” as a common measure and using criteria for gas that attempts to create a netback to the Alaska North Slope, rather than, as the House Majority reporting does, focusing on the Henry Hub price.

The netback value of oil will be taken from the daily reported price for Alaska crude (the same as used by the AK House Majority), net of transportation costs included in Department of Revenue’s semi-annual reports and forecasts. The netback value of gas will be taken from the daily reported price for gas at the same Canadian Hub to which TransCanada’s AGIA line proposes to deliver Alaska gas, net of the transportation cost proposed as part of TransCanada’s Open Season plan. (Currently, the netback value is negative, and will be reported as a loss which would be borne by TransCanada’s shippers.) Continue reading

Reprinted from “The Link,” the Alaska Support Industry Alliance member newsletter

Entire article reprinted from “The Link,” 3d Quarter 2010, Alaska Support Industry Alliance ( by The Alliance Staff.

ACES: The gift that keeps on taking (jobs and investment)

Oil and gas employment in Alaska has tumbled to its lowest level since late 2007 after a year when 1,500 jobs were lost and unemployment claims in the support sector more than doubled. Data compiled by the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Research & Analysis Section show that since a modest rebound during the first quarter of 2010, oil and gas employment fell again in the second quarter and by mid-year stood at its lowest level in 30 months.

In all, 1,700 oil and gas jobs have been lost since employment peaked at 13,700 in December 2008. Preliminary data had oil and gas employment at 12,000 in June this year – down 200 from May and 700 from February.

Continue reading

Platts| Asia Pacific LNG production to outstrip demand into 2020: BG

Brisbane (Platts)–18May2010/544 am EDT/944 GMT — Production of LNG in the Asia Pacific region is set to outstrip demand well into the future, Catherine Tanna, managing director of Australia’s QGC, a subsidiary of the BG Group, said Tuesday. The supply of LNG from proposed new and expansion projects in the Asia Pacific and volumes from outside the region could amount to more than 250 million mt/year by 2020, Tanna told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association annual conference in Brisbane. But demand in the region not already satisfied by existing contracts would total only about 65 million mt/year then, she added.

(Read the full article at Asia Pacific LNG production to outstrip … (May 18, 2010))