The Alaska Pipeline Project (APP) announced that it will conduct a non-binding public solicitation of interest in securing capacity on a potential new pipeline system to transport Alaska’s North Slope gas.
The solicitation of interest will take place from August 31 through September 14, 2012.
The solicitation of interest is being conducted to identify parties potentially interested in making future capacity commitments on a pipeline system from the Alaska North Slope to a gas liquefaction (LNG) terminal at a tidewater location in south-central Alaska or to an interconnection point near the border of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.
APP will conduct the solicitation of interest in accordance with the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), which requires TransCanada, as the AGIA Licensee, to assess market interest in a pipeline transportation system for Alaska North Slope gas every two years after its first open season.
APP has set a high priority on providing access opportunities for in-state natural gas to heat and power local homes, business and industry. All options being pursued under AGIA provide for a minimum of five delivery points for local natural gas connections in Alaska.
By: Peter Schiff Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The media is now fixated on an apparently new feature dominating the economic landscape: a “fiscal cliff” from which the United States will fall in January 2013. They see the danger arising from the simultaneous implementation of the $2 trillion in automatic spending cuts (spread over 10 years) agreed to in last year’s debt ceiling vote and the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts. The economists to whom most reporters listen warn that the combined impact of reduced government spending and higher taxes will slow the “recovery” and perhaps send the economy back into recession. While there is indeed much to worry about in our economy, this particular cliff is not high on the list.
Much of the fear stems from the false premise that government spending generates economic growth (for stories of countries experiencing real growth, see our latest newsletter). People tend to forget that the government can only get money from taxing, borrowing, or printing. Nothing the government spends comes for free. Money taxed or borrowed is taken out of the private sector, where it could have been used more productively. Printed money merely creates inflation. So the automatic spending cuts, to the extent they are actually allowed to go into effect, will promote economic growth not prevent it. Even most Republicans fall for the canard that spending can help the economy in general. But even those who don’t will surely do everything to avoid the political backlash from citizens on the losing end of any specific cuts.
The only reason the automatic spending cuts exist at all is that Congress lacked the integrity to identify specifics. Rest assured that Congress will likely engineer yet another escape hatch when it finds itself backed into a corner again. Repealing the cuts before they are even implemented will render laughable any subsequent deficit reduction plans. But politicians would always rather face frustration for inaction than outright anger for actual decisions. In truth though, only an extremely small portion of the cuts are scheduled to occur in 2013 anyway. If it comes to pass that Congress cannot even keep its spending cut promises for one year, how can they be expected to do so for ten?
The impact of the expiring Bush era tax cuts is much harder to assess. The adverse effects of the tax hikes could be offset by the benefits of reduced government borrowing (provided that the taxes actually result in increased revenue). But given the negative incentives created by higher marginal tax rates, particularly as they impact savings and capital investment, increased rates may actually result in less revenue, thereby widening the budget deficit.
In reality, the economy will encounter extremely dangerous terrain whether or not Congress figures out a way to wriggle out of the 2013 budgetary straightjacket. The debt burden that the United Stated will face when interest rates rise presents a much larger “fiscal cliff.” Unfortunately, no one is talking about that one.
The current national debt is about $16 trillion (this is just the funded portion…the unfunded liabilities of the Treasury are much, much larger). The only reason the United States is able to service this staggering level of debt is that the currently low interest rate on government debt (now below 2 per cent) keeps debt service payments to a relatively manageable $300 billion per year.
On the current trajectory the national debt will likely hit $20 trillion in a few years. If by that time interest rates were to return to some semblance of historic normalcy, say 5 per cent, interest payments on the debt would then run $1 trillion per year. This sum could represent almost 40 per cent of total federal revenues in 2012!
In addition to making the debt service unmanageable, higher rates would depress economic activity, thereby slowing tax collection and requiring increased government spending. This would increase the budget deficits further, putting even more upward pressure on interest rates. Higher mortgage rates and increased unemployment will put renewed downward pressure on home prices, perhaps leading to another large wave of foreclosures. My guess is that losses on government insured mortgages alone could add several hundred billion more to annual budget deficits. When all of these factors are taken into account, I believe that annual budget deficits could quickly approach, and exceed, $3 trillion. All this could be in the cards if interest rates were to approach a modest five per cent.
If the sheer enormity of the red ink were to finally worry our creditors, five per cent interest rates could quickly rise to ten. At those rates, the annual cost to pay the interest on the national debt could equal all federal tax revenues combined. If that occurs we will have to either slash federal spending across the board (including cuts to politically sensitive entitlements), raise taxes significantly on the poor and middle class (as well as the rich), default on the debt, or hit everyone with the sustained impact of high inflation. Now that’s a real fiscal cliff!
By foolishly borrowing so heavily when interest rates are low, our government is driving us toward this cliff with its eyes firmly glued to the rear view mirror (much as the new French regime appears to be doing). For years I have warned that a financial crisis would be triggered by the popping of the real estate bubble. My warnings were routinely ignored based on the near universal assumption that real estate prices would never fall. My warnings about the real fiscal cliff are also being ignored because of a similarly false premise that interest rates can never rise. However, if history can be a guide, we should view the current period of ultra-low rates as the exception rather than the rule.
Peter Schiff’s new book, The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country is now available. Order your copy today.
For in-depth analysis of this and other investment topics, subscribe to Peter Schiff’s Global Investor newsletter. CLICK HERE for your free subscription.
- Democrats to Risk Fiscal Cliff by Targeting Top Earners (bloomberg.com)
- Lawmakers signal deep ‘fiscal cliff’ deadlock in Congress (mercurynews.com)
- Fitch Ratings keeps US at top ‘AAA’ credit rating (seattlepi.com)
Stone Energy Corporation today announced the closing of the previously announced acquisition of deep water assets from BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BP), which include BP’s 75% operated working interest in the five block deep water Pompano field in Mississippi Canyon, a 51% operated working interest in the adjacent Mississippi Canyon block 29, a 50% non-operated working interest in the Mica field, which ties back to the Pompano platform, and interests in 23 deep water exploration leases located in the vicinity of the Pompano field.
The stated purchase price of $204 million was adjusted under the agreement to $167.6 million, after adjusting for the effective date of July 1, 2011. The final purchase price is subject to further adjustments for the subsequent period through the closing date.
Stone’s preliminary review of the estimated proved reserves relating to the acquired properties indicated estimated proved reserves of approximately 17 million barrels of oil equivalent (Boe) as of December 28, 2011, which were approximately 83% oil. Stone’s preliminary estimate of the asset retirement obligation associated with the properties is approximately $60 million. The Pompano platform is a production hub with seven producing leases, currently producing at an average rate of approximately 3,300 Boe per day, net to Stone. The production hub has production capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 135 million cubic feet of gas per day, which could allow for potential processing of additional third party production.
- USA: BP Sells Stake in Pompano and Mica Offshore Fields to Stone Energy (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Stone Energy Corporation Announces Close of Acquisition of BP’s Pompano Field Working Interest (prnewswire.com)
- USA: BP Confirms Significant Resource Extension for Mad Dog Complex (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Offshore Lists Top 5 Offshore Field Development Projects (mb50.wordpress.com)
- US eyes first BP criminal charges over Gulf oil spill, report (telegraph.co.uk)
- USA: EMAS Wins Gulf of Mexico Subsea Contract from BP (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: The Bedford Report Releases Equity Research on BP and ATP Oil & Gas (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: BP Sells Stake in Pompano and Mica Offshore Fields to Stone Energy
- Energy XXI Closes Acquisition of Gulf of Mexico Shelf Properties From ExxonMobil
- USA: Energy XXI to Acquire Gulf of Mexico Shelf Properties From ExxonMobil for $1.01 Billion
- USA: EPL Buys GoM Assets from Stone Energy
- USA: BP Buys Gulf Of Mexico Assets from Shell