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Vol. 15, No. 33 Week of August 15, 2010
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Oil Patch Insider: Mr. Hanley goes to Washington; Bieber publishes 2nd novel; Stelmach pitches oil sands

Mark Hanley, long-time Anadarko Petroleum spokesman for the company’s Alaska operations, is busy packing for a move from Anchorage to a new position in Anadarko’s Washington, D.C., office. Hanley told Petroleum News Aug. 12 that, with many more issues going on for Anadarko in D.C. than in Alaska at the moment, the company needs another government affairs person in the federal capital.

However, Hanley will continue as the spokesman for Anadarko’s Alaska operations.

“I’ve still got responsibilities for Alaska. … I’ll be up here a decent amount,” Hanley said.

—Alan Bailey

Bieber publishes second novel, ‘The Permanent Plan’

Author Craig Bieber has released his latest novel, “The Permanent Plan,” a sequel to “Saylor’s Triangle.”

Bieber, former M-I Swaco Alaska manager and Petroleum Club of Anchorage president, will be doing a book signing at the Petroleum Club on Sept. 9.

The Permanent Plan continues book one’s saga of the influential Saylor family, introducing a new cast of criminals and their henchmen who plan to commit a major cyber-crime against the State of Alaska.

In Saylor’s Triangle, Nick Saylor is semi-retiring to the island of Maui, leaving his sister Beth in Seattle as president of Saylor Industries and Beth’s flawed ex-husband as the company’s Alaska manager in Anchorage.

The ex quickly heads Saylor Industries down a path of destruction with his affinity for criminals, loose women and dirty money.

Nick is drawn back into the business by the mystical warnings of a new kapuna friend in Maui, and an Alaska Native spiritual leader. Together, Beth and Nick contend with Mexican drug cartel members, deranged killers-for-hire, would-be terrorists, law-enforcement agents and a drug dealer as they scramble to save themselves and their company.

In Bieber’s latest book, Beth’s business success gains her the favor of Alaska’s female governor, who appoints her to the board of the multibillion dollar Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

When the fund comes under attack by white-collar criminals Beth and Nick again join forces to stop the criminals.

The book’s cast of characters includes “a schizophrenic preacher, a roughneck with a thieving-wife story, a mysterious Athabascan Native and a murderous moneyman with a bizarre cohort.”

Bieber promises a shocking ending.

To learn more show up at the Petroleum Club on Sept. 9 or e-mail Bieber at [email protected]

—Kay Cashman

Stoic Stelmach turns pitchman

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is the very definition of low key.

He’s not the sort of guy you’d pick to do a glitzy, stylish selling campaign on his province’s oil sands — a sort of Mission Impossible.

The grandson of Ukrainian immigrants and northern Alberta farmers epitomizes his roots and his upbringing: Calm, plodding, even humorless. But give Stelmach his due.

He’s now taking to the stage as the pitchman for a public-relations offensive, selling Alberta’s energy production and environmental credentials, both inextricably tied to the oil sands.

On the same day a group of environmental activists performed acrobatics and unfurled banners atop the Calgary Tower, urging governments to restrain the oil industry and closing off three blocks of downtown traffic, Stelmach was preparing to meet Canada’s nine other provincial premiers and three territorial leaders.

He rolled out a multimedia package, including CDs and DVDs, making a case for Alberta’s C$2 billion commitment to carbon capture and storage and its regulations to curb oil sands waste ponds and water consumption.

In the process, Stelmach delivered a blunt message — the oil sands will create thousands of jobs and generate C$307 billion in tax revenues across Canada over the next 25 years, money other provinces can use to support their spending programs.

“It’s all about jobs and it’s all about tax revenue that will flow to the federal government and the provinces,” he said.

No surprise, then, that some of his peers have offered a more positive view of the oil sands, notably Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who said he has been “falsely” accused of raising concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from development of northern Alberta’s bitumen deposits.

“I want a national system that will be equitable in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Period,” he said.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall rebuffed accusations that his province and Alberta have spotty environmental records, noting that Alberta has led North America in placing a carbon levy on large emitters, while both are promoting carbon capture and storage technology.

“We can talk about new structures and capping this and taxing that. The answers will come from technology, I believe, in the long term,” he said. “We stand with Alberta.”

But those two allies have not yet fully gained the support of other provinces, such as Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, who are the driving forces in the push for a national cap-and-trade system — a strategy Stelmach said is, pure and simple, a raid on Alberta’s revenue.

He said Canada already has a program involving the transfer of revenues from the rich provinces to the poor. “We’re not going to have another one, especially if it’s based on some sort of cap-and-trade scheme,” Stelmach said.

So, his emerging sales skills may yet face their toughest test.

—Gary Park

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