The Energy Non-Crisis of Natural Gas: A Startling Prediction Comes True
Again it was 1976, and I had only a few more weeks to stay in Prudhoe Bay before leaving the construction phase of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. It was almost completed, and my work as Chaplain was virtually over. I watched the last flotilla that came to Prudhoe Bay in 1976, and I saw them bring in monstrous buildings and equipment, the size of which I had never seen before. It was equipment driven by huge turbines, such as with huge jet engines. I saw sophisticated equipment, including huge separating tanks that had been especially designed and coated inside and out for the separating of the crude oil and the natural gas as it came up from the wells.
I watched monstrous-sized burns. They were not allowed to flare and burn the natural gas as they used to do years ago with the oil, but now I watched a burn so immense that the amount of cubic feet of gas that it could burn each hour was mind-boggling. After the pipeline construction phase was over, Mr. X and I happened to be talking one day (I still lived in Alaska as a missionary and we were visiting), and I asked him what they were going to do with the natural gas that came from the Prudhoe Bay oil field.
Mr. X said, "Chaplain, do you remember all those huge pumps, and the large separating tanks, and those four-story buildings that were brought in on the flotilla of 1976? Do you remember that injection station? Do you happen to remember all those extra wells that were being dug—over by Atlantic Richfield's main complex? And do you remember that huge flare not far from there, that was flared out across the water of the Arctic Ocean, because they won't allow us to flare into the air like they used to do?"
I said, "Yes, Mr. X, I do remember all that. I saw it just before I left. In fact, one of the men took me over to the building and showed me through it. I could hardly believe the size of those huge containers inside those huge buildings they called 'separators'."
"Well," he said, "Chaplain, we've been promised that we could produce that natural gas. We've been promised that the Federal government would allow us to build a natural gas pipeline down the same corridor from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and there to liquefy the natural gas. That was the original proposal, and we have built the pipeline down the corridor with the intent of carrying the natural gas line, as well. It was to be taken down the corridor from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, then liquefied and taken out by ship to the lower 48 states. Then it was to be regasified, and eventually sent by pipeline all across America."
I said, "Yes, Mr. X, I remember that was the proposal. In fact, there are still many hundreds of men in Alaska right now who are here for the purpose of being a part of the construction job to build that natural gas pipeline. I remember the technicians and the engineers telling me in each of the work camps that they expected the natural gas pipeline to be constructed very shortly. Most of them were expecting that project to start just as quickly as this project ended."
"Yes," Mr. X said, "That project was to start on the heels of this one, but I am predicting now, Chaplain, that the natural gas of the Prudhoe Bay oil field will never be produced."
I said, "Mr. X, don't I remember you telling me one time—about two years ago—that there was a plentiful amount of natural gas right in the Prudhoe Bay oil field alone?"
"Yes," Mr. X answered, "There's enough natural gas on the North Slope of Alaska to provide the entire United States with natural gas for the next two hundred years. If every other natural gas well in America were shut off, there would still be enough natural gas on the North Slope to provide for the total projected natural gas needs for all of the United States for 200 years.
That is based on the present calculated rate of consumption and the expected increased consumption year by year —there's still enough there to provide all the projected needs of the United States for 200 years."
"Well," I commented, "Mr. X, we've been told there was a natural gas shortage, as well as an oil crisis."
Mr. X kind of laughed, "Chaplain, that natural gas pipeline will never be built."
I asked him, "What are you doing with the natural gas at Prudhoe Bay? That gas comes out of the ground right along with the oil. You have to do something with it."
He told me, "Yes, Chaplain, we have to do something with it. We cannot burn it—they will not allow us to. Therefore, it is costing us millions and millions of dollars to build huge facilities, and to drill additional wells and to provide huge injection pumps to pump that natural gas back into the ground. We are pumping the same gas back into the same field that it came from, at many, many cubic feet per day."
"Well," I reflected, "It would be no trouble to build a natural gas pipeline down the same corridor, and to bring the natural gas to America. After all, it is already available—the well has already been drilled, and the corridor itself is available. The pump stations and all the facilities are already here. Even the camps would soon be ready to be occupied again."
Mr. X agreed. Then he gave a startling prediction that came true only a few months later.
You who read this book should mark it clearly in your own mind, for it is very significant. He made the projection that President Carter would have a choice as to which way the natural gas pipeline would be constructed. It could be built down the same present corridor, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, then liquefied in Valdez and taken out by ship to the lower 48 states, or President Carter would have the alternative of having the natural gas pipeline built across Canada. That would be over 3,000 miles to the United States (3,000 miles of pipe across another country, rather than 800 miles of pipe across an already existing corridor down one of our own states).
Mr. X said, "Chaplain, I predict that when the President comes to the time of his choice, he will choose that the natural gas pipeline must be built across Canada, and that it cannot by any circumstances be built across Alaska, liquefied, taken to the West coast, and then distributed across America."
I was confused and asked, "Why do you predict that? What is the significance of that?"
He answered, "Within 6 months time we could be producing natural gas for America, down the present corridor which has already been built for it. The natural gas could go down the same route that has been used for the Prudhoe Bay oil. A natural gas pipeline could be built down that corridor within six months, and a liquefaction plant in Valdez could be built in a few months, because everything is ready to go. Within a matter of months the natural gas could be distributed across the entire United States, with the addition of a few cross-country pipelines. If that were done, there would never be any crisis of natural gas in all the lower 48 states of America, and that could all be accomplished within a matter of a few months." He paused, "But Chaplain, if the President chooses to take the natural gas pipeline across Canada, it will never be built."
Again I pressed him for an answer: "But sir, why could it never be built?"
He told me, "First of all, the reason it will never be built is that with the rate of inflation in America today and around the world, there is no consortium of gas companies in the world that could afford to build that pipeline. They could not raise that kind of money. Chaplain, the red tape that is involved, and the approval by Canada, for that pipeline to be built across their country rule it out-plus, of course, the royalties that Canada would require of us. There is no way the red tape and all the other details would be completed in your lifetime or mine, to carry that pipeline across Canada."
Then I asked, "Mr. X, are you trying to tell me that President Carter and his advisors intentionally chose for that pipeline to go across Canada, because he wanted to stop that gas from reaching the lower 48 states?"
Mr. X looked back at me and said, "Chaplain, that is exactly right." So that natural gas from the Prudhoe Bay oil field—a field that could provide the entire United States with gas for 200 years—will never reach the lower 48 and our big cities. The reason is that the government has deliberately chosen that it will not reach the people of America.
I said, "But
Sir, surely the government officials must care something for our people?"
Then I said, "Mr.
X, could this also be possibly a part of the great plot—to somehow
shorten the life of the Prudhoe Bay oil field, because they will not
allow the natural gas to be taken off and used, or to be burned?"
He said, "After so many years we will have to inject water into the ground, and hope we can keep up the pressure of the field to the point where we can maintain production over the number of years that we have projected that the oil field can produce."
So what about natural gas? No, it will never reach America.
And what about Alaska? You guessed it! Morris Udahl's bill came along, so now we will take most of the land in Alaska, and lock it up in wilderness areas for all time and eternity. This was just one more part of the great plan to lock up all the energy that is so abundant in the North Slope of Alaska. The D-2 land bill has passed, the natural resources can never be produced. It can never be drilled, and it can never be used. We will never be allowed in to find out more, to make the tests to see what is there. They say it is being preserved for our future generations. Future generations? With the technology of today, you mean we cannot develop some alternative means of supplying energy? . . . even when we have at least enough (with crude oil and natural gas) to supply our nation's energy needs for generations ahead from just a few pools of oil on the North Slope of Alaska? What is the real answer? If a satisfactory alternate energy source cannot be discovered and developed in that length of time, it's because nobody is trying .. . or somebody doesn't want one found!
Not only has the crude oil been lied about, but now the natural gas has been stopped, too. You as "John Doe American Consumer" will not be allowed to burn that cheap natural gas. It could be in your home in time for the next winter if only private enterprise were allowed to go in and produce what they have already drilled into. Within six months they could be moving it down the same Alaskan corridor as the oil ... as they were originally promised they could do.