Joe Perkins of Stoel Rives and I have been working with Law Seminars International over the last couple of months to put together a conference on oil, gas and mining investment in Alaska. With the passage of SB 21, oil & gas investors once again are giving Alaska projects a hard look. While dipping recently, long term increases in prices have done the same on the mining side.
The conference is an effort to provide a forum for discussing the issues surrounding investment in Alaska. The goal is to help current and potential investors better understand the current investment climate in these sectors, and to provide a forum to discuss the gains made to date, and the additional work that remains to be done, to help bring additional focus to Alaskan opportunities. Continue reading
Those of you who read these pages will know that I am transitioning from my role as Partner and Co-Head of the Oil & Gas Practice at Perkins Coie, LLP, to my own consulting firm effective at the beginning of June (now, just 6 days away). I am looking forward to the transition and having more time to focus on, write about — and work to provide leadership on — what I believe are important issues facing Alaska. This week I agreed, for example, to move from a bi-monthly to regular monthly column in the Alaska Business Monthly effective July 1, and expand the column to include fiscal issues.
In the course of starting to pack up, however, I learned that Perkins Coie once again has been named by Chambers and Partners, a firm that provides global rankings of firms and lawyers, as one of the top law firms in Alaska for “Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries.” Their summary of the firm’s Alaska practice in the area: Continue reading
After considerable thought, I have come to the conclusion it’s time to act on something that has been moving from the back to the front of my mind over the past few months – departing my current role as Partner and Co-Chair of the Oil & Gas Practice at Perkins Coie, LLP and opening my own Alaska-based and focused oil and gas consulting firm.
In my opinion, Perkins Coie is in the top tier of Alaska law firms and it has been an honor over the past five years to partner not only with some of the most skilled lawyers in Alaska, but also the nation. Eric Fjelstad, the Managing Partner of the firm’s Anchorage office, is the best environmental and resource project lawyer with whom it has been my privilege to work at any point in my career and I look forward to continuing that relationship as future opportunities arise.
But there are certain limitations that come with that territory. Continue reading
As reported on these pages, yesterday the Government of Norway announced that it was increasing its oil tax rate a moderate amount. In reporting on the increase we explained that it had to do mostly with the Government’s attempt to balance activity between the country’s petroleum and non-petroleum sectors and warned that the increase had very little relevance to Alaska’s continuing debate over oil taxes.
Indeed, if there is any relevance, the Government’s action re-enforces Alaska’s use of oil taxes to affect economic activity.
As reported in the story by Financial Times on the increase, and as we explained in the column yesterday, the Government is enacting the tax increase consciously in order to slow activity in the oil sector. ”Projects in Norway’s offshore sector, which accounts for a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product, have run into huge delays and cost overruns, reducing government revenue ….” Continue reading
As noted on these pages previously, I write a bi-monthly column on oil & gas issues for the Alaska Business Monthly. This is the sixth column, originally published in the May 2013 print edition and available online here.
Alaskans heard the word “investment” a great deal during the recent legislative session. They likely will hear more of the word in the months and years ahead as the state continues efforts to bring increased investment to the North Slope, and others evaluate whether those efforts are successful.
In that context I thought it would be useful to write a column on oil investment.
To do that, I have borrowed a chart from a company called Petoro. Those who read my January column (“Alaska Oil Policy: Achieving Alignment,” Alaska Business Monthly, Jan. 2013), will recognize Petoro as the arm of the Norwegian government engaged in co-investment with industry in the development of that country’s oil and gas resources. I chose to use a chart from Petoro because it is viewed largely as a neutral entity, not likely to tilt the information playing field one direction or another. Continue reading
I should have realized something was happening yesterday morning when I started receiving emails about my morning blog post on the UAA controversy shortly after it was published. I hardly ever receive email on a blog post and certainly not so quickly after it is posted. But first there was one, and then there were more emails, some providing leads on where I should look next.
By the end of the day, the number of hits to the blog set an all-time record (over 200 in total, 184 on the UAA post alone) and I had received more emails than on any previous topic. All were supportive; none were critical of the piece or attempted to defend Chancellor Case or Dr. Cobb.
Now, I don’t claim to be a citizen journalist and the time that I have to spend on these posts is limited, but after looking at some of the things I was sent — all from people in Alaska — I would say that the issue of UAA funding — and whether Dr. Cobb or the legislative appropriations process deserves credit for UAA’s DII success — is a target rich environment. Continue reading
Readers of these pages will be familiar with the recent controversy surrounding University of Alaska-Anchorage Athletic Director Dr. Steve Cobb. If not, a quick grounding is available from the Anchorage Daily News (see ”State hockey association approves vote of no confidence in UAA athletic director,” Apr. 20, 2013, and “Former players issue vote of no-confidence in UAA athletic director,” Apr. 23, 2013).
I have written during the week on this page (and my shorter takes blog) about the significance of the controversy from the perspective of Alaska fiscal policy. This issue has arisen at a time when the central question facing Alaska state government increasingly is “where can we cut the state budget.”
The University system is a significant consumer of state spending and this situation raises the question of whether the University is doing all that it can to limit its call on state funds. As I wrote in an earlier piece, athletics is often a front door through which potentially significant private donors enter a university. Continue reading
As those who follow my Twitter and Facebook pages already know, sometimes I come across articles or commentary that I find of interest, but which don’t necessarily make it onto these pages because of either time or space limitations. I do, however, post or link to them on those sites and, over time, they have developed something of a following of their own.
To help bring some focus to the branding, I have set up a Facebook page for “Thoughts on Alaska Oil & Gas,” where I will post links and comments to such articles and commentary in the future. I also have put a link to both that page and my Twitter on the right hand side of this blog, which will carry the most recent posts and a link if readers are interested in more. For those interested in fiscal policy, I contribute occasionally to a Facebook group, “Alaskans for a Sustainable Budget,” which some readers also may find of interest.
This evening the Institute of the North’s Lead North is hosting one of its periodic “engage dinners” for young professionals. This evening’s topic is the following:
What impact does Alaska’s fiscal policy have on our everyday lives and our future?
The specifics are available here.
Senator Anna Fairclough is the featured speaker; I am doing a 15 minute introduction to the topic before she starts.
After thinking about it, I have decided I can do an introduction to Alaska Fiscal Policy in two slides. We’ll see how it goes ….
A piece yesterday morning in the Anchorage Daily News reports on a vote of “no confidence” passed Saturday by the Alaska State Hockey Association (ASHA) in University of Alaska – Anchorage Athletic Director Dr. Steve Cobb.
In a resolution sent to a range of university and state leaders, the association cited the steady decline of UAA hockey and claimed repeated efforts to reach out to the university’s athletic department and hockey coaches have been “systematically met with callous indifference.”
This piece follows a blog post in Saturday’s online version of the ADN by long-time sports writer Doyle Woody commenting critically on the “search committee” recently established by UAA to identify a new hockey coach.
The problem people appear to have with the committee is that it does not include a member of the hockey program’s alumni or the hockey community, two groups severely alienated from UAA hockey. … at a time when UAA hockey is in severe decline — consecutive last-place finishes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and attendance plummeting so badly Continue reading