Created by the Alaska Dispatch, “The Concerned” is, to quote the person who channels it, “a fictional, collective persona (based loosely on the Alaskan Zeitgeist) which petitions various people and institutions on behalf of itself. Think Star Trek’s ‘The Borg,’ then add a sense of absurdist humor. The Concerned’s oil and gas petitions, in particular, are based on the idea that Alaska’s simultaneous dependence on and mistrust of the oil industry is a paradox, as are the opposing corporate and government mandates in regard to the resource.”
In that vein, The Concerned recently wrote to the Alaska Oil & Gas Association, suggesting that the state’s oil industry provide “exploration certainty,” in exchange for “fiscal certainty.” The following is a reaction to give The Concerned something to read, while it stands by the mailbox waiting on a reply.
Your letter of March 18th raises an interesting question. While I certainly am not the intended recipient – and can only speak for myself on these issues – I thought I would throw in two cents while you stand at the mailbox waiting for the real response.
Your letter suggests that, in exchange for “fiscal certainty” related to the state’s take of oil and gas revenues (presumably, at a level reflecting the pre-ACES levels), the oil companies in Alaska provide “exploration certainty.”
There are several challenges with “exploration certainty,” but one of the most significant is that, in the current environment, it leaves the companies at risk if, after giving “fiscal certainty” a try for awhile, the state again changes its mind, once the additional exploration investment has been made, and reverts to higher taxes the next time oil prices rise. Continue reading