As the campaign for governor enters its final days, both candidates are focusing on the future of Alaska oil. That is a good thing, because as Gov. Parnell admits, “oil remains the backbone of Alaska’s economy” and that backbone is weakening rapidly.
By now, most are familiar with the basic statistics. Oil provides roughly ninety percent of state government general fund revenues and is responsible for one-third of the Alaska jobs.
Most also are familiar with the fact that oil production from the North Slope is down more than two-thirds since its peak in the late 1980s, and continuing to decline at a fairly rapid rate.
What many are not aware of, however, is how rapidly the decline is occurring. Continue reading