Daily Archives: August 13, 2011

Alaska Oil| Misreading the Signals

Senator Joe Paskvan (D-Fairbanks) issued a press release yesterday in response to an article that appeared in this week’s edition of Petroleum News (“North Slope Booms:  Upcoming exploration drilling season shaping up to be busiest in decades“).  Sen. Paskvan’s press release includes the following statements:

It appears that Alaska’s tax credits under its production tax system are working to promote capital expenditures, including new exploration wells. Good news for the industry and the state, which relies upon the industry for revenues to its treasury. Exploration should mean increased oil production and increased throughput down the pipeline.

The names of the well drillers may not be familiar to many Alaskans. They include Great Bear Petroleum, Linc Energy, Repsol, Brooks Range Petroleum and UltraStar. This is strong evidence that the independents in the oil industry are both looking at Alaska as a place to do business and that they are actually coming to Alaska to develop our abundant oil resources.

This is good news, but I do not want to be overly optimistic until I have the opportunity to talk directly with the companies.  As we all know, there is always the potential for a gap between the plan and the performance.   I hope that the Alaska public will join me in learning more about today’s announcement.

The caution reflected in the last paragraph is highly appropriate.  Some observers are beginning badly to misread the signals that are being sent by recent developments and Senator Paskvan should be careful about falling into that group. Continue reading