An excellent discussion between Steve Coll and Steve Heimel of APRN’s “Talk of Alaska,” focused on Exxon’s role and position in the state.
One of Coll’s observations: “ExxonMobil has this attitude they want low political risk and high political stability. That suits their very rigid, long term business model. And, they regard Alaska as a place that they just can’t seem to figure out politically. They often talk about Alaska the same way they talk about other political environments they can’t seem to manage.”
To the same point from the book, talking about the early years of the second Bush Administration:
Compared with other oil majors, however, ExxonMobil was no longer a dominant player inside the United States. Chevron had inherited some of the longest-lived of Standard Oil’s American oil properties, in California, and Chevron and British Petroleum had moved more boldly than Exxon into the Gulf of Mexico when leasing opened during the Clinton administration. Exxon had opportunities to exploit oil and natural gas in Alaska, but held back from some expensive deals because Raymond had learned after the Valdez that the political risks posed by Alaska’s frontier-minded political culture and populist governors were comparable to those in West Africa.
Interested in Alaska oil policy? This interview offers an excellent insight into an important piece of the puzzle.