Monthly Archives: April 2013

Alaska Oil Policy| Understanding Investment (the sixth in the Alaska Business Monthly Series, from the May 2013 edition)

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.

Petoro Investment Cycle Slide 2Alaskans 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.

The Chart

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

Recognition …

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

Alaska Fiscal Policy| Follow the money …

College fundraisingReaders 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

… and now, a Facebook page

Thoughts on Alaska Oil Gas Logo

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.

Alaska Fiscal Policy| Fiscal Policy in two slides …

Lead North

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 ….

Alaska Fiscal Policy| Unintended consequences …

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

Alaska Oil| New UK oil policy a must read …

uk-oil-and-gas-industrial-strategy (March 2013)Running some distance ahead of Alaska, the United Kingdom (UK) recently has been shaping a new oil and gas policy in response to declining North Sea production.

The UK hit a low point of its relationship with the industry with the announcement in 2011 of a new tax system that increased taxes on revenues from new investments (to 62%), on old oil production (to 81%), and significantly reduced the deduction for decommissioning costs — an important factor in the UK North Sea.

Industry response was swift and significant.  Efforts to extend old fields and investments in new fields were cancelled and investor confidence in the UK system plunged. Continue reading

Alaska Fiscal Policy| Another troubling data point …

Pages from SB 21 Modified Slides Econone 4-10-2013 (4)

Yesterday, EconOne, the Administration’s consultants on oil tax reform, presented an extended analysis to the House Finance Committee of anticipated state revenue levels under various oil tax scenarios.  See Modified Slides EconOne 4-10-2013 (Apr. 10, 2013).  The analysis projects, under various assumptions, anticipated state revenues from SB 21 compared with ACES over the next 30 years.

The analysis is intended to — and does somewhat — bolster the case for SB 21, the Governor’s proposed oil tax reform.  The analysis shows that, with a Continue reading

The one “must have” of oil tax reform … and it’s not in the bill now

Econ One Presentation For House Finance (4-06-13) 12After reviewing yesterday the presentations made Saturday in the House Finance Committee on the newest version of SB 21, HCS SB 21 (RES) (the House Resources Committee Substitute), I have become convinced of one thing — at some point some of the provisions included in the CS will produce unintended consequences, portions of the bill will become obsolete and Alaska’s competitiveness will suffer.

That should not be taken as a negative comment on the current CS.  It has been developed in response to significant concerns expressed before House Continue reading

Alaska Oil Policy| On the Glen Biegel Show Today (Apr 8)

Glen Biegel SHow (Apr 8, 2013)Today at 4:30pm, I will be on the Glen Biegel Show  to discuss where things appear to be headed on oil (and budget) issues in the last week of the regular session.  

In Anchorage, dial in at AM 700; if not in range, click here for the webcast, or on your laptop, smartphone or tablet, click on here at Tune In Radio,