Each December for the last several years (I am losing track how many), Mark Johnson, a former Commissioner on the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the General Counsel of Chugach Electric, and I have co-chaired an annual conference on Alaska energy. Our goal consistently has been to attempt to peer into the crystal ball, identify what we believe will be a few of the most important legal and economic issues in the coming year affecting the Alaska oil, gas & electricity sectors and find the best speakers we can on each topic.
While this year was a bit of a challenge given the election cycle — we start working with conference organizer Law Seminars International in the summer to put the conference together — I think once again we managed to get it right. But you can form your own opinion on that by taking a look at the agenda above for this year’s edition.
The following is the promotional email for this year’s conference that will be going out shortly. I post it here for those of you who may be interested and want a quick overview.
The election of Donald Trump as President has the potential to have a profound impact on Alaska’s energy picture. From opening up access to additional lands for resource development, to reducing (or at least not continually adding to) the amount of regulation involved in those activities, to generating new funds for Arctic safety and infrastructure development, the coming, dramatic change in the federal government has the potential to set off a new wave of private and public activity in Alaska.
At the same time, continued challenges facing Alaska at the state level due to low oil prices — and thus, low state revenues — create the potential for an inverse effect. A number of those newly elected to the state legislature appear to support increases in state oil taxes. Elsewhere, some Alaskans are newly questioning applying fracking technology in the Cook Inlet and at least one local columnist has questioned, due to climate change issues, whether Alaska should even be encouraging new exploration and development.
Law Seminars International December 12-13 Comprehensive Conference on Alaska Energy Markets and Regulation is designed to cover all of that. Keynoted on successive days by remarks from Alaska’s US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and featuring members of Governor Walker’s Administration as well as other federal officials, legal and economic experts, legislators and astute industry participants and observers, the Conference will serve as a one-stop shop for taking a deeper dive into the opportunities and issues facing Alaska oil, gas and electricity markets this coming year.