ADN by Pat Forgey. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (NGP Photo) announced Tuesday that he had signed state operating and capital budgets, approving $9.8 billion in spending sought by the Legislature but vetoing a possible $200 million worth of controversial oil tax credits. ...
"It is apparent the current oil and gas production tax credit system is unsustainable," Walker said in a letter Monday to Senate President Kevin Meyer, (NGP Photo), telling him of the veto. He signed the budgets Monday, but didn't publish the final documents or announce his actions until Tuesday afternoon. ...
"I'm glad the governor took appropriate action" on the tax credits, said Rep. David Guttenberg, (NGP Photo), a member of the budget-writing House Finance Committee.
By limiting payment of credits, he said, oil companies will share the pain that Alaskans are facing due to budget cuts.
"It makes everybody involved in this budget crunch that we're dealing with," he said. .... (As if the oil companies weren't already paying the lion's share of state taxes. -dh)
The Governor and his democrat allies would rather raise taxes/cut agreed-upon credits than make meaningful spending cuts. We have also seen signs that odd coalitions involving "moderate republicans" could support that effort.
TransCanada: Alberta's tougher CO2 rules bolster case for Keystone XL
TransCanada: Alberta's tougher CO2 rules bolster case for Keystone XL
AJOC. Jason Walsh has been appointed to lead the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office, effective June 1.
Walsh directs the office tasked with developing and maintaining large-diameter oil and gas pipeline right-of-way leases and lease compliance efforts for multiple pipelines, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
Murkowski Highlights Importance of Alaska’s Energy Resources
Energy Panel Chairman Calls for Upgrade of Nation’s Energy Policies
Washington, D.C. – In the final video introducing the Republican members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska., calls for an upgrade to our nation’s energy policies in order to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure.
Click to view video
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, outlines the mission of the committee as twofold – to ensure that our federal resources are developed for the greatest possible benefit to Americans; and to ensure the proper management and maintenance of most of our nation’s nearly 640 million acres of public land. Murkowski calls her home state of Alaska “a great place to start” when looking for ways to develop our nation’s vast energy potential.
“Our energy economy has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years. We’re no longer talking about scarcity. Our nation has entered an age of energy abundance. We now talk about exporting oil and natural gas. We are on the verge of being a supplier to the world market,” Murkowski says in the video. “As a senator for Alaska…we have every type of energy that you can think of in remarkable abundance. We even have resources – like methane hydrates – that you may not have even heard of. By finding ways to responsibly develop our vast energy potential, both in Alaska and across the country, we can create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our security.”
Sen. Murkowski’s full video statement is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.
It's An Uphill Road For An Alaska LNG Project
Whether most Alaskans appreciate it or not, the best hope for a successful, Alaska LNG project is that Alaska's largest producers support it. Today, we analyze why that so.
Alaskans have consistently supported higher taxes on Alaska's oil companies and higher spending on social services -- with some exceptions.
The Alaska tax and spend model is not unlike the model employed nationally, in Washington D.C., except national leaders are capable of spending more than they take in by merely printing more money.
Ultimately, that model taxes the public via inflation rather than directly, diminishing the value of the money as it lowers the value of individual savings and paychecks.
The beauty of that model is that a future generation pays for the votes attracted by this generation of politicians.
As politicians increase tax levels, their overspending redistributes wealth to some individuals and to supporters able to maintain investments in real estate, land, capital projects and enterprises producing recurring revenue -- investments that benefit from inflation.
It can be and often is an intellectually dishonest, but effective formula for gathering reelection votes from some at the expense of others.
Logically, that concept is unsustainable. The concept is unsustainable because more and more taxation must end at some finite point and because ever higher government spending depends on that finite tax revenue.
As the unsustainable economy approaches, liberal lawmakers have historically found it quite tempting to unfairly demonize companies for not, "paying their fair share", and to embarrass fiscally responsible lawmakers for being, "uncaring and insensitive to the needs of...."
As we'll explain, the day of reckoning has now caught up with Alaska. The state imposes high taxes, is depleting its remaining savings accounts while continuing its spending spree. (No one can say Alaska's leaders were not warned!)
Alaska's elected leaders tasted an addictive elixir of $900 million in bonus bids from the 1969 Prudhoe Bay Lease Sale.
In 1971 Congress approved the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, critical to the approval of a project to transport the immense Prudhoe Bay oil reserve to market.
Congressional approval of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) in 1973, by the tie breaking vote of Vice President Spiro Agnew, coincided with mid eastern turmoil, including the Arab oil embargo and a later takeover of Iran's monarchy by Islamic extremists, still in power.
So, oil prices remained high, for a time.
Alaska's government spending and tax policies were mostly controlled by democrats and a few liberal republicans during the decades of the seventies and eighties, when the high oil prices magnified the value of high production, around 2 million barrels per day.
Yes, the former 'pioneering state' had now become addicted to a growth in income and spending phenomenon that is probably unique in the history of American states. (Other states, because of the blessing of advanced 'fracking technology' are encountering tax and spend challenges, too.) We believe none have reached the level of tax and spend excesses adopted by Alaska -- though Alaska could serve as a role model for the need to avoid unsustainable tax and spend policies.
When oil prices began to fall in the mid-eighties, many oil field and support industry employees -- and those dependent upon them -- left the state. However, production was still strong and the state pretty much continued its march toward becoming the most attractive welfare state in the nation. We are not aware of any significant social program anywhere that is not replicated in Alaska, and, at a high per capita cost.
From the 80s onward, Alaska has became the highest per capita taxing and spending state and with the highest number of not-for-profit organizations per capita in the U.S., a vast number of which came to depend on government largess -- 90% funded by oil taxes.
- more moderate climate and terrain
- more inexpensive logistical costs
- better proximity to the markets
- gas reserves closer to LNG tidewater facilities (i.e. no cost for an 800 mile Arctic/Sub Arctic pipeline)
- lower labor costs
- lower political risks
· There are many global players trying to enter the market, including over 35 projects seeking ground-breaking in North America
· Prices of the underlying commodities have slipped dramatically. This includes crude oil (Far Eastern LNG is linked to oil prices), natural gas for LNG, and land-based gas deliveries
· Japanese nuclear power is re-emerging after being shut down, and China (among others) are seeking more nuclear plants
· The rate of demand for power appears to be slowing, in keeping with slower global economic growth (see charts below)
A report CITI crossed our desk today, which underlines (and adds to the count of) growing pains being felt by the global LNG market. In particular, this raises serious questions about the ability of LNG exports from the US to have much impact on raising the price structure for domestic natural gas.
Dave Harbour, publisher of Northern Gas Pipelines, is a former Chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and a Commissioner Emeritus of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He served as NARUC's official representative to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). Harbour is past Chairman of the Alaska Council on Economic Education, former Chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and past President of the American Bald Eagle Foundation and the Alaska Press Club. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.
Opinions or viewpoints expressed in this webpage or in our email alerts are solely those of the publisher and in no way reflect the opinion(s) of any affiliated company, person, employer or other organization.
Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop commented this morning on a decision by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming to grant a stay of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. As a result of the decision, compliance with BLM's rule, which was originally intended to go into effect on June 24th, has been delayed until early August.
“This is a rule based on fear not facts that favors Washington bureaucracy over progress and science. The DOE and the EPA have both found fracturing safe yet the propagandist scare tactics go on. The ballooning lawsuits are an obvious sign of flawed policy. Back to the drawing board for BLM would be an understatement. The regulation is fundamentally wrong and should be ended entirely. The U.S. District Court of Wyoming’s decision to grant this stay is a positive step in that direction.”