Elwood Brehmer

As habitat initiative debate swirls, ADFG outlines current best practices

The Alaska Supreme Court will still have its say, but there’s a good chance voters will be asked whether or not the state should overhaul its permitting regime for construction projects impacting salmon habitat.

It’s the latest battle in the ongoing debate over how far the state should go to protect its prized fish resources while at the same time promoting development of the state’s renowned petroleum and mineral resources.

Interior leaders talk progress on priorities after year under Trump

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke introduced himself and his department’s priorities to Alaskans in person last May when he said the state is a lynchpin to achieving American energy dominance.

Deputy Interior Secretary Dave Bernhardt and Assistant Secretary Joe Balash, a former Alaska Natural Resources commissioner, were back in Anchorage March 8 to report on the progress of Interior’s work during the first year of the Trump administration.

FERC sets December 2019 deadline for AK LNG review

Federal officials analyzing the plans for the Alaska LNG Project issued a timeline March 12 that would extend the review about a year beyond what state officials were hoping for.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Secretary Kimberly Bose signed off on the environmental impact statement schedule that calls for the agency to issue a Notice of Availability for the final Alaska LNG Project EIS by Dec. 9, 2019. The subsequent record of decision would then be made by March 8, 2020, within the required 90-day period after the final EIS is published.

Feds change course, pick Alaska’s choice for Sterling Hwy re-route

There finally appears to be a resolution to the saga over how best to avoid Cooper Landing.

Gov. Bill Walker was joined Wednesday in the Capitol by Kenai Peninsula legislators Sen. Peter Micciche and Rep. Gary Knopp, to watch DOT Commissioner Marc Luiken and Alaska Federal Highway Administration head Sandra Garcia-Aline sign a final environmental impact statement for the Cooper Landing bypass project and bring the project one big step closer to reality.

Oil sector leads construction spending rebound

The last couple years have been tough for Alaska contractors.

While it took about two years to really be felt as money on large multi-year and preplanned projects continued to be spent, the precipitous fall of oil prices in late 2014 led to construction spending declines of 18 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017 year-over-year.

Not only did the price collapse hit contractors working in the state’s oil fields, but state capital spending has all-but disappeared since the oil revenues the State of Alaska relies on dried up as well.

LNG tank construction a sign of progress for Interior gas project

Backhoes are back digging in south Fairbanks as construction work is again underway on the Interior Energy Project.

Ground-turning work on the effort to expand the natural gas supply to the region had been on hold since the summer of 2015 as IEP leaders looked revise the scope of the project in the face of challenging economics brought on by lower oil prices. The last physical work on the project involved laying gas distribution lines in North Pole and Fairbanks.

Walker puts out call to join trade mission to China

Who wants to take a trip with the governor?

At a March 5 press conference in Anchorage, Gov. Bill Walker said his office is looking for business leaders interested in participating in a trade mission to China this spring.

The weeklong business trip, scheduled for May 19-26, is the governor’s attempt to continue building off of a stop in Anchorage last April by China President Xi Jinping and Chinese cabinet officials.

House budget slashes credits, inflation-proofing, adds $19M for UA

The House is getting ready to vote on the operating budget and three perennially contentious issues were addressed in Finance Committee amendments to Gov. Bill Walker’s budget proposal.

The House Finance Committee spent much of Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 debating amendments to Walker’s $4.5 billion 2019 fiscal year operating budget proposal.

Finance co-chair Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, said public testimony on the House version of the budget would be taken March 1-3 and the budget would move to the floor for a vote by the middle of the month.

Cost estimate drops for Ambler mining prospect

The company that has led exploration in the Ambler mining district is now shifting to develop its primary prospect after many years of work.

Trilogy Metals released a pre-feasibility study for its project at the Arctic prospect in Northwest Alaska with a higher initial capital estimates cost but a lower overall cost Feb. 20.

Formerly NovaCopper Inc., Vancouver-based Trilogy Metals changed its name in 2016 to reflect the multi-metal deposits the company holds.

Senate committee takes up Walker’s bill to retire oil tax credits

Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to clear the state’s books of nearly $1 billion in oil industry tax credits is generating a lot of interest but also plenty of “what ifs.”

The Senate Resources Committee took up Senate Bill 176, which would have the state sell bonds to pay off the credits, for the first time Feb. 21.

Administration officials characterized the proposal as a cost-neutral way to pay off the credits immediately while hopefully spurring industry activity and at least partially restoring the state’s business credibility.

Modular processing facilities aimed at small Slope fields

North Slope oil has historically been a game of making big discoveries needed to justify big development costs, but a team of NANA WorleyParsons engineers is trying to rewrite that playbook.

Kairos LLC, a subsidiary of NANA WorleyParsons, has developed what company leaders believe could turn small or otherwise marginal North Slope oil finds into productive members of the state economy.

Kairos is a Greek term for “a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action,” according to Merriam-Webster.

Young, Murkowski talk immigration, infrastructure, Tongass and pot

The Presidents’ Day recess in Congress gave the Journal an opportunity to sit down with two-thirds of Alaska’s congressional delegation.

Rep. Don Young stressed the need to update the nation’s infrastructure, from bridges to icebreakers, and the means to pay for it during a Feb. 19 interview at the Journal office.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski highlighted her ongoing efforts to repeal the Roadless Rule in the state as a way to provide Southeast communities with more economic options.

State gets incomplete grade from FERC

While Alaska Gasline Development Corp. officials often tout the reams-worth of documents they’ve submitted to federal regulators for the Alaska LNG Project, those regulators responded with a letter Feb. 15 contending the state agency has refused to send information imperative to analyzing the $43 billion megaproject.

FERC says gasline filings still incomplete

While Alaska Gasline Development Corp. officials often tout the reams-worth of study documents they’ve submitted to federal regulators on the Alaska LNG Project, those regulators responded with a letter Thursday contending the state agency has refused to send information imperative to analyzing the $43 billion megaproject.

Optimism for 90-day session begins to fade

The optimism that this year would be different than the previous three is starting to wear off just four weeks into the legislative session.

Most legislators are still saying, at least publicly, that they are confident this year’s work can be done in 90 days and not drag into June or July as has become the norm during the continuous political battle over how to fix the state’s multibillion-dollar deficits.

House committee approves increase in spill penalties

Legislation to increase penalties for fuel and oil spills is on the move in the House.

The House Resources Committee sent House Bill 322 to the Finance Committee Feb. 12 for consideration.

The bill, drafted primarily by Resources co-chair Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, would double most penalties the Department of Environmental Conservation can levy against spillers of oil, fuels and other hazardous substances including vessel waste water.

88 Energy adds to winter exploration program

A small Australian company will soon be adding to what is turning out to be a robust exploration season on the North Slope.

88 Energy received regulatory approval from the Division of Oil and Gas Feb. 5 to drill two exploration wells in a remote portion of the southern North Slope near the upper Kuparuk River.

Working under its operating subsidiary Accumulate Energy Alaska Inc., the company plans to drill and test the Bravo-1 and Charlie-1 oil exploration wells by April 30, according to its exploration plan submitted to Oil and Gas.

ISER: recession hitting downstream industries

A pair of new reports from the University of Alaska Anchorage indicate job losses are slowing but Alaska’s recession might not be over and current state spending levels might not be out of line when other factors are considered.

Alaska’s recession didn’t officially start until sometime in the latter half of 2015, but economic contraction in the state seemed almost inevitable when oil prices began falling about a year earlier in August 2014.

Senate Republicans reject Walker pick for District E seat

It’s back to square one in the process to replace former Mat-Su Sen. Mike Dunleavy.

Senate Republicans announced early Feb. 14 that they rejected Gov. Bill Walker’s appointment of Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assemblyman Randall Kowalke, a Republican from Willow, to fill the Senate District E seat.

Walker stirred the political pot Feb. 9 when he picked Kowalke because he was not one of the three individuals local Republican Party representatives selected for the governor to pick Dunleavy’s replacement from.

BP bounces back from 2016 with $3.4B profit in 2017

While BP Alaska leaders are celebrating the success of stemming production decline from the aging Prudhoe Bay oil field despite belt-tightening in the industry, the company’s global executives on Feb. 6 celebrated the announcement of a $3.4 billion profit in 2017.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Elwood Brehmer