Elwood Brehmer

Walker looks to Legislature to finally use Fund to fix budget gap

A paramount year is shaping up for Alaska.

The state is on the precipice of turning to the Permanent Fund for government revenue in addition to its previous sole outlays for dividend payments.

The fate of the Alaska LNG Project will likely be known by the year’s end.

Another battle is brewing between conservation and development interests, this time over salmon habitat protections.

And it’s an election year.

Gov. Bill Walker discussed a few of the year’s pressing topics in a Dec. 22 interview with the Journal.

New plays add 8.7B barrels to NPR-A oil estimate

And back the pendulum swings.

U.S. Geological Survey again officially believes it is likely the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska holds billions of barrels of recoverable oil, according to its updated resource assessment released Dec. 22.

Pebble finally files for permits

The Pebble Limited Partnership has long been criticized for many things, but as of Dec. 22 that list no longer includes failure to file for environmental permits.

Pebble and its Vancouver-based parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals filed for a Clean Water Act Section 404 wetlands fill permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Major Alaska resource projects face crucial year in 2018

The upcoming year will be a telling year for several of Alaska’s prospective development projects, starting with the biggest: the $40 billion-plus Alaska LNG Project.

State changes course, approves Pt. Thomson plan on “new information”

State Natural Resources officials approved ExxonMobil’s long-term plan of development to grow the Point Thomson gas field Friday after getting a letter from the companies Alaska leaders that caused the state to change course, according to the approval documents.

Anchorage utilities, mayor announce $1B consolidation deal

Anchorage’s mayor and electric utilities will ask the city’s voters to approve a $1 billion deal that would consolidate the two utilities and save ratepayers “hundreds of millions of dollars” over many years, according to utility officials.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the leaders of Chugach Electric Association and Municipal Light and Power held a joint press briefing Thursday morning to announce their plan for Chugach to buy city-owned ML&P for roughly the $1 billion figure.

Pebble Partnership to finally file permit application

The Pebble Limited Partnership has long been criticized for many things, but as of Friday that list will no longer include failure to file for environmental permits.

Pebble and its Vancouver-based parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals announced Thursday their plans to file for a Clean Water Act Section 404 wetlands fill permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, Dec. 22.

Tax overhaul, ANWR heads to Trump’s desk

When President Donald Trump signs the federal tax overhaul into law the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be open to the oil industry.

Most Alaskans are happy about it, some aren’t. In the Lower 48 the public seems more split on the issue, if not slightly against it.

After 37 years of debate, what more is there to say?

YEAR IN REVIEW: Pebble promises permit application after hurdles fall

This was the first good year in a long time for Pebble Limited Partnership and its owner Northern Dynasty Minerals and equally as bad a year for those trying to stop the massive mining project.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Port project, King Cove, Alaska-Virgin merger

Anchorage municipal attorneys settled half of their tangled litigation over the long-failed Port of Anchorage expansion project but it was more of the same for port officials trying to drum up hundreds of millions of dollars for the scaled back but badly needed modernization plan.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Credit program scrapped; Slope discoveries expand

It took six months of debate but the Alaska Legislature ended the state’s refundable oil and gas tax credit program in July — something all sides agreed needed to happen from the get-go.

The lengthy debate mostly centered on the House Majority’s push to link a production tax overhaul and increase to the tax credit legislation.

Pebble prospect owners might have new investor

The owners of the Pebble project are one step closer to securing the investment partner that will be key to advancing the contentious mine, according to Dec. 18 announcements.

Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. has inked what a company press release characterizes as a “framework agreement” with fellow Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Gov’s budget aimed at economic recovery

Gov. Bill Walker’s budget proposal released Dec. 15 focuses on paying down growing state obligations and bolstering Alaska’s economy, actions which administration officials say should in the long run help address the ongoing budget deficits.

House majority won’t push income tax again

Legislative leaders from both parties claimed success when reviewing 2017 despite achieving little to solve the state’s most pressing issue: ongoing multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

Democrat House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and Republican Senate President Pete Kelly spoke about the year’s legislative sessions and their expectations for the upcoming session that starts Jan. 16 to a Dec. 13 lunch gathering of the policy analyst group Commonwealth North in Anchorage.

‘Aggressive’ timeline for AK LNG needs one year for permitting

State gasline officials have made headway of late with potential buyers and investors in the Alaska LNG Project, but progress on the regulatory side has been harder to come by.

The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. filed an environmental impact statement application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, for the $43 billion project in mid-April. At nearly 60,000 pages, AGDC leaders said they believed it to be the largest EIS filing in the history of the National Environmental Policy Act process, which became the federal permitting standard in 1970.

AIDEA approves deal with gas utility for Interior Energy Project

The Interior Energy Project is finally on its way to Fairbanks.

After nearly five years of analysis, negotiations, debate and a wholesale route change, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority on Dec. 7 transferred control of the project to the Interior Gas Utility.

The IGU is owned by the Fairbanks-North Star Borough and will take over the plan to expand natural gas use in the area.

AGDC gets interest from Tokyo, questions from lawmakers

Legislators got their first chance to publicly question Alaska Gasline Development Corp. officials about a recent agreement with Chinese companies to advance an LNG export project during a Dec. 4 hearing.

Meanwhile, AGDC executives in Japan were busy putting the finishing touches on the state-owned corporation’s latest pact to cooperate on developing the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project with potential customers.

ANWR clears Senate, Young named to conference panel

The northern edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is almost open for business after some late maneuvering by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

With the inclusion of Murkowski’s provision to open the ANWR coastal plain to oil exploration in the Senate’s tax reform bill, the Alaska congressional delegation is as close as it has ever been to what would be a landmark victory for the Republicans.

In statements following the Senate’s Dec. 2 early morning vote, they described it as a way to jumpstart Alaska’s economy and improve national security by producing more oil domestically.

Ahtna subsidiary gets reduction in huge fine at Tolsona well

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a response by Ahtna Inc.)

State regulators substantially reduced the penalty issued to an Ahtna Inc. drilling subsidiary to $92,000 in a final order issued Wednesday morning after company leaders admitted to the gas well violations and rectified them.

Doyon keeps up Nenana drilling; touts gas alternative to Cook Inlet

Doyon Ltd. is sticking with its oil and gas exploration program near Nenana.

Despite past challenges, the Interior Alaska Native regional corporation announced Nov. 28 that it plans to drill another exploration well in the frontier basin west of Fairbanks next summer.

The Totchaket-1 well will be drilled based on the results of a 64 square-mile 3D seismic program shot early this year, according to a Doyon release.

Company leaders think their years of exploration around Nenana are close to paying off.

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