VOLUME 34, NUMBER 5
Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co.
Managing Editor Kathryn Mackenzie
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FROM THE EDITOR
Oil and Gas in the
49th State: Hope
on the Horizon
Alaska was purchased by the United States more than 150 years ago, due in part—even then—to an understanding of the state’s ignificant potential. When Alaska was under consideration for
statehood, one of the arguments to welcome what would become the
49th state was this land’s almost unfathomable resources. The Trans
Alaska Pipeline System, since its completion, has served as an economic artery for the state, with oil and gas building our industries and
our communities. Historically in Alaska, as oil busts we hurt, and as it
booms we prosper.
The oil and gas industry, through direct and indirect jobs, remains a
key part of Alaska’s economy. Policy, production, tax credits, and price
weigh heavily on the minds of all involved in this vast and complicated
industry. What’s the next great discovery, or is there one? Even if there is,
will it be economic for production? Alaska’s most recent oil finds are still
in development infancy with no guarantee that they will translate into
additional oil in the pipeline. While state government wrings its hands
and worries over budget, what investments are on the horizon to ensure oil and gas companies continue to explore and invest?
Despite questions and uncertainty, it’s important to take note of the
progress Alaska is making toward continued and increased production
coursing through TAPS and the cautious optimism and for ward-looking
attitude of the industry as a whole.
With gas prices inching above $60 per barrel, there is hope on the
“Higher oil prices offer a bit of relief for Alaskans worried about
the state’s finances,” said Kara Moriarty, AOGA president and CEO, in a
March statement. “Of course, a serious budget gap remains, but we are
calling attention to the 100,000 additional barrels of oil moving down
the pipeline than was forecast under the last oil tax law, called ACES.
In the FY12 and FY13 production forecasts, analysts predicted oil pro-
duction would plummet a full 100,000 barrels below today’s projected
number. It is not difficult to figure out why state experts became opti-
mistic about future oil production since the tax law changed in 2013—
policy matters, and a smart, competitive policy caused companies to
invest billions in Alaska.”
In this issue of Alaska Business we explore how oil and gas compa-
nies are using those investments to discover and implement high-tech
techniques to increase worker safety, reduce costs, and increase access
to locations that would otherwise be inaccessible.
We also feature some of the cutting-edge techniques being used
to develop more efficient technology to prevent and clean oil spills…
technology that ranges from infrared and satellite imaging techniques
and advances in oleophilic skimmers to the use of bomb-sniffing dogs
and Alyeska’s new fleet of purpose-built ships.
And, of course, we present the Oil and Gas Directory, a comprehensive listing of the oil and gas companies operating in Alaska and the
support services that help keep them moving forward.
Also in this issue we visit some of Alaska’s rural villages to learn how
pregnant women remain safe and healthy, even when visiting a doctor
means taking a boat, a plane, or an ATV. It’s not as simple as a call to
the OB-GYN when you’re hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital.
And we make a visit to the Seafood Expo in Boston to learn about the
dangers of illegal offshore fishing and what can and is being done to
keep Alaska’s fish in Alaskan hands.
It’s an exciting time for Alaska as we head into (almost) everybody’s
favorite season when the light rarely fades and Alaskans hit the road (or
river, or runway, or trail) to find adventure and play hard.
So take some time, peruse the pages, and enjoy the sunny days
Managing Editor, Alaska Business