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Author: Tim

Prices, projects: Things looking up a little in Alaska’s oilpatch

Prices, projects: Things looking up a little in Alaska’s oilpatch

Things are looking a little brighter in Alaska’s oilpatch? Job numbers have not yet ticked up and in fact they’re still slipping, though modestly now, after big cuts made in 2016 and 2017 as producing companies adjusted to the world of lower prices. But prices are rising, after a long slump. Even during the slump a number of new projects were being worked on and the brighter price outlook should cause some companies to push the green button on their…

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What a contrast! Legislators orderly, civil as they close 2018 session

What a contrast! Legislators orderly, civil as they close 2018 session

Was this a virus whipping through the state capitol in Juneau? As the Legislature shut down last Saturday, May 12, odd things happened: There was civility, cooperation, bipartisanship, and good feelings. “The House and Senate and both (Democrat and Republican) caucuses really came together this year,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said as the session ended. Things were much different than last year, when the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, were all at each others’ throats. There were extended special…

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POMV deal is done – stage being set for ending session

POMV deal is done – stage being set for ending session

At the end, it happened fast. The conference committee on SB 26 convened at 9 a.m. May 8, voted and sent the bill out eight minutes later. A few hours later both the House and Senate ratified the conference committee report, sending SB 26 on to the governor. After a year of agony and sniping over the proposal to use some of the Permanent Fund earnings for the budget the quick resolution seemed anticlimactic. But that’s the way these things…

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Are they close to a deal on fiscal gap?

Are they close to a deal on fiscal gap?

There seems to be a deal coming together on SB 26, the bill that sets a percent-of-market-draw,
or POMV, in statue as a rule for using Permanent Fund earnings to support the state budget. This is the remaining big issue of the 2018 session and if an agreement is made in the next couple of days a rush to adjournment could begin. An adjournment push should happen even if the deal does not come together, too. Word has been circulating in…

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Railbelt power grid moves slowly to modern era

Railbelt power grid moves slowly to modern era

A bill is pending in the state House that would put the state’s hammer on the six “railbelt” utilities that have been squabbling for years over uniform reliability standards and how to efficiently move power up and down the regional power transmission grid. Also, independent private power producers complain they are stymied in selling their power to customers through the grid by having to pay tolls all through the system. In some cases these have added up to some sales…

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North Slope oil production holds up

North Slope oil production holds up

It is a surprising accomplishment, but even as oil prices remain in the $50-plus per barrel range the North Slope producers have been able to maintain and even slightly increase production. The North Slope oil fields produced an average of 527,900 barrels per day over Fiscal Year 2017, the budget year ending last June 30, an increase over the average of 516,400 barrels per day producing over the prior year, FY 2016.

Latest wage income shows slight gain for Alaskans

Latest wage income shows slight gain for Alaskans

Alaska’s recession appears to be leveling out, the latest state employment data indicates. Newly released data on Alaskans’ wage income for the first quarter of 2017 point to a general stability of the economy and a possible easing of the recession. The data, from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, actually shows small increases in total wages in most sectors of Alaska’s economy. Wages increased by $25 million overall, or 0.6 percent, compared to the same period in 2016….

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State employment information points to a levelling of job losses

State employment information points to a levelling of job losses

State employment information points to a levelling of job losses. State Department of Labor economists warn that the data is still preliminary, however. Information for August, 2017, indicates that jobs in the state are down 4,800, or 1.4 percent, compared with August 2016. This is an improvement from the January-through-June information showing employment that was down 5,000 to 6,000 compared with the same period of 2016. Job losses in high-wage industries like oil and gas, and construction, were also lower…

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State officials warn on depletion of CBR fund

State officials warn on depletion of CBR fund

State budget deficits continue to drain reserves, and state officials now warn that some balance must be maintained for cash management purposes and emergencies. The projected deficit for Fiscal Year 2018, the current budget year that ends next June 30, is estimated at $2.6 billion. When that is paid the remaining funds in the Constitutional Budget Reserve, the state’s main cash account, are estimated at $2.1 billion. This is insufficient to pay a deficit for FY 2019 of a size…

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Point Thomson gas wars once again?

Point Thomson gas wars once again?

Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas has denied an ExxonMobil Corp. application to expand its Point Thomson liquid condensate and gas cycling project, indicating the proposal lacked details. If built, the project could bring several billions of dollars of work to the North Slope beginning in 2019. Contractors and oil workers have been feeling the effects of sharp cutbacks on the slope due to low oil prices. The action echoes earlier disputes between the state and ExxonMobil over North Slope…

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