Slope production to show another increase, this for FY 2017

Slope production to show another increase, this for FY 2017

North Slope oil production is running above last year based on new data from the Alaska Department of Revenue. Based on preliminary information, production from the slope has averaged 527,000 barrels per day for the state’s Fiscal Year 2017, the budget year that ended June 30. ”It’s definitely a year-over-year increase,” said Dan Stickel, chief petroleum economist at the revenue department. The figures are up from a 514,900 b/d average for FY 2016, the 12-month period, which ended June 30,…

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Legislature adjourns on oil tax deal; capital budget still in limbo

Legislature adjourns on oil tax deal; capital budget still in limbo

Alaska’s Legislature approved changes in the state’s oil production tax late Saturday that would end a program of the state making cash reimbursements to explorers and developers of new discoveries, legislative leaders said. “Ending the cash payments, which are unsustainable for the state, allows us to move toward a comprehensive fiscal plan for Alaska,” to address revenue shortfalls and budget problems, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said in a statement. The bill, House Bill 111, makes other changes that indirectly increase…

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Mid-July, and still no adjournment of Legislature

Mid-July, and still no adjournment of Legislature

The extended state legislative session continued June 15 with no resolution in sight, or to a complex dispute over state oil and gas taxes that is the main holdup to adjournment. There had been hopes for an agreement last Monday, and then Wednesda, but a House-Senate conference committee on House Bill 111, the tax bill, held that day ended with no agreement.

Adjournment deal close? Here’s what to watch for

Adjournment deal close? Here’s what to watch for

House and Senate leaders were to have met Thursday afternoon to try and resolve disagreements on an adjournment package. House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anch., told us that if a deal is reached legislators will head back to Juneau Monday, July 10, to vote on the deal. If there’s no deal, just a few leaders will go down for another “technical” session. The hangup seems to be the oil and gas tax bill, HB 111. Both bodies agree the state…

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Anchorage joins 337 U.S. cities backing Paris climate accord

Anchorage joins 337 U.S. cities backing Paris climate accord

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has signed on with 337 other U.S.mayors to back goals of the Paris accord on global emissions reduction and climate change, a spokeswoman for the mayor said. The initiative was organized through the U.S. Conference of Mayors and ratified at the group’s meeting in Miami Beach June 1. “Anchorage maintains our commitment and responsibility to adapt to and mitigate climate change,” Berkowitz said in a statement. “Alaskans know how critical good stewardship is for our economy,…

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Uber tells Juneau it won’t pay sales tax

Uber tells Juneau it won’t pay sales tax

Uber, newly-approved by the Legislature and Gov. Bill Walker to operate in Alaska, has told Juneau officials that it will not be paying sales tax for ride services. Uber told the city the drivers have responsibility to pay sales tax but city officials said that is impractical because money is actually transferred to Uber directly. If this holds up it will leave legislators who championed the company looking a little red-faced. Sen. Mia Costello made a big point of Uber’s…

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Overall, state in good shape in terms of reserves

Overall, state in good shape in terms of reserves

Despite all the gloom and doom overall the state is not in bad shape financially. We cite figures from the June 20 Standard & Poor’s report, which were supplied by the state administration and are current, but the best estimate for the Constitutional Budget Reserve fund balance as of July 1 is $4.3 million; as of May 31, the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve was $12.5 billion. In terms of the projected FY 2018 deficit, the current estimate for the draw…

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Budget impasse resolved – no huge overall cut in spending

Budget impasse resolved – no huge overall cut in spending

The budget Conference Committee wrapped up work early Thursday afternoon and sent the compromise version of HB 57 to the House and Senate for consideration. There were no huge cuts in spending overall although some institutions, like the University of Alaska, will be significantly affected. The Alaska House of Representatives passed the budget by a vote of 31-8. The Alaska Senate passed the bill by a vote of 16-1. The bill will now be sent to the governor for approval….

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Budget conference committee now on a roll?

Budget conference committee now on a roll?

The House-Senate budget conference committee rolled through several agencies late Thursday afternoon including the Dept. of Health and Social Services and the University of Alaska. The UA budget wound up at $317 million in undesignated general funds, down from $325 in the current budget. The House had recommended status quo for the university as had the governor. A Senate Finance subcommittee initially recommended $312 million but the full Senate Finance committee dropped it to $302 million, although that number was…

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Modest results in Cook Inlet oil, gas lease sales

Modest results in Cook Inlet oil, gas lease sales

There were very modest results in state and federal offshore lease sales held Wednesday, June 21. Only one company submitted bids for tracts, Hilcorp Alaska LLC. Hilcorp operates producing oil and gas fields in upper Cook Inlet. The company submitted bids on 14 federal and six state tracts and was the only bidder. What was significant is that this signaled a big shift for Hilcorp away from its strategy of purchasing and then renewing, through invested, aged producing fields toward…

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