Elwood Brehmer

AIDEA buys out Salix for work on Interior Energy Project

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has quietly parted ways with its private industry partner on the Interior Energy Project for a second time.

The authority’s IEP team lead Gene Therriault said in a written response to questions from the Journal that the decision to end its relationship with Salix Inc., which was working on a plan to expand the LNG plant used by Fairbanks Natural Gas and is owned by AIDEA, was made after it was determined a new model to develop the LNG facility could lower the financial risk for potential Interior natural gas customers.

Gov. Walker has ‘treatable’ form of cancer

Gov. Bill Walker stood with his family and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott to explain his prostate cancer diagnosis to Alaskans during a Friday afternoon briefing at his Anchorage office.

The governor said he got the news about two weeks ago after a routine check-up.

“(The diagnosis) takes a while to absorb,” he said to reporters. “I join a group of Alaskans that have cancer and I look forward to joining a group of Alaskans that survive cancer.”

Owners of vacated LIO appeal $37 million claim denial

The owners of the now-vacant former Anchorage legislative information office contend state Sen. Gary Stevens “rewrote history” in denying their $37 million contract claim over the building.

716 West Fourth Avenue LLC filed an appeal Oct. 31 to Stevens’ denial, asking for a hearing in front of the full Legislative Council to address the matter.

The lengthy appeal signed by 716 attorney Jeffrey Feldman argues that Stevens not only misconstrued the facts of the long-running public saga over the building, but also failed to address the basis for 716’s original claim.

Meet the first B Corps in the state

A good day’s work is about more than simply turning a profit for a couple Alaskan small business owners.

Arctic Solar Ventures in Anchorage and Cordova’s Alaska Glacial Mud Co. are the first Alaska businesses to be certified as Benefit Corporations — B Corps for short.

The B Corp certification is often described as “Fair Trade coffee, but for everything else.” It obligates business leaders to not only focus on running a financially successful company, but also have demonstrable social and environmental benefits.

Progress slow, but ongoing, for Interior Energy Project

The state’s effort to get more natural gas to the Fairbanks area is admittedly moving painfully slow, but Interior Energy Project leaders insist key milestones are within reach.

IEP manager Gene Therriault reported to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority board of directors at its Oct. 27 meeting that his team is advancing all aspects of the gas supply chain despite delays in inking deals imperative to the success of the project.

$50 oil helps BP turn $1.6B profit

BP turned in a $1.6 billion profit in the third quarter as oil prices stabilized and it continues to reconcile costs from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

The London-based major reported its quarterly results early Tuesday.

Vastly improved upstream earnings at nearly $1.2 billion led the way for BP, which lost $109 million in its production sector in the second quarter.

All but one claim against CH2M dismissed in port lawsuit

The global engineering firm CH2M is almost out of Anchorage’s lawsuit to settle liability for the municipality’s failed port expansion project after a Monday federal court ruling.

U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge Sharon Gleason found the Municipality of Anchorage has little financial recourse against the company that, at least initially, seemed to play a very small role in updating the aging docks at the Port of Anchorage.

For Livengood project, smaller is better

A smaller, simpler plan for developing the Livengood gold prospect has greatly improved the project’s economic viability.

Vancouver-based International Tower Hill Mines Ltd., or ITH, released an optimized pre-feasibility study for the Livengood project Oct. 24 that determined a mine about half the size of what the company originally planned could reduce development costs by about $950 million and operational expenses by 28 percent.

Business diversity buoys Exxon earnings

ExxonMobil reported third quarter earnings of more than $2.6 billion Friday, profits drawn largely from the Texas-based oil giant’s foreign operations.

The $2.6 billion quarterly profit was a $950 million improvement over the prior quarter, but a far cry from the $4.2 billion the company earned in the third quarter of 2015.

ConocoPhillips earns $59M in Alaska but $1B in the red worldwide

ConocoPhillips netted $59 million in Alaska despite losing $1.04 billion worldwide in the third quarter, according to the company’s quarterly financial report released Thursday.

Year-to-date, ConocoPhillips has earned $204 million in the state, but absorbed $3.58 billion in losses overall. Comparatively, the company lost $978 million through the first 9 months of 2015.

Anchorage settles for $12.6M with port contractors

Anchorage has settled out of court for $12.6 million with three subcontractors in the city’s failed port expansion project while a lawsuit against other players in the complex drama continues.

Most recently on Oct. 19, Terracon Consultants Inc. and the Municipality of Anchorage filed a motion in U.S. District Court of Alaska notifying the court that Terracon had agreed to pay the municipality $1.95 million.

2016 is a milestone year for miners

Alaska’s miners will have an opportunity to look back at the progress of three of the state’s flagship mines at the annual Alaska Miners Association convention that kicks off Nov. 6 in Anchorage.

This year is a milestone year for the mining industry in Alaska; it marks the 10th anniversary of operations at the Pogo underground mine and the 20th year of production at the Fort Knox surface mine. Both located near Fairbanks, they are the state’s premier gold mines.

Alaska Air Group nets $256 million in third quarter

All good things must come to an end, even for Alaska Air Group Inc. The $256 million third quarter net income turned in by the Seattle-based parent to Alaska Airlines and regional Horizon Air broke a streak of 12 quarters with record profits, but not by much.

Alaska Air Group netted $274 million in the third quarter of 2015.

Walker stops short of selling pension bonds

The Walker administration has put its plan to sell up to $3.3 billion in pension obligation bonds on hold.

Gov. Bill Walker said Tuesday in a statement from his office that concerns from the members of the Senate Finance Committee about the proposal led him to hit the pause button.

Armstrong Energy seeks to expand unit

Armstrong Energy is asking the state to expand its prospective Pikka North Slope oil and gas unit, which the company already believes holds upwards of 1.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

The expansion application, submitted to the Department of Natural Resources Sept. 19, requests the department add 14,400 acres to Pikka in leases adjacent to the southern portion of the current unit.

Pikka was approved in June 2015 as a 63,300-acre unit situated between Caelus Energy’s Oooguruk Unit to the east and ConocoPhillips’ Colville River Unit to the west.

Hilcorp Energy is here to grow

Hilcorp Energy is one of the companies bucking the trend among those in Alaska’s oil business.

The Houston-based independent is pursuing projects to add production from both its Cook Inlet and North Slope assets, Hilcorp Senior Vice President of Alaska Dave Wilkins said Oct. 13 to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.

Despite oil prices that can’t seem to get above $50 per barrel, Hilcorp, which entered Alaska through Cook Inlet acquisitions in 2012, “is here to grow,” according to Wilkins.

Oil prospect gets even bigger

The Icewine oil prospect on the southern North Slope keeps growing.

Australia-based 88 Energy Ltd. said in an Oct. 18 release that it has identified five conventional “leads” on its Slope leases that could hold 758 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The mean resource estimate is based on seismic data acquired this year and last, according to the company release.

88 Energy is the majority owner in the Icewine project, a continuous tract of 271,000 acres of state leases about 35 miles south of Deadhorse bisected by the Dalton Highway.

Lindbeck and Young find agreement at candidate forum

There was much consensus and a surprising lack of contention during a U.S. House of Representatives candidate forum put on by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Oct. 17.

Democrat candidate Steve Lindbeck, a former Anchorage newspaper journalist and recently the general manager of Alaska Public Media, did not pursue threads critical of longtime incumbent Republican Rep. Don Young that his campaign has highlighted in TV spots and news releases.

U.S. State Dept has interest in upstream Canadian mining projects

The U.S. State Department has taken a positive step to recognize the concerns some Alaskans have with upstream Canadian mining projects, but the issue is far from resolved, according to the members of Alaska’s congressional delegation.

Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield wrote in an Oct. 6 letter to the delegation that the State Department is actively engaged with Canadian officials to protect the watersheds that bisect the U.S.-Canada border along Southeast Alaska.

State moves to sell pension bonds despite S&P warning

The State of Alaska is continuing the process to sell up to $3.3 billion in pension obligation bonds after receiving mixed reviews from the major credit rating agencies.

On Oct. 7, S&P Global Ratings placed the state on CreditWatch with negative implications and rated the state’s appropriation-backed bonds, such as the pension bonds, as AA-.

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