Elwood Brehmer

Despite delays, Brooks Range says Mustang will produce in ’17

The company developing a small North Slope oil field with the help of $70 million in funding from the State of Alaska says the project will finally come together this winter after years of delay.

Anchorage-based independent Brooks Range Petroleum Corp. plans to have oil flowing from its stalled Mustang project in December, according to the development plan the company submitted to the Division of Oil and Gas.

Interior Dept. grants state survey permit for King Cove road

The State of Alaska is preparing to build a long-debated road on the Alaska Peninsula as legislation authorizing the project inches its way through Congress.

Gov. Bill Walker said in a June 26 statement from his office that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called him that morning to notify the governor that the Interior Department had granted the state permission to survey a route for a road between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay.

Sun hasn’t set yet on ANWR

Alaska oil advocates lauded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s order directing federal agencies to reevaluate the oil and gas potential within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but what did it get them?

The answer, unsurprisingly, will largely depend on how much money is willing to be spent and who will spend it.

BP: time of transition for energy markets

Improved efficiencies at nearly every level of the energy game has put markets in flux, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy released in June.

For Alaska, that has led to a buyer’s market in the global LNG trade, fading coal demand and oil prices that will be “lower for even longer,” BP Alaska Commercial Vice President Damian Bilbao said.

Bilbao presented the highlights of the company’s annual report to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce June 26.

Hilcorp spends $3.95M on Inlet leases

Hilcorp Alaska LLC was the big, and only, winner in both the state and federal Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sales June 21.

The company spent $3.95 million on combined 20 tracts on state land and in state and federal waters.

Hilcorp was also the only bidder in both sales and is the primary producer of oil and gas in the Inlet.

ISER: State payments to local governments doubled over decade

State spending has grown to comprise nearly 30 percent of all revenue for Alaska’s local governments in recent years, according to a report from the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research published June 19.

State support to Alaska’s 19 boroughs and municipalities grew from a near-term low of 12 percent of the average borough budget in 2004 to an average of 28 percent in 2015, the most recent year for which adequate data was available, study author and ISER economist Mouhcine Guettabi said.

Supreme Court hears arguments in PFD veto lawsuit

Forty years to the day after the oil that generated the revenue to capitalize the Permanent Fund started flowing, the Alaska Supreme Court heard arguments over who controls distribution of the annual dividend payments of the Fund’s investment income.

Anchorage Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski said the Permanent Fund Dividend is the primary reason Alaska has the lowest income inequality in the nation.

“The PFD is unique; there’s nothing else like it in Alaska or the country for that matter,” he said to open his argument.

State opens season for AK LNG Project

It’s open season for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

That’s not to be confused with open season on AGDC, which legislators skeptical of the state-owned corporation leading and continuing the roughly $40 billion Alaska LNG Project have had on its biggest proponent, Gov. Bill Walker.

AGDC’s open season to reserve pipeline and liquefaction capacity in the Alaska LNG Project started Thursday, June 15, and will run through Aug. 31, President Keith Meyer said during the corporation’s board of directors meeting, also Thursday.

Marine highway supporters look for new ideas amid challenges

The M/V Tustumena is again on the disabled list for most of the season as the state nears drafting its replacement.

Earlier this month the Alaska Marine Highway System announced the “Rusty Tusty,” as the state ferry is affectionately known to many, would be out of service until at least Aug. 15 after inspectors uncovered more damage to steel in the Tustumena’s engine room.

Innovation targeted at teacher turnover, remediation

The leaders of Southcentral school districts and a nationally renowned University of Alaska Anchorage program are blending high school and college in an attempt to cure the state of multiple education ills.

The Anchorage School District recently took over the Alaska Middle College from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, which is expanding the program in its own territory.

Eni files plan to explore federal Arctic OCS leases

Italian oil major Eni Petroleum is preparing to drill four exploration wells into offshore federal territory from its manmade North Slope island in state waters.

If approved by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the work program would take 18 months, according to the proposed work plan Eni submitted to the agency. The work would start with the drilling of the first well in December and end when the flow test of the final well is complete in May of 2019.

Oil prices, policy uncertainty prompt Caelus to postpone well

Caelus Energy won’t be drilling new wells on the North Slope next winter for a host of reasons.

As a result, Alaskans will have to wait at least another year to see whether the company’s promising but remote Smith Bay oil prospect, which Caelus leaders have touted to be a 6 billion-barrel discovery, lives up to its billing.

Final Railbelt electric plan cost estimate nears $900M

The Alaska Energy Authority is sticking with its belief that one of the state’s most critical pieces of infrastructure needs close to $900 million of improvements to truly be both reliable and efficient.

AEA’s final Railbelt Transmission Plan completed this spring concludes there are $885 million worth of projects to improve the economics and reliability of the electric grid from the southern Kenai Peninsula to Fairbanks.

No repeat of Prudhoe standoff as state approves 2017 plan

State Department of Natural Resources officials have approved BP’s work plan for the Prudhoe Bay oil and gas field without issue, a year after state demands for new information led to a summer-long standoff over the annual report.

Division of Oil and Gas Director Chantal Walsh approved the 2017 Prudhoe Bay Plan of Development May 25 in a letter to BP Alaska management.

Judge in LIO case denies owners’ request to enter new evidence

A request for new evidentiary hearings in the $37 million lawsuit brought by the owners of the now-vacant Downtown Anchorage legislative information office against the Alaska Legislature was shot down in a Wednesday state Superior Court ruling.

Judge Mark Rindner’s order means the case will likely be decided on the facts already presented — and was a win for legislators.

Zinke orders new looks at Arctic oil development

It’s safe to say the Alaska Oil and Gas Association won the day Wednesday.

Not only did new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke deliver the keynote address at the association’s annual conference, he signed a secretarial order directing Interior agencies to review management and leasing of the North Slope National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and conduct a new oil and gas resource assessment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain.

According to Zinke, it is believed to be the first secretarial order signed in Alaska.

Matson completes sulfur-scrubbing exhaust upgrades

Much of what Alaskans buy locally is now getting here on cleaner ships.

Pacific shipper Matson Inc. announced in May that its containership, the Matson Anchorage, is now outfitted with a “wet scrubber” system aimed at eliminating sulfur emissions from the ship’s exhaust.

The Matson Anchorage was the last of the company’s three Alaska-dedicated vessels to get the exhaust scrubbers. The Matson Kodiak and Tacoma were outfitted with the system last year.

Zinke: Role for Alaska in US ‘energy dominance’

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke hasn’t been in Alaska long, but he’s got one of the state’s unofficial mottos down.

“Fill the pipeline,” he said during a May 30 press conference in Anchorage.

“The president has said ‘energy dominance,’ and the only way that energy dominance is possible is through the great state of Alaska,” Zinke continued.

State regulators hit Ahtna with $380K fine for gas well violations

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to inlcude new information in a June 1 statement from Ahtna Inc.)


An Ahtna Inc. subsidiary has racked up $380,000 in fines from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for allegedly ignoring mandates to monitor and report the conditions of a natural gas exploration well it drilled last year.

Hilcorp looks ahead after Inlet incidents

Hilcorp Alaska leaders are ready to look ahead after a rocky start to 2017.

The company currently has two drilling rigs working in Cook Inlet, on the Steelhead and King Salmon platforms, and recently announced a $75 million plan to ultimately reduce oil tanker traffic in the Inlet.

Hilcorp found itself making unwanted headlines starting in early February when it reported a natural gas leak from one of its subsea pipelines in the central Inlet Middle Ground Shoal oil field offshore from Nikiski.


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