Alaska Journal of Commerce January-Issue-2 2015

  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:27
    Few fish have to swim through more red tape than the Pacific halibut. Halibut has been governed by two regulatory bodies for more than 40 years, and 2015 will hopefully see an increase in mutual understanding between the two, as well as a welcome public display of cooperation. At a joint meeting Feb. 5 in Seattle, the two bodies that control the halibut fishery — the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission — will review processes of mutual interest, including collection issues relating to stock assessment, bycatch assessment, mortality... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:25
    Gov. Bill Walker’s plans for Alaska involve a lot of budget cutting, and a vital research project for king salmon is on the slab. As petroleum prices dive and Alaska finances look grim, the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative is one of many items Walker cut from former Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed capital budget, potentially halting several ongoing programs and complicating an Alaska fishery regulatory item. Parnell introduced the $30 million initiative into his budget in 2012 to study declining Alaska chinook salmon stocks. Parnell’s plan gave an initial $10 million to the Alaska Department... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:22
    After a year-and-a-half of work, time has run out on the Interior Energy Project — at least for now. MHW Global Inc., the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s partner in the plan to truck North Slope-sourced liquefied natural gas to the Fairbanks area, withdrew its request for an extension to its contract on the project in a Dec. 30 letter. The working contract, known as the concession agreement, expired Dec 31. The AIDEA board of directors discussed the option to extend the agreement up to 90 days in an executive session at its Dec. 16 meeting but did not take any action on... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:18
    It’s a seeming paradox: Oil prices are still sliding as North Slope crude closed at about $55 per barrel Jan. 6, but this year’s winter construction season is shaping up to be one of the strongest ever. Industry employment, the most reliable indicator of activity, set new records in October and November, according to data from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. There were 15,100 at work in the industry in October and 15,000 in November, although the November data is still preliminary. That’s up by about 800 compared to the same months of 2013 and by 1,000 compared to... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:17
    It’s no secret that Alaskans love to shop. A quick Saturday stroll through one of Anchorage’s many malls verifies that. “It is very impressive in a $50 billion or so state economy — before the collapse of the price of a barrel of oil — that we see retail is $6.1 billion out of that,” Anchorage Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Bill Popp said at the Jan. 5 Make it Monday forum hosted by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Direct statewide retail sales totaled just more than $1 billion in 2013, Popp said. Sales in Anchorage accounted for more than half of the state total at nearly... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:15
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a nomination to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a marine sanctuary around the islands in December. It is supported by environmental groups, including some in Alaska, according to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The idea is to protect 554,000 square nautical miles against “growing threats” from overfishing, oil and gas development, and increased shipping. NOAA will review the nomination. If it is accepted, it would be placed in NOAA’s inventory of areas that might later be proposed as marine sanctuaries. If the... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:14
    A flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul this past weekend signaled the official end of Operation Enduring Freedom — America’s 13-year war on terror in Afghanistan. But the reality is that the war is not over, and Americans shouldn’t act like it is. Though al-Qaida, the architects of the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist plots, has been partly dismantled and the Taliban is a shadow of its former self, extremism still has a foothold in the war-torn nation. Barbarians hoping to keep the nation stuck in the Dark Ages already have been emboldened by America’s drawdown. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:12
    As unlikely as it seems, there are a few benefits to Alaska residents that come with lower oil prices. The slump, in which prices have dropped to levels between $60 and $80 per barrel in recent months, has left the state budget in a world of hurt, and there’s no question residents will feel a host of negative effects of that lost production tax revenue. But there’s a silver lining for residents that takes a bit of the sting out of the market downturn. The first and most obvious boon of low oil prices comes for Alaska drivers at the gas pump. The drop in oil prices from more than $100 per... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:10
    Alaska still has its share of naysayers who will quibble about the seafood industry’s importance to our great state. They dismiss the fact that fishing was Alaska’s first industry and was fish that spawned the push to statehood. “The canned salmon plants started in the 1870s and by the early 20th century, canned salmon was the largest industry and generated 80 percent of the territorial tax revenues. It had a position in the state economy that oil enjoys today,” said fisheries historian Bob King. The fisheries that Alaska inherited from the federal government at statehood in 1959 were in... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:05
    As resolutions go, this year’s is a big one. It’s a New Year’s resolution that you won’t break, for once: you’ve decided that you’re going to change a lot of things — love, finances, and work, for starters. Especially work, because you’re fed up and frustrated. And there’s the biggest catalyst, says Ben Arment. Frustration is “the fuel” that really lights an entrepreneurial fire — and in the new book “Dream Year,” he explains how you can nurture your spark. All year long, you’ve struggled to get up in the morning, grumbled all the way to work, grumped through your day, and you can’t do it... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:04
    Hilcorp Energy filed a Development and Production Plan Dec. 30 for the proposed offshore Liberty project in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea with the U.S. Bureau of Energy Management. The project would involve an artificial gravel island and a subsea pipeline to shore, company officials said. Hilcorp recently closed on the purchase of 50 percent of Liberty from BP along with three small producing North Slope fields. Hilcorp is the operator at Liberty with BP remaining as a 50 percent partner. Liberty is a long-known but undeveloped deposit in shallow waters five miles off the Beaufort Sea coast and... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:02
    An independent oil and gas company working on development of a small oil field at Umiat, on the southern North Slope, said the state’s termination of permitting for a resources road into the area won’t affect its plans. The company, Australia-based Linc Energy, believes it can develop the field as a “roadless” project with surface access by winter snow road. A pipeline would still be needed, however, said company spokesman Paul Ludwig. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a notice in the Federal Register Jan. 5 that it has halted work on a federal environmental impact statement, or... Read More
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:01
    ASRC Energy Services Inc. announced Scott Selzer as senior vice president, chief operating officer effective Dec. 19, 2014. Selzer began his career with AES in 2006 as a chemical technician and inventory specialist delivering chemicals and maintaining inventory on the North Slope. He was promoted to business unit manager–AES BP Alaska in 2009, business unit manager–AES CPAI Alaska in 2011 and became general manager of operations and maintenance of AES in 2012. Selzer has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, including operations and maintenance of oil rigs in Southwest... Read More