This Week in Alaska Business History July 29, 2001

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past.

"Those who cannot

remember the past are

condemned to repeat it."

-- George Santayana, 1863-1952

20 years ago this week

Anchorage Times

July 29, 1981

Reagan to discuss waivers with Alaskans

By Betty Mills

Times Washington Bureau

Valley Hospital Foundation launched

health.jpg Valley Hospital Association has inaugurated its foundation, which is geared toward fund-raising efforts. The Valley Hospital Foundation board of directors met for the first time July 9.

The nonprofit group elected Linda Menard as president; Clyde Boyer, vice president; Janet Kincaid, secretary; and Craig Thorn, treasurer. Other board members include Martha Blanchett, DeeDee Jonrowe, Louise Kellogg, Harold Newcomb, Sarah Palin, Tim Thom and Jack Williams.

House panel approves ANWR drilling bill; future still uncertain

oilbarrel.jpg ANCHORAGE -- A bill that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling cleared its first congressional committee on July 17, but the measure’s future is far from certain.

The House Resources Committee, by a vote of 26-17, approved the ANWR provision as part of a Republican energy bill that would also provide financial incentives for other types of energy development.

State adds oil, gas lease sales in Slope foothills

oilgas.jpg ANCHORAGE -- The state is adding extra North Slope foothills areawide oil and gas lease sales to its upcoming leasing schedule.

Gov. Tony Knowles said the addition is in response to increased interest in North Slope natural gas. The extra lease sales will be added to the schedule for 2002 through 2006.

During its first areawide foothills lease sale in May, the state leased more than 950,000 acres -- the most acreage in any state sale, according to Knowles.

Brothers launch educational vacations for Alaska's tourists

tourism.jpg Two Alaska-grown tourism entrepreneurs, schooled by major tourism operators in the state, are developing a new offering, Alaska Learning Vacations.

Justin Ripley, who has worked in the Alaska tourism industry since 1977, leads Alaska Learning Vacations. He worked for 15 years at Denali National Park and Preserve, eventually serving as general manager of the park hotel and tour operations.

Constitutional amendment needed to stop budgetary blackmail

Donley.jpg The purpose of the state’s Constitutional Budget Reserve fund is to provide funds for operation of state government when a particular year’s revenues are not enough to pay for state operations that year.

As originally intended, withdrawals from the CBR could be made in two ways. If state revenues for the current year were less than state funds budgeted for the prior year, then the difference could be withdrawn by the Legislature with a simple majority vote.

Gasline firms give senator a wish list

oilbarrel.jpg FAIRBANKS -- Sen. Frank Murkowski said North Slope oil companies have given him a wish list of federal legislation that would help construction of a natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, said July 20 that he had not yet closely reviewed the proposals and wouldn’t disclose details.

Gasline estimates hit $15-20 billion

oilgas.jpg North Slope natural gas producers told a state legislative committee on July 19 that the Alaska pipeline could cost $15 billion to $20 billion. Previous published estimates for the project have been in the $10 billion range.

"After six months of study, it’s clear to us that there are real challenges," said Ken Konrad, gas business unit leader for BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., and one of three managers for the producer study group.

Missile defense office announces up to $9 million in Fort Greely construction

military.jpg FAIRBANKS -- The Pentagon’s missile defense office has told Congress that the military plans to issue a contract for up to $9 million of construction work at Fort Greely. The work could proceed within weeks.

In a letter sent to the House and Senate Appropriations and Armed Services committees, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization said it was hurrying so it could have a new Pacific "test bed" ready by fiscal 2004.

Leisure travelers help Alaska Air Group profit

transportation.jpg SEATTLE -- Alaska Air Group, boosted by leisure travel amid a downturn in the business travel market, handily beat analysts’ expectations and became one of the few airlines to turn a profit in an otherwise bleak quarter.

For the second quarter ended June 30, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air Industries on July 19 reported net income of $4.7 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $23.6 million, or 89 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Senate funds Fort Wainwright hospital project

health.jpg FAIRBANKS -- Federal dollars to build a new hospital at Fort Wainwright would be bumped up to $215 million under an amendment placed on a spending bill July 9.

The hospital project was stalled earlier this year when construction bids came in higher than expected. Congress had already approved $133 million.

GCI, Alyeska OK fiber-optic contract

telecommunications.jpg General Communication Inc. has signed an agreement with Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. to provide telecommunications services via a fiber-optic cable system.

Alyeska officials did not release the length and dollar amount of the agreement, citing the confidential terms of the deal, according to Alyeska spokesman Tim Woolston.

The new face of Alaska manufacturing

hoffmandavidLR.jpg Manufacturing has played an important role in the Alaska economy for many decades, despite the fact that the Alaska economy has historically been characterized by resource extraction.

Manufacturing still is a source of many new business opportunities, but the face of manufacturing in Alaska is changing at a rapid pace. The traditional bastions of Alaska manufacturing -- the seafood and wood products sectors -- have experienced hard times in recent years.

Around the World July 29, 2001


End of era: Soldotna’s bowling alley closes

KENAI -- In November 1959, Sky Bowl and Cafe opened for business in the heart of Soldotna with six lanes.

Today it has been replaced by a bingo parlor run by the Soldotna Little League.

Gold Strike Lanes, as the bowling alley came to be called, recently closed for business, signaling the end of an era.

New Crowley tank farm to bring competition to Y-K Delta prices

oilbarrel.jpg Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents should see more competitive gas prices in the future thanks to a new bulk fuel tank farm to be built by Crowley Marine Services on Bethel Native Corp. land.

Seattle-based Crowley will build and operate the facility under a long-term property lease agreement with BNC.

The companies finalized agreements for the bulk fuel tank farm in mid-July.

Railroad wins grant to design Ship Creek transportation hub

transportation.jpg Someday within the next decade, the Alaska Railroad Corp. sees tourists and commuters connecting to bus, trolley, airport rail and passenger train services through a proposed transportation center in Anchorage’s Ship Creek area.

The state-owned railroad has received $4.3 million from the Federal Transit Administration to begin designing the center, which will be based around the existing railroad depot.

BP's Campbell to retire

New management will take the helm at BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. in September.

Richard Campbell, the head of BP’s operations in the state, is retiring. He is being replaced as president of the Alaska operating company by Steve Marshall, regional president of BP Scotland.

Even in down economy, luxury class represents a hot prospect

There are few consumer markets subject to more confusion or lack of familiarity than the luxury segment. For that reason, most marketers steer a wide berth from this lucrative category. Conventional wisdom also decrees that the luxury buyer comes out of the woodwork when times are flush but disappears when the marketplace tightens as it is today.

New generation of tankers

The first of a new generation of double-hull oil tankers dedicated to the North Slope oil trade called at Valdez on July 11. Polar Endeavour, the first of five Millennium class tankers being built by Phillips Petroleum Co., picked up its first cargo of Alaska crude oil.

"These vessels demonstrate our commitment to the environment and our continuing commitment to the state of Alaska," said Kevin Meyers, president of Phillips Alaska Inc., the parent company’s Alaska production subsidiary.


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