Liquified natural gas panel disbands after analysis shows project is uneconomic

FAIRBANKS -- An oil industry group has dispersed after failing to find a cost-efficient way to export liquefied North Slope natural gas in tankers.Members of the group included Phillips Petroleum Co., BP, Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. of Calgary and Marubeni Corp. Their mission when forming three years ago was to study how to transport natural gas reserves through a pipeline to Valdez or Nikiski.The gas would then be liquefied and placed on tankers for shipment to Asia, Mexico or the West Coast of the United States.Members of the group have returned to their respective companies, Phillips Petroleum spokeswoman Dawn Patience told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Patience said that each of the companies will individually gauge the information gathered from the studies and decide whether to further pursue a liquefied natural gas project.The group’s work began in October 1998 with an attempt to design a cost-effective project for liquefied natural gas, also known as LNG."In stage 1 we assessed that the project was not economic," Patience said. "Stage 2 focused on ways of driving down the risks and the costs."That second stage began in the summer of 2000, and the studies are now completed. The commercial manager for the sponsor group’s work came from Phillips Petroleum.Patience said some improvements were found in that second stage of work but the cost reductions were not sufficient, at least in the analysis of Phillips officials.A separate oil industry consortium, consisting of BP, ExxonMobil Production Co. and Phillips Alaska Inc., is in the midst of studying whether the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to market in the Lower 48 would be economically feasible.But no matter what route a gas pipeline to the Lower 48 takes, most of it would run through Canada.So an LNG line from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska for export in tankers is often heralded as an "all-Alaska option."

Phone contract comments allowed to Dec. 7

State officials have extended the comment period for response to selection of Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. to provide state government telecommunications services in a five-year, $92.5 million contract.The move delays signing of the contract, which calls for ACS to take over most state telecommunications services soon after completing the process.The comment period, originally scheduled to conclude Nov. 26, was extended through Dec. 7, said Jim Duncan, commissioner of the state Department of Administration.Duncan and other state officials decided to lengthen the original 10-day comment period after receiving a request from competing contract bidder General Communication Inc., he said.State officials believed the request was valid since there were many contract documents to review and the comment period coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday, he said."We thought it was a reasonable request," Duncan said.At press time Duncan had received no protests against the new contract.Once the comment period is concluded, the state will either sign the contract or evaluate possible protests filed, he said.The Department of Administration issued a notice of intent to award the contract to Anchorage-based ACS on Nov. 15.The new contract aims to streamline state telecommunications services. The state issued a request for proposals in August 2000, and bids were due that December.ACS plans to provide $29 million in capital investments as part of the contract.Key elements in the contract include improved broadband services to state offices in urban and rural Alaska and reduction of the state’s long-distance calling costs by allowing calls between state offices to be local calls. With final approval of the contract, ACS would provide improved cellular and satellite phone service. Video conferencing is also part of the contract.

Movers & Shakers December 9, 2001

Bruce Zalneraitis has joined Life Alaska Transplant in the new position of clinical director. Zalneraitis has nearly 25 years of tissue and organ donation experience. Zalneraitis previously worked with New England Organ Bank and Northern California Transplant Bank. Life Alaska, formed as a nonprofit donor program in 1992, is responsible for all tissue, organ, corneal and research donations in the state.Jerry Dunn is continuing as general manager of the recently reorganized Western Alaska Village Enterprises. Dunn was appointed general manager in November 2000 to help manage the company through its financial difficulties. James Akerelrea is continuing as WAVE’s corporate business development manager. New members of the board of directors include: chairman, Earl Chase; vice chairman, Willie Attie; treasurer, Zach Ivan; secretary, Felix Hess; and assistant secretary, Archie Andrew.Ann Chandonnet was recently appointed the business reporter at the Juneau Empire. Chandonnet worked as a feature writer for The Anchorage Times for 10 years. Chandonnet has served as the police and courts reporter for the Empire for two years.Teresa Newins, senior manager of KPMG, was re-elected president of the YWCA of Anchorage board of directors. Other officers re-elected are: vice president, Suzanne Cherot, managing partner of Birch Horton Bittner and Cherot; secretary, Connie Ozer, community volunteer; and treasurer, Barbara Symmes, director of planning at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Directors elected to the board included: Barbara Cash, president of RIM Design; Diane Johnson, owner/exclusive agent, Allstate Insurance; Ouida Morrison, manager and equal opportunity officer of the Alaska Railroad Corp.; Marie Nash, officer director for Sen. Ted Stevens; and Cathie Straub, certified financial planner with Financial Resources Inc. Continuing board members are: Julie Alfred, development director, Anchorage Museum of History and Art; Carla Beam, associate director external affairs, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.; Charlotte Fox, executive director, Alaska State Council on the Arts; Deborah Gomez, facilities manager, Natchiq Inc.; Jana Hayenga, owner of Cabin Fever; Sherry Jaeger, retired, community volunteer; Lisa Keller, athlete, coach and trainer; Christine Klein, operations manager at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; Carrie Longoria, director, SAFE City Program, Municipality of Anchorage; SanDee McDowell, owner, Chez Ritz; and Julie Millington, manager of patron services, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.The Public Relations Society of America recently bestowed the rank of fellow on Karen Cedzo at its national conference in Atlanta. Cedzo, accredited in public relations, previously served as vice chancellor of university relations at the University of Alaska. Upon retiring in 1998, Cedzo established the public relations consulting firm, Sawmill Creek Enterprises Ltd. Cedzo also was honored by the Alaska Chapter of PRSA with a reception at the University of Alaska Museum Nov. 13.Jessica Mayer recently joined ASCG Inc.’s engineering department as a junior engineer in its airports/general civil division. Mayer, an engineer in training, has earned both a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering and a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Since joining ASCG, Mayer has worked on several aviation-related planning and design projects. Ramona Jathanha recently joined the architectural department of ASCG’s Anchorage office as a staff architect. Jathanha has been with ASCG’s Barrow office since 1994 as a project manager. Jathanha has a range of experience on architectural projects throughout Alaska.The Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce recently announced the following award winners: Youth of the Year, Christi Gibson; Citizen of the Year, Bert Hall; Educator of the Year, Barb Shogren; and Business Person of the Year, John Klapperich. New board members for 2002 are: president, Annette DeLong, Wells Fargo Bank Alaska; president-elect, Bill Moll, Valley Meineke and Lube Express; treasurer, John Klapperich, KMBQ 99.7 FM; Paddy Coan, Prudential Vista Real Estate; and Susan Price, Mat-Su Title Insurance Agency.Gov. Tony Knowles has appointed Elmer Lindstrom deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Lindstrom of Juneau began working for the state in 1979 as an accounting technician and later as fiscal analyst for the Division of Legislative Finance. Lindstrom also served as staff to the House Finance Committee and with the Office of Management and Budget. Lindstrom has worked for the Department of Health and Social Services since 1993 and will continue as the department’s legislative liaison.

Fairbanks hospital plans expansion

Officials at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital are considering improvements that could nearly double the size of the facility in the next 15 to 20 years. Work on the master site plan was completed this fall, and hospital leaders were prioritizing a list of possible projects, according to Jon Lundquist, assistant administrator for plant operations and support. "We have been setting priorities on what we can accomplish next year," he said. Next the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation will review the prioritized list, he said. The foundation, which owns the hospital facilities and leases them to Banner Health System, would approve funds for any construction, Lundquist said. Foundation members were due to review the plan in late November, he said. "I think this type of planning is integral to what we do here and is necessary for the future," he said. The current hospital building totals 500,000 square feet. But if the entire project is completed as proposed, Fairbanks Memorial could expand to measure 926,000 square feet, Lundquist said. He said it was too soon to note all the priorities. Some projects are needed to make room for subsequent work. "Certainly some areas are higher on our priority list," Lundquist said. Hospital officials are considering which projects and preliminary work could be tackled early next year and in summer.

Gas pipeline does not make economic sense, BP reports

ANCHORAGE -- More than $100 million spent on studying the feasibility of delivering North Slope gas to the Lower 48 indicates the project does not make economic sense, BP’s gas expert told industry executives Nov. 29.BP Vice President Ken Konrad told a meeting of the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc. that Alaska’s big three oil companies have spent the last year and large amounts of money evaluating the project. Work on the data will be done by the end of the year and a report completed as early as February or March, he said.Konrad expects the report to say the project is not economically viable right now."We simply cannot invest in projects where risks outweigh rewards," he told the group. That would put the huge international company out of business, he said.For the project to go forward, BP, ExxonMobil Production Co. and Phillips Alaska Inc. need both state and federal governments to move more quickly."We need government to keep up with us," Konrad said.The companies need federal legislation that would speed permitting for the pipeline, he said, calling that legislation a "must have."Delays in getting a national energy bill passed has not helped the project, Konrad said.The state has also failed to provide the companies with a clear understanding of how taxes and royalties from the proposed pipeline would be handled, Konrad said."This is by no means to say we have given up," he said. "Alaska gas can and will happen. We just need to get everyone in the same boat rowing at the same time."Sen. John Torgerson, chairman of the Joint Committee on Natural Gas Pipelines, told the group that the state won’t back off of its commitment to a southern pipeline route along the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and Alaska Highway to Alberta. State politicians believe that route would benefit Alaskans most.A route across the Beaufort Sea then south through Canada is favored by some Canadians because it would tap rich reserves being developed in the Mackenzie Delta.Roger Simmons, consul general of Canada, assured the group that the Canadian government is neutral on a route. He said his government believes the gas producers should make that decision.Joe Marushak, vice president for Phillips Alaska, said his company continues to support the southern route because Phillips believes it will be easier to permit and to expand in the future. Phillips announced earlier this month it would merge with Conoco Inc. in a $15.4 billion deal that would create the nation’s third-largest oil and gas company.BP is not interested in fighting the state, or any other government, over a preferred route, Konrad said."No project will go ahead unless all governments agree to it," he said.

GCI seeks to offer local phone service in 10 towns

General Communication Inc. said it has filed a request with Alaska Communications Systems to provide local telephone service in 10 communities also served by ACS.GCI reported Nov. 29 its plan to serve Delta Junction, Fort Greely, Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, Nenana, Ninilchik, North Pole, Seldovia and Soldotna. GCI said service could begin to some communities by fall 2003.The company also stated that the announcement followed a ruling on local phone competition earlier that week. Alaska Superior Court Judge John Reese upheld the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s decision to allow local competition in most of ACS’ service areas, GCI said.ACS is required to negotiate an interconnection agreement to allow GCI and other telecommunications providers to serve these communities, GCI officials said.GCI began local phone service in Fairbanks in June, said David Morris, GCI public affairs manager.GCI has provided local phone service in Anchorage for four years.The battle for local service in Fairbanks, as well as Juneau, has been brewing for several years.The problem for phone competition in Fairbanks and Juneau stems from the Telecommunications Act’s rules for competitive markets, which are chiefly directed at urban areas. Only Anchorage is defined as urban.A decision on local phone service in Fairbanks has been before the Alaska Public Utilities Commission, reorganized in 1999 as the RCA, as well as in the courts and before state lawmakers as a bill.New RCA commissioners tackled the issue during their first month in office. They later ruled in favor of allowing competition in the Fairbanks and Juneau markets, although ACS appealed the decision.

Groundfish a bright spot in grim ore, forest, fish picture

There’s not much good news out there for Alaska’s mining, timber and fisheries industries, according to a panel of speakers at the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc.’s annual conference Nov. 29-30 in Anchorage.Depressed resource commodity markets, made worse by recession, and in the case of fishing, competition from farmed salmon, make for a bleak outlook.One bright spot, however, is in the big groundfish industry in the Bering Sea, where harvests of pollock and cod have increased this year and are set to be up again in 2002, according to Frank Kelty, resource specialist for the City of Unalaska.Kelty, one of three speakers on the panel, also said crab populations are on the comeback. Adult opilio crab populations are still depressed, but juveniles are increasing rapidly."Juvenile crab populations are up 73 percent. That’s a good sign," Kelty said.It means in three or four years, opilio harvests may increase back toward historic levels. Crab has been one of the big-money fisheries in the Bering Sea, but has seen hard times because of depressed populations and harvests, he said.Halibut and sablefish, or black cod, are another bright spot for the state.The 2001 halibut season closed out with 26.4 million pounds harvested. Though prices softened toward the end of the season, fishermen still earned $200 million from halibut and sablefish this year, Kelty said.Things don’t look good for other fisheries, however. The Bristol Bay sockeye harvest is predicted to be 9 million salmon, one of the lowest levels in years, and salmon harvests in other areas of Western Alaska will remain depressed.Timber faces challenging times, too, according to Rick Rogers, vice president for land and resources for Chugach Alaska Corp.Japan, Alaska’s top customer for forest products, remains economically depressed, but fundamental changes in the nation’s construction industry also bode ill for Alaska, Rogers said.More homes are being built with western-style construction methods using two-by-four boards rather than the traditional Japanese wood-beam building.The wood-beam building that is being done is relying more on laminated, manufactured wood that uses less expensive European softwoods rather than the high quality, more expensive Alaska spruce, he said.There are also supply problems in Alaska. Restrictions on harvesting in the big Tongass National Forest have cut into the supply of available logs, although logging on private, Native-owned lands in Southeast Alaska continued, Rogers said.Alaska still has ample forest lands with good-quality timber, particularly in Interior Alaska. Much of this is owned by the state of Alaska and Alaska Native corporations, he said.For example, the Tanana State Forest in the Interior has a new timber management plan that could make available 60 million board feet of timber yearly, if markets were available, Rogers said.That’s as much as is being harvested in the Tongass this year, he said.Rogers thinks Alaskans should investigate the potential for manufactured wood products using the ample lower-quality, small-diameter trees that are available in Southcentral and Interior Alaska.This is the strategy Scandinavian forest operators are following, who are now selling in Alaska’s key market, Japan.The picture for minerals is similar. The world’s mining industry is in dire straits, but Alaska is positioned as well as can be expected given the circumstances, according to John Rense, chief operating officer for NANA Development Corp.The state has abundant prospects, a good track record with large, successful mines like Red Dog, Greens Creek, Fort Knox and the Usibelli coal mine, and a friendly state government and supportive political environment.Still, metals prices have been declining for several years in real terms. Prices for copper and zinc are at historic lows, in inflation-adjusted terms, Rense said.That is a result of fundamental changes in the economies of western nations, where technology changes have pushed almost all basic commodity prices to low levels."Commodity prices have been pushed down so the value can be taken in processing and manufacturing," Rense said. "In a macro sense, that’s a logical policy that’s politically popular because it results in a lot of jobs," Rense said.No turnaround should be expected in the basic price structure of metals markets until some major change affects these fundamentals, he said.Depressed prices and surpluses in metals markets have brought about consolidations and a general hunkering-down in the mining industry. "Managements have focused on return on capital, which means controlling costs," and concentrating on producing properties rather than exploring for new deposits, Rense said.

No cutbacks, producers say, despite low oil prices

Despite lower oil prices, Alaska’s petroleum operators are cautiously optimistic and are sticking with plans for increased spending on new projects and drilling in 2002.Steve Marshall, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., told the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc.’s annual conference in Anchorage Nov. 29 that his company is planning $700 million in capital expenditures this year and will spend $3.5 billion over the next five years.A major project for BP next year will be a $100 million program to develop North Slope viscous, or heavy, oil resources, Marshall said.Alaska accounts for 10 percent of BP’s worldwide oil production, and the company’s production in Alaska will increase 13 percent next year with its new Northstar field now in production, he said.Responding to a question about reported offers to buy BP’s assets in Alaska by other companies, Marshall said BP is sticking with its long-range plans to increase its core assets in Alaska.The company is concentrating on work in and around producing fields and existing infrastructure, and will drill three exploration wells next year aimed at increasing reserves around the producing fields.The North Slope and the North Sea have been the two pillars of BP’s worldwide oil production for years, Marshall said, and the company now sees its large, undeveloped gas resources in Alaska as key to increasing its gas business in North America, where BP is the largest gas producer.The North Slope still has substantial potential for new oil, with an estimated 7 billion barrels of oil resource yet to be developed, Marshall said.Rick Mott, exploration manager for Philips Alaska Inc., told the RDC conference his company sees continued bright prospects for new exploration.Phillips will drill or participate in 10 exploration wells on the North Slope this winter, including five in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The company will also test three separate accumulations of oil and gas discovered in the NPR-A in previous drilling.Mott also said the company’s new Alpine field is producing more than 90,000 barrels per day on average. The field had originally been expected to produce 60,000 barrels daily.Jack Williams, Alaska production manager for ExxonMobil Production Co., said his company is proceeding with plans for a $1 billion gas recycling and condensate production project in the Point Thomson gas field, 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay.The company hopes to have the project in production in 2006, producing 70,000 barrels per day of condensate, a liquid hydrocarbon product condensed from natural gas liquids produced with dry gas at the field. Until a gas pipeline is available, the dry gas will be reinjected into the underground reservoir, Williams said.In Cook Inlet, Marathon Oil Co. and Unocal are pushing ahead with an aggressive program to explore for gas on the southern Kenai Peninsula. The companies previously reported that exploration wells drilled in a partnership near Ninilchik were successful. Although reserve estimates were not released, plans for a gas pipeline from Kenai to the Ninilchik area are in the works, according to Chuck Pierce, who heads Unocal’s Alaska operations.Pierce told the RDC that he expects the pipeline to be in operation by November 2003. It could eventually be extended further south to Anchor Point and eventually Homer, depending on the success of other exploration wells in the area, he said.John Barnes, Marathon’s Alaska manager, told the conference that his company’s new Wolf Lake gas field began production Nov. 17, producing 3 million cubic feet per day. This is the first new gas supply brought into the Southcentral Alaska market since 1979, Barnes said.Marathon sees several other prospects for gas near the new field, which can be tapped using the infrastructure built for Wolf Lake, he said. Gary Carlson, senior vice president for Forest Oil Corp., told the conference his company’s top priority is developing its new Redoubt Shoal oil and gas field, which is now estimated to contain more than 50 million barrels of recoverable oil.Forest is spending $100 million on Alaska projects this year and will increase this to $150 million in 2001, Carlson told the RDC.

Concern for state's fiscal health a top Alaska 20-20 topic

Five hundred Alaskans, including almost one-third of the state Legislature, met in Anchorage Nov. 27-28 for the kickoff of "Alaska 20-20," an initiative by the Alaska Humanities Forum for residents of the state to chart a long-term plan for the future.The effort was to define "what kind of community we want our children to take over," said Ira Perman, who heads the Humanities Forum.Those at the conference split into working groups to tackle issues like the sustainability of the state’s economy, public services and education. Perman said the immediate effort was aimed at defining goals and benchmarks against which to measure progress in a similar gathering next year and in following years.The idea for Alaska 20-20 grew out of a meeting of 40 long-time Alaskans held two years ago. "There was an anxiety about the future that they felt, as nice as things seemed to be going then," Perman said. "The current generation of adult Alaskans have seen pretty good times. The economy was good, as was the quality of life," Perman said. "It was like a float down a river. But there were some that detected the sound of rapids ahead."Concern for the state’s economy and the fiscal structure of state government were major themes in the Nov. 27-28 conference. "You can’t have a high quality of life without a sound economy," Perman said.Ron Shoaf, an Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. senior manager and one of the participants in Alaska 20-20, said that several recent findings by a coalition of business groups he works with, through the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, are causes for concern about the state’s future.The coalition, which participated in the Alaska 20-20 conference, also includes the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc. and the Alaska High-Tech Business Council.One finding is that Alaska ranks 49th out of the 50 states in the rate of personal income growth. The rate of income growth in Alaska is one fourth that of the next state, ranking 48th. Most of the income growth that has occurred in Alaska can be traced to higher Alaska Permanent Fund dividends and increased government and oil industry spending, Shoaf said.Another indicator is that the amount of per capita personal income has dropped from 150 percent above the national average a few years ago to a point just above the national average, Shoaf said.One other troubling sign is that there is no growth on the state’s "under 40" population. Alaska has a high birth rate but this is being offset by high out-migration of young people in search of better employment opportunities elsewhere.Jamie Kenworthy of the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, who headed the Alaska 20-20 session on a sustainable economy, said his group didn’t come to any clear consensus.This was no surprise, given that surveys indicate a huge disconnect between what the public thinks about the economy and what business leaders, who have their fingers on its pulse, think, Kenworthy said.A recent survey showed that business leaders are somewhat pessimistic about the next three to five years, he said. A public survey, on the other hand, showed 75 percent of respondents are optimistic."We see a larger issue, of the public not understanding the state’s economic base, and where the money comes from to run the economy," Kenworthy said."This is particularly true of people in services and education. The challenge is for people not to be confused about where the dollars that sustains jobs in the schools, business and industry come from, and how we can grow this," he said.

Bank economist forecasts steady 2002 Alaska economy

The U.S. economy should rebound from recession next year while the Alaska market could hold steady, according to one U.S. economist.Sung Won Sohn, chief economist for Wells Fargo Bank, believes that Alaska should post job growth of 1.7 percent this year and 1 percent for 2002. Sohn spoke Nov. 30 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel during the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc.’s annual conference."My conclusion about the Alaska economy is that the U.S. economy may be in recession, but the Alaska economy is not," Sohn said.Sohn, who studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at Harvard Business School, once served as chief economist on President Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisers. He joined Wells Fargo in 1974. Sohn is now based in Minneapolis.He cited strengths of the Alaska economy including a relatively low unemployment rate. Major projects like a proposed national missile defense system and drilling on part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could help the state, he said.Alaska may see challenges, though, in the coming year, he noted. A tight labor market restricts job increases, he said. Declining oil prices also will have an affect, Sohn said.Tourism in Alaska may see a slowdown next summer because many people are hesitant to fly following the terrorist attacks."Next spring things might be different, and they might come to Alaska anyway. Right now people are afraid to fly," he said.Alaska’s total exports could see changes due to a struggling economy in Japan, which accounts for 52 percent of the state’s exports, Sohn said.Decisions around the world affect the Alaska economy, he said. A resource-based economy is influenced by price swings for oil or seafood, he said.Nationally, Sohn expects the economy to turn around, perhaps beginning in the first quarter of 2002 and at least by midyear."I don’t believe the economy is in such bad shape," he said.One reason Sohn believes in economic rebound is due to a low U.S. jobless rate of 5.4 percent, compared with 11 percent in 1982 or 8 percent during the last recession in 1990.Also, economic stimulus by the government will help, he said.Interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve Board also aid Americans, and Sohn expects future cuts, although interest rates could climb by the second half of 2002.Declining oil prices affect Alaska’s economy but are a boon to the rest of the country, he said."The bottom line is as you look at the U.S. economic growth you should see growth for the first quarter of next year," Sohn said, contrasting that expectation with the current recession.

December-Issue-1 2001

UAA markets the Commons for summer conventions use

University of Alaska Anchorage officials are promoting the Commons and its student housing complex as potential meeting space or as inexpensive lodging for summer event participants.The facilities would be available this summer from May 10 to Aug. 10, when most students vacate student housing. Currently, the complex totals 950 beds, although some rooms require summer maintenance. That leaves roughly 600 beds typically available at one time, said Lori Davey of Alaska Marketing Consultants, which is helping promote the service.Meeting or event participants can also use the 350-person cafeteria as well as three private conference rooms, a workout facility and a convenience store, all in the Commons."It’s a jewel of a place," Davey said.UAA completed construction of the facility in 1998 and has hosted summer groups at student housing in past years, although university officials have not promoted the facility, she said. Consequently, the facility has registered about 35 percent capacity for the past few years, she said.A new marketing effort, begun Nov. 1 by Davey and her partner, Yvette Milne, aims to boost summer capacity.Although the UAA summer meeting and lodging business brings in some revenue, the chief aim is to help finance staffing levels for the facility, she said. Davey and UAA Conference and Catering Services are aiming for occupation of 50 percent during summer.Nightly room rates start at $30 for some youth groups, $35 for UAA affiliated programs and $45 for groups not affiliated with the university. Costs can also increase if guests want linens changed daily, Davey said.Most of the rooms for conference guests are single rooms with a limited amount of double spaces. Rooms feature local telephone service, cable television, computer Ethernet connections and coffee makers.Marketing efforts are targeting delegates for in-state meetings or national convention delegates who are on a tight budget, Davey said. Other possibilities include church, sports or youth groups, wedding parties and traveling family groups.In the past, church groups and others have booked rooms at UAA student housing, Davey said."It can appeal to a lot of people," she said.At the Commons the Grand Hall totals 2,250 square feet and is available for receptions. Seating in the two major conference rooms is listed at a maximum of 72 people in Room 106 and 84 in Room 107 in the theater-style arrangement. The Canary Room seats up to 45 people.Both the Canary Room and Room 107 can open up into the Creekside Eatery dining room to accommodate a large event with seating a capacity of 340.

Around the World December 2, 2001

STATEFerry builder’s lawsuit settled for $500,000JUNEAU -- What once was a $53 million lawsuit against the state over construction of Alaska’s newest state ferry has been settled. The state will pay a subcontractor for Halter Marine Inc. $500,000 and an insurance company will chip in $750,000.Halter Marine had sought $46 million, claiming the state did too many inspections and ordered too many changes while the Kennicott was being built. That hurt other projects, the company claimed. In addition, subcontractor Jamestown Metal Marine Systems sought $7.2 million.Halter went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings last spring, and the bankruptcy trustees decided the lawsuit was not going anywhere. Jamestown then settled for the $1.25 million.The 382-foot Kennicott was built at Halter’s Mississippi shipyard for just under $75 million.Park Service gets few Glacier Bay applicationsJUNEAU -- Fewer than two dozen people have applied for compensation over commercial fishing closures in Glacier Bay, according to the National Park Service. The application period for a share of $23 million in federal funds began in September and closes Jan. 28.Incomplete or late applications won’t be accepted, park service officials have said. Program Manager Ronald Dick said he expected up to 400 applications, and he urged those who qualify to get the paperwork in early so officials can contact then to fill in missing areas if needed.A federal law closed part of Glacier Bay to commercial fishing in 1999, and by 2000 other sections only were open to certain fishermen in selected fisheries until they retire.Applicants must show a history of earnings derived from the bay’s fisheries in order to be eligible for part of the $23 million Congress appropriated to compensate people for lost future earnings.Halibut season ends with some quota leftPETERSBURG -- Ripples from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks weakened prices at the end of Alaska’s eight-month halibut season, which closed Nov. 15 with about three million pounds of the quota remaining.Statewide totals show season landings at 95 percent of the 58.5 million pound allocation."We had some pretty poor weather the last month and a half or so. Some people felt they couldn’t get out there to finish fishing their allocations," said Jessie Garrett of the National Marine Fisheries Service.Season-end prices were in the rage of $1.60 to $1.80 a pound in Kodiak for freezer-bound halibut, while payments ranged up to $2 a pound for fresh sales, according to Alaska Fresh Seafoods owner Dave Woodruff.The Sept. 11 attacks hurt the price as the season was coming to an end."With the events of September, halibut, like other seafood products, especially high-end products , took a dive in prices," said Norquest Seafood President Terry Gardiner.In recent years, halibut prices have reached as much as $2.75 a pound.NATIONFBI issues warning to natural gas industryWASHINGTON -- The FBI has warned energy companies that Osama bin Laden may have approved plans to attack North American natural gas pipelines and facilities if he’s captured or killed, a warning that prompted a tightening of security.The warning was sent in a memo to industry security officials late last month.Attorney General John Ashcroft confirmed the warning, though he expressed some doubt that attacks would be conditioned on bin Laden’s capture or death.The alert did not single out a specific target, but referred to natural gas supplies including the more than 260,000 miles of gas pipelines and hundreds of pumping stations and other facilities.The FBI alert said the information came "from a source of undetermined reliability" and that "no additional details on how such an attack would be carried out, or which facilities would be targeted" could be learned.Trade group predicts modest holiday salesDALLAS -- The trunk of Diana Flores’ car could be a roadmap to this year’s holiday shopping season. The Dallas woman’s trunk is stuffed with Wal-Mart shopping bags.Discount stores are expected to be among the season’s strongest retailers, while department stores are expected to compete for shoppers by slashing prices.The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will rise 2.5 percent to 3 percent, to $206 billion, the smallest increase since 1990. But some analysts consider the trade group’s forecast too rosy considering the weak economy and a reluctance by Americans to celebrate while the country is worried about terrorism and war.WORLDCasual Corner buys Brooks Brothers chainLONDON -- British retailer Marks & Spencer is selling the venerable Brooks Brothers men’s clothing chain for $225 million in cash to the owner of women’s apparel seller Casual Corner."We think it is one of the best brands, and that was the reason we wanted it,’’ said Mark Shulman, chief operating officer of Enfield, Conn.-based Retail Brand Alliance, which hammered out the deal Nov. 22."This puts us in the men’s wear business and it is very exciting,’’ he added.The price is less than one-third of the $750 million Marks & Spencer paid for Brooks Brothers back in 1988.Brooks Brothers, whose business has been challenged by the relaxation of dress codes in the workplace, operates about 160 stores in the United States and through partnerships abroad, operates approximately 75 stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Italy and Taiwan.-- Compiled from business wire services.

Juneau laundry thrives since 1895

Gold brought most people to Juneau near the end of the 19th century, but for E.R. Jaeger it was the lure of laundry.Four generations and 106 years later, Jaeger’s Alaska Laundry & Dry Cleaners is the oldest family run business in the state.Jaeger was the youngest of a dozen children and the only one in the family with a college education, said great-grandson Neil MacKinnon, who operates the family laundry business now.At 27, Jaeger traveled from his home in Eureka, Wis., to Tacoma, Wash., to work in his brother’s laundry. After a two-year internship, he decided to open his own laundry in either Alaska or Hawaii.Alaska won by the toss of a coin.Juneau already was a booming gold town and fledgling fishing community by the time Jaeger showed up in 1895. He purchased Juneau Laundry and renamed it Alaska Steam Laundry. The laundry had been in business for about two years in a log cabin behind the Baranof Hotel.The laundry was powered by a huge steam engine, which ran washing machines and heated water. Commercial dryers had not yet been invented."Miners, prospectors and fishermen worked hard and got dirty,’’ MacKinnon said. "People had to be clean. It was the first line against disease."Jaeger’s laundry turned out to be a gold mine in more ways the one.Small amounts of gold that had washed out of miners’ pockets and clothes were routinely found in drain traps, MacKinnon said."It was certainly worth doing their laundry in those days,’’ MacKinnon said.Jaeger often grubstaked miners, and he made and lost many fortunes, MacKinnon said.Jaeger’s only child, Hazel, married Simpson MacKinnon, who took over the business early in the 20th century. The couple’s son, James Simpson "Skip’’ MacKinnon then ran the laundry until the 1970s.Neil MacKinnon, his brother John and sister Kathleen grew up with the business."Our first playpen was a laundry cart,’’ Neil MacKinnon said. "We began life by looking at the world over the edge of it.’’Neil MacKinnon had just graduated from college with a degree in mining engineering, when he was asked by his father to help with the family business in 1972. His younger siblings were still in school at the time.The laundry’s location has moved several times over the years to its present location at Eleventh Street and Glacier Avenue. Behind the laundry is a separate Laundromat. A second dry cleaning branch that features a drive-through is in the Mendenhall Valley. There are about 30 people on the laundry’s payroll.The company’s subsidiary Alaska Sterile Laundry Service is at the Lemon Creek Correction Center. The prison-operated facility cleans linen and laundry for Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Employment cases abound this U.S. Supreme Court term

When the United States Supreme Court opened its term this fall, it had a full plate of employment cases on its docket. The court has no less than 14 employment cases on its docket, and there is always the chance of the justices granting writs of certiorari to hear more employment cases during the term. Discrimination is the hot topic, but the court is also hearing its first Family and Medical Leave Act case, an old case comes back for a third time, and employee benefits are also at issue. Highlights of the cases follow.DiscriminationCompanies with arbitration clauses in their employee handbooks or policies will want to keep an eye on EEOC vs. Wafflehouse Inc. In that case, the Supreme Court will consider whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission retains jurisdiction to prosecute a discrimination complaint where the employee and the employer have entered into an arbitration agreement.In the appeal of a claim alleging violation of the Americans With Disability Act, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the individual employee must arbitrate his claims although the EEOC could still seek injunctive relief.In two other ADA cases, the court will determine whether a factory worker at Toyota who has suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis in her hands and arms after using pneumatic tools on the assembly line is covered by the Americans With Disability Act.In the second case, the court will hear whether an employer airline engaged in a sufficient interactive process to consider an employee’s request for a transfer to accommodate his back condition when the employer had a seniority system governing the transfers.Medical leaveIn the first FMLA case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices will consider Department of Labor rules requiring employers to give notice to the employee that the leave will count as FMLA leave.The claimant was working under a union contract that allowed up to seven months of medical leave. She was granted the leave, but the company did not notify her that the leave would be counted as FMLA leave.The statute allows only 12 weeks of leave, but the regulations promulgated by the Department of Labor requires the employer to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as FMLA-qualifying, and to give notice of the designation to the employee. There is a split in authority over the validity of the regulations that should be resolved by the Supreme Court.Labor lawIn a traditional labor case, the court will determine whether an undocumented alien who was fired for allegedly engaging in union-organizing activity is entitled to back pay. The claimant was discovered to have lied about his identity and was not a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in this country. The NLRB allowed an award of back pay from the time of the claim up through the discovery by the employer of the claimant’s unlawful status.Affirmative actionFederal contractors will be keeping a close eye on the Adarand case that returns to the U.S. Supreme Court for a third time. In this case, a minority-owned disadvantaged business enterprise received a bidding preference and was awarded a subcontract to construct highway guardrails. The case began in 1989.BenefitsCompanies that provide health insurance, and their carriers, will be following Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. vs. Knutson. In this case, the health insurance carrier seeks recovery of benefits paid to an employee who was involved in an automobile accident and later recovered damages from a third party.The question before the court is whether such claims for subrogation fall within the provisions of actions for equitable relief authorized by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. A second ERISA case addresses whether state laws requiring second opinions for medical necessity decisions by health maintenance organizations is pre-empted by federal law.Occupational safetyThe Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s jurisdiction is at issue in a case involving citations against a drilling company for safety violations within state territorial waters. The 5th Circuit held that the United States Coast Guard had exclusive jurisdiction over the case.Public employersIn a case which will be watched by the State of Alaska, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether a federal provision delaying the statute of limitations for filing state discrimination claims would apply to cases against the state that have been dismissed for violating the Eleventh Amendment precluding federal jurisdiction over such cases against states.The common law of the workplace is continuing to change. By the conclusion of the Supreme Court term next June, we should have the answers to a number of these questions.Copyright 2001 by Paul S. Wilcox. Used by permission. Paul S. Wilcox is chairman of the employment law practice at Hughes Thorsness Powell Huddleston & Bauman LLC in Anchorage. He can be reached by e-mail at ([email protected]).

Gas tops in Phillips, Conoco future

If the latest oil company merger goes through, in late 2002, the name on the Phillips Alaska Inc. building in downtown Anchorage will change once again, becoming ConocoPhillips.Phillips Petroleum Co. and Conoco Inc. agreed Nov. 18 to merge, combining two medium-size petroleum companies into what will be the third largest U.S. oil and gas company and the sixth largest in the world.Phillips itself acquired ARCO Alaska Inc., the Alaska operating subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Co., when that company was acquired by British Petroleum.There are important implications for Alaska in the Phillips-Conoco merger.One is that the combined companies will place a major emphasis on natural gas. Conoco Chairman Archie W. Dunham said gas represents 38 percent of the combined companies’ holdings, and the goal is to increase that to 50 percent.The new company will put more emphasis on exploration and production generally, Dunham said. About 57 percent of the combined companies’ business is from these so-called "upstream" activities, and the goal is to increase that to between 60 percent and 70 percent.If a North Slope gas pipeline is built or some other way is found to commercialize stranded gas in northern Alaska, the new company will be able to add those reserves to its assets, immediately strengthening the financial position of the company.The combined ConocoPhillips would be a financially stronger partner in a possible North Slope natural gas pipeline. Some analysts have expressed concern over whether Phillips, still debt-laden from its acquisition of ARCO Alaska, could handle its share of financing a possible $17 billion gas pipeline project.The priority on gas would also strengthen Phillips’ already strong exploration program in northern Alaska, where many unexplored areas are expected to yield natural gas.A question, however, is whether combining with Conoco will cause Phillips to shift its strategy of favoring a southern, Alaska Highway route for a North Slope gas pipeline to favoring a shorter northern, offshore route that is also preferred by ExxonMobil Production Co., another North Slope producer.Conoco, after acquiring Gulf Canada last July, has large gas holdings in the Mackenzie Delta. Phillips has large gas holdings on the North Slope. This puts the merged company in the same position as ExxonMobil, which also has undeveloped gas holdings in both Alaska and the Mackenzie Delta.A single pipeline following a northern route would connect the two gas-producing regions, carrying gas from both to market more economically, preliminary findings by a study group of North Slope gas producers show.An alternate scenario is for two stand-alone pipelines, a southern route from the North Slope through Interior Alaska and into the Yukon Territory and Alberta, and a second from the Mackenzie Delta south to Alberta.In recent testimony before the Senate Energy Committee in Washington, D.C., Phillips said it favored the southern route, which is also backed by the State of Alaska.Another aspect of the merger is that Conoco has moved aggressively into gas-to-liquids development, with a $75 million test facility now under development in Ponca City, Okla., to commercialize proprietary GTL technology. Conoco has said that it intends to build its first commercial GTL plant in 2004. Phillips has no gas-to-liquids development program.Phillips, for its part, has major expertise in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and developed proprietary LNG technology for the Kenai plant it owns with Marathon Oil. Kenai is only U.S. plant to export LNG.The combined company’s emphasis on gas liquefaction technologies will mean all three major North Slope producers, including ExxonMobil and BP, will have strong GTL development programs.Gas-to-liquids plants, which would produce high-value liquids that could be shipped through the existing trans-Alaska oil pipeline, are seen as an alternative to a conventional natural gas pipeline if a pipeline is found to be uneconomic.Conoco is no stranger to Alaska. The company was an aggressive explorer on the North Slope and discovered and developed the Milne Point field, the first of a series of smaller fields on the North Slope.In 1994 Conoco withdrew from Alaska and sold Milne Point and other holdings to BP, including a discovery in what is now the Badami field.The company was an early pioneer in development of the large viscous oil resource on the Slope, investing substantially in an early experimental production program in the large Schrader Bluff deposit, which is part of the Milne Point field.Phillips has been in Alaska for decades and was an early explorer in the Cook Inlet region. It was not prominent on the North Slope, however, until the company acquired ARCO Alaska Inc. and became an operating company on the Slope.On a national level, the merger will make the combined ConocoPhillips into the nation’s largest refiner and gasoline retailer, combining pump brands like Conoco, Phillips 66, Union 76 and Circle K.Analysts have pointed out that both companies do well playing niche markets and can now enjoy the benefits of larger economies. The estimated savings in the merger is $750 million yearly.Both companies have made recent acquisitions. Phillips bought Tosco, the nation’s largest independent refiner, last spring, and in July Conoco closed a deal to acquire Gulf Canada, which added major reserves of oil and gas in northern Canada to its own holdings in the Canadian north.Both companies are strong in the North Sea and both were pioneers there, developing new, deep-water technologies. Conoco was the first company to use a new type of one-leg platform concept in the area, while Phillips was the first company to develop an offshore platform that can be reused.Both are also part of new consortiums formed to develop large gas fields in Saudi Arabia.Phillips has a stake in the big Kashagan field in the Caspian region of Kazakhstan, a discovery some oil analysts think could rival Prudhoe Bay. Conoco has ventures in Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.The two companies also said they will continue Phillips’ joint-venture with Chevron in chemicals and plastics, Chevron Phillips Chemicals. A natural gas gathering and processing joint venture, Duke Energy Field Service, will also be continued.

Saving for college more attractive

Most of us have seen the statistics. The average cost of a four-year private college education, including room and board, now totals in excess of $100,000.Projections are that by the time a child born this year begins college, this cost may reach $250,000.Our federal government has recognized that saving amounts of this size can be a daunting task and has created several tax-advantaged programs to help.Recently enacted tax law changes make several government approved tax advantaged education investment accounts even more attractive.There are several improved opportunities for reducing or eliminating the income tax on investment earnings from funds set aside to pay for the college education of family members.Coverdell accountsFor starters, beginning in 2002, education individual retirement accounts are looking a lot better than in earlier years.Contributions to an education IRA, renamed Coverdell Education Savings accounts, are now limited to $2,000 per year per beneficiary.Prior to 2002, the annual contribution limit was $500.In 2002, the ability to fund such accounts does not begin to phase out until a married couple reaches $190,000, or a single person reaches $95,000 in adjusted gross income for the year.For those who qualify and who plan on establishing an education fund when a child is very young, a Coverdell account should be considered.Here are some basic facts about Coverdell accounts, which go into effect in 2002: Contributions may be made only until the 18th birthday of the beneficiary; Multiple Coverdell accounts can be established for a designated child; Contributions, which must be made before April 15 of the following year, for example, by April 15, 2003 for the 2002 year, are not tax deductible; and Earnings are tax-deferred and ultimately tax-free if used to pay qualified expenses.Qualified expenses now include tuition, fees, academic tutoring, books, supplies, equipment, room and board, uniforms, transportation and supplementary items or services in connection with attendance at a public, private or religious school for kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as college.Note that eligible expenditures include Internet access and related services, as well as computer technology.Normally Coverdell account balances must be distributed by the time the beneficiary child reaches age 30, unless there is a special need such as a physical, mental, or emotional condition, including a learning disability.Failure to spend the funds in the Coverdell account on qualified expenses by the necessary date will result in the application of penalties, and income tax on the accumulated earnings of the account to the founder of the account.Section 529 plansIn my opinion, the most important new college-funding vehicle is the Section 529 plan, which is authorized in two forms: Prepaid tuition programs under which the investment account grows at the rate of inflation applicable to the state’s higher education system; and A college savings plan, which is a state-sponsored mutual fund account under which the value fluctuates based on the underlying investments.I would like to focus on the second aspect of Section 529, the college savings plan.Investments in these college savings plans are nondeductible for income tax purposes when made.Beginning in 2002, distributions from these plans are excluded from gross income for tax purposes if they are used for qualified higher education expenses, defined as tuition, books, room and board and supplies. Regardless of the state plan selected, the funds accumulated can be used to pay for qualified expenses at colleges in other states.Prior to 2002, any earnings or appreciation on the account were taxable to the beneficiary.For estate and gift tax purposes, a donor’s investment in a savings plan is a gift, which means the funds invested are removed from the donor’s taxable estate.However, the donor still retains control over the account in the following ways: The donor can change the named beneficiary, who must be a member of the donor’s family including first cousins starting in 2002, at any time without any negative tax consequences; and The donor/owner of the account can, at any time, withdraw the funds in the account, but the earnings and appreciation are taxable as ordinary income, and a 10 percent penalty must be paid on the income recognized.For wealthy individuals who wish to reduce the size of their taxable estate, Section 529 allows a huge advantage by allowing one-time contributions to college savings plan accounts of up to $50,000, or $100,000 for a married couple. A special tax election must be made to accomplish this large initial gift without negative estate and gift tax consequences.These plans allow the donor the unique opportunity to change the beneficiary designation between family members, including grandchildren.This flexibility is great, especially when dealing with children who don’t attend college, "problem children," or children who are not worthy in the eyes of the donor.Finally, an appealing aspect of the plans is the wide variety of investment options and approaches that are available in each state’s plan.It is also permissible to rollover the funds in one state’s plan to another state’s plan with no tax effect, but this can be done only once per year.The State of Alaska has sponsored its own college savings plan, and more information can be obtained from its selected investment company, T. Rowe Price.In an effort to encourage savings for education, in 2002 the government makes it permissible to fund both a Coverdell account and a Section 529 account for the same beneficiary during the same year.As with Coverdell accounts, Section 529 plan investment earnings or appreciation can become taxable and subject to tax penalties if not used for qualified expenses in the year withdrawn.Estate tax ramifications, gross income limits, marginal tax rates, the affect on the Lifetime Learning and Hope credits, and other factors, such as the effect on student financial aid options, need to be discussed with your tax and investment advisers before entering into an education funding program.Kevin Van Nortwick is a partner with Mikunda, Cottrell & Co. in Anchorage. He can be reached via e-mail at ([email protected]).

In Bush, FedEx means trip to the post office

Most rural Alaskans expecting a package from Federal Express now have to go to the post office to claim it.The United States Postal Service in June began handling FedEx deliveries out of Anchorage to most remote Alaska communities. FedEx says the new system of converting packages to priority mail saves the company money and allows better tracking and speedier service in most cases.FedEx, which began service in Alaska in the early 1980s, used to forward packages to Alaska Airlines, which in turn subcontracted to delivery services in rural communities."It was not an ideal deal for FedEx or our customers,’’ said Rick Onstott, senior manager of Alaska remote operations in Anchorage. "We had no control over the tracking of the packages.’’Now the company can track packages by accessing the postal service’s network to find out shipping and delivery status. And packages are often getting to communities quicker through the postal service, Onstott said.The company historically has lost money from Bush operations; now it’s losing less, Onstott said."It improves our bottom line and we believe it’s a better deal for our remote Alaskan customers,’’ Onstott said.The new system has drawn some criticism, but overall, customers have been pleased, Onstott said.Skagway customers, for example, used to have packages delivered to their door by subcontracted delivery services."Some customers in larger Bush communities are inconvenienced by having to go to the post office,’’ Onstott said.FedEx does not charge extra for shipping to or from Alaska, but it also has never guaranteed same-day or two-day service in Alaska, especially in the Bush where sometimes packages were delivered by whatever means possible, he said."People have assumed we handled packages all the way to a customer’s door but that has never been the case,’’ Onstott said. "In remote Alaska, we’ve never had a purple and white van come rolling up and a courier bouncing out to make deliveries.’’Large Alaska communities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak and Kenai are not affected by the change in shipping and will still have deliveries made by FedEx, Onstott said.FedEx customers in Barrow, Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue, Nome, Petersburg, Unalaska/Dutch Harbor and Wrangell continue to have packages delivered to their doors by contracted delivery agents, Onstott said."Those are the communities that have seen consistent day-to-day, year-in and year-out large volumes of service,’’ Onstott said. "Other communities had sporadic volume so it made better sense to convert them to the postal service.’’Onstott said the true test of the new delivery system will come this month, where holiday packages increase 40 percent for the weeks leading up to Christmas.

This Week in Alaska Business History December 2, 2001

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past."Those who cannotremember the past arecondemned to repeat it."-- George Santayana, 1863-195220 years ago this weekAnchorage TimesDec. 2, 1981JAL asks traffic rights here for polar flightsBy Deb DavidTimes WriterJapan Air Lines has requested Anchorage traffic rights in its over-the-pole flights between Tokyo and Europe in exchange for rights in the airline’s Tokyo-to-New York connection.If accepted, the trade-off potentially could double the number of foreign tourists staying over in Alaska, said Reyn Bowman, president of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.The exchange was proposed during recent negotiations between Japan and the United States over rules limiting carriers’ operations in foreign countries. United Airlines and other domestic carriers want flying rights in Tokyo. In exchange, JAL wants more leeway in the United States.... "JAL’s request is really a blessing in disguise," Bowman said."Japan Air Lines flies about 32 flights a day through Anchorage, but only those between Tokyo and New York (two flights a day) have Anchorage traffic rights. This request would give all the other flights rights."Anchorage TimesDec. 2, 1981New firm to harvest Alaska bottomfishBy Deb DavidTimes WriterA new joint-venture fishing firm plans to use six processor-trawlers to harvest bottomfish next (year) in Alaska waters off the Aleutian Chain and in the Bering Sea.Joint Trawlers North Pacific Ltd. will harvest bottomfish in the United States’ 200-mile fishery conservation zone off the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii and in the trust territories of the Pacific Islands."In Alaska we will be trawling for pollock, yellowfin, sole and cod," said Gregory A. Dahl, president of Joint Trawlers North Pacific in Seattle.He said fish will be processed on vessel processing platforms for now.The foreign-owned processing ships will be supplied with fish by American trawling vessels, which will catch fish in U.S. waters and deliver them to the processing vessels at sea.10 years ago this weekAlaska Journal of CommerceDec. 2, 1991Legislators wary of Fire Island proposalBy Bob TkaezFor the Alaska Journal of CommerceFor the second time in barely five weeks, the House and Senate transportation committees have cast wary eyes toward the Hickel administration’s construction proposals.This time the subject was port development in Fire Island or elsewhere in Cook Inlet.Paul Fuhs, Division of Economic Development director, found himself defending the credibility of a yet-to-be-completed feasibility study of Fire Island in light of Gov. Walter J. Hickel’s strong public support for a port facility there and a recent memorandum of understanding for a state purchase of land there.The memo also drew questions on a second, more general port feasibility study not expected to be completed until late spring.... Fuhs, also at the recent session, emphasized that Hickel is viewing the Fire Island proposal strictly as "a business decision. If the project doesn’t make economic sense we’re not going to build it," the governor declared, according to Fuhs.Alaska Journal of CommerceDec. 2, 1991Poles want to stay with Cold BayBy Ray TysonAlaska Journal of CommercePolish fishing companies want to continue using airport and dock facilities at Cold Bay provided their country’s fishing agreement with the United States is renewed and there are ample stocks of pollock remaining in the Bering Sea.Dave Jensen, administrative vice president for Reeve Aleutian Airways, said the deep-sea fishing company Dalmor is expected to send five 300-foot trawlers to Cold Bay in January.Dalmor and two other Polish fishing companies, Gryf and Odra, sent 24 trawlers to the Aleutian Island port last summer for fuel and supplies and to replace crew members who serve at sea in six-month shifts.Under its expired agreement with the United States, Polish trawlers fishing the Doughnut Hole in international waters could enter an "economic zone" in U.S. waters to transfer their catch to processing ships.-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.


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