Slope well review reveals no issues beyond those flagged by BP

An emergency engineering review of all North Slope wells ordered last October by state regulators did not reveal any significant issues but a regulation change is still likely.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued the emergency directive to North Slope production and exploration companies Oct. 30 after it was determined a BP well at Prudhoe Bay Drill Site 2 that failed and sprayed about 100 gallons of oil last April did so largely due to its outer surface casing being set in the permafrost — and the permafrost thawing and subsiding.

Movers and Shakers for Jan. 28

Sticker stock for Legislature at $100M Medicaid request

A request for another $100 million to fund Medicaid claims raised questions on the Senate Finance Committee in the first days of the legislative session, but the answers will have to wait.

Senate Finance Committee co-chair Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, appeared caught off guard by the announcement of the need for an additional injection of supplemental funding when the topic came up in hearings Jan. 18.

Renowned physicist offers insights to ANSEP audience

Artificial intelligence will soon allow you to blink and access the internet through a contact lens.

Oil wells will be outfitted with smart technology to communicate its structural flaws or a leak.

Cars outfitted with computers will drive us everywhere.

These were some of the predictions of Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, best-selling author of eight books and renowned futurist who was the keynote speaker at the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Dissemination Conference Jan. 19 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Judge gives OK for trustee to examine Rogoff finances

A public trustee will be allowed to look at bank statements, cancelled checks and documents related to a $13 million loan taken out by former Alaska Dispatch News owner Alice Rogoff.

At a Jan. 18 hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gary Spraker said the permission comes with conditions to protect confidentiality, but he ordered that outright objections to looking at “certain” documents on the part of Rogoff’s Northrim Bank attorney are too vague and need to be spelled out more specifically.

He said he’s “not going to rule on the question en masse.”

INSIDE REAL ESTATE: Commercial real estate outlook not so rosy in Anchorage

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, has forecasted a national 2.5 percent increase in office rent, a 4 percent increase for industrial properties and a 2 percent increase in retail for 2018.

Here in Alaska, our commercial real estate forecast doesn’t look quite so rosy, according to the recent presentation at the Building Owners and Managers Association lunch by Mark Filipenko of Bond Filipenko Commercial Properties LLC.

FISH FACTOR: Divers keep pushing for changes to Southeast sea otter plans

Sea otters and their devastating impacts on Southeast Alaska shellfish were among the many emotionally-charged topics at the state Board of Fisheries marathon meeting running from Jan. 11-23 in Sitka.

The board was set to address 153 proposals for state subsistence, commercial, sport, guided sport, and personal use fisheries for the Southeast and Yakutat regions.

Alyeska, Prince William Sound council clash over tug training

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. is at odds with the advisory group that monitors oil tanker activities in Prince William Sound over how far Alyeska’s tugboat operators should have to go to demonstrate they can operate safely in poor weather and wave conditions.

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council board unanimously passed a resolution Jan. 18 insisting that oil tankers and their tug escorts should not be allowed to operate in the Sound if weather conditions deteriorate beyond what has been deemed safe for training.

Producers celebrate Slope as House takes up another tax hike

Alaska leaders of the largest oil producers in the state are pointing to the recently-reversed production decline curve as proof the state’s oil tax system is working, but House Majority leaders contend Senate Republicans have forced them to again propose an oil tax increase to ease the state’s projected $2.7 billion budget deficit.

ANSEP shows off model to national conference

Middle school students from Anchorage learned how to build a computer from the motherboard up at a University of Alaska Dissemination Conference.

On the conference’s second day, the sixth- to eighth-graders teamed up with faculty and officials of universities from around the country to show them how it’s done.

It was a two-step process: learn, then teach.

Uber, Lyft object to proposed new fees at international airports

The public can weigh in on a new fee proposal that will impact Uber and Lyft passengers by tagging a $3 fee on rides to and from the state-owned airports in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The passenger pick-up and drop-off fees of $3 each way would be instituted at both Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage and the Fairbanks International Airport.

Public comments will be taken up until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The proposed rates become effective on Feb. 1, according to the proposal.

ConocoPhillips to drill Putu with unprecedented mitigation steps

ConocoPhillips is finally ready to drill into a small and long-sought piece of the North Slope, but only after agreeing to employ mitigation measures largely thought to be unprecedented, particularly for a single well.

The Putu 2 exploration well is scheduled to be spudded in early February and finished in late April with completion of a well sidetrack, according to ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Amy Burnett.

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