Resource heavyweights gather at momentous time for Alaska

  • The Liberty offshore field being advanced by Hilcorp Energy is a focus of support for Resource Development Council members, especially now that Shell has left the Arctic and the federal government has canceled planned lease sales for 2016 and 2017. Image/Courtesy/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

It’s November, and time for the big Resource Development Council annual conference. This year, more than any other, huge issues loom for Alaskans including the proposed $50-billion plus North Slope gas pipeline and liquefied gas project and the state’s fiscal troubles, with $3 billion-plus annual deficits.

All will be discussed at the conference.

RDC is a pro-development advocacy group representing all of Alaska’s industries that touch on use of the state’s rich natural resources. That includes tourism, which relies on an unspoiled wilderness landscape as its prime attraction.

Tourism companies work side-by-side with oil and gas, minerals, fisheries and forest products companies in RDC, which demonstrates how these industries are not only compatible but reinforce each other.

Organized labor is active in RDC too, because the state’s human resources, its labor force, are critically important. Municipalities are members and participants, too, because what happens in the state’s basic industries, which are mainly resource-driven, affects them.

The annual meeting held in November is where all of this comes together, where all the state’s business and political movers and shakers rub shoulders, trade information and frequently move off into side-meetings.

If there’s any one place where one can see who drives the state’s economy, this is it.

This year’s conference, scheduled for Nov. 18-19 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, is expected to attract about 1,200, as it has in recent years.

Briefings on all the state’s major industries are on the agenda as well as economic trends and updates on key federal and state regulatory issues.

Joe Marushack, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, will discuss his company’s positioning for the future in Alaska; Steve Butt of ExxonMobil, senior project manager of the Alaska LNG Project, will update the conference on the proposed North Slope gas pipeline and LNG export project;

Dan Fauske, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., will discuss the state’s role in Alaska LNG, and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre will discuss how his municipality is preparing to deal with a huge construction project, although it is still some years off.

There will also be briefings on activities of smaller oil and gas companies, such as BlueCrest Energy with its Cosmopolitan oil project in Cook Inlet; Caelus Energy with a new North Slope oil project, and Hilcorp Energy on that company’s work in redeveloping Cook Inlet oil fields and several mature North Slope fields acquired from BP.

Mining companies will also talk about their operations and plans, including Eric Hill, general manager at the Fort Knox gold mine near Fairbanks, and Jan Trigg, community relations manager at the Kensington gold mine near Juneau.

RDC’s members include several hundred businesses and groups and a large number of individual members, according to Marleanna Hall, the newly-appointed executive director.

As an organization, RDC is unique in a number of ways. There are few, if any, similar organizations in other states that represent diverse interests and with a focus on responsible development of natural resources.

Beyond its big annual conference, RDC is known, at least in Anchorage, for its biweekly breakfast meetings that typically feature presentations by business and agency leaders. All of these are posted on RDC’s website, Hall said.

The group also offers a unique service to its members by representing them before federal and state agencies on often-complex regulatory and environmental issues.

Many of these — endangered species is one example — may or may not have immediate effects on company operations but the potential of disruption is there. Through its engagement with the regulatory agencies RDC makes its members’ views known and also keeps its members informed on regulatory actions.

The organization has also takes a leadership role at times in advocating legislative solutions to problems, one example being how state agencies allocated costs to private firms when development permits were applied for.

In this case the solution worked out by RDC and its members, a framework on how agency staff costs are allocated, was enacted into law.

A recent RDC initiative is with the state Department of Natural Resources’ decision on granting in-stream flow reservations to non-governmental groups.

Hall testified in hearings on the issue, which has raised many concerns, and RDC has also submitted detailed comments to the state DNR.

In another effort, RDC helped get its members out to support Hilcorp Energy’s planned Liberty offshore project in the Beaufort Sea. The U.S. Bureau of Offshore Energy Management is taking public comments on the application by Hilcorp to do the project.

“This is very important because now that Shell has left the Arctic, at least for now, there are opposition groups that are shifting away from Shell to target this proposal,” Hall said.

Another past effort was in combating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Waters of the United States” rule, which threatens to sharply expand that federal agency’s role in regulating Alaska development projects.

In response to a lawsuit from 13 states including Alaska, a federal judge recently issued an injunction prohibiting the EPA from administering the rule.


The 36th Annual Alaska Resources Conference 

November 18-19, 2015 • Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center, Anchorage, Alaska

Resource Development Council - Growing Alaska Through Responsible Resource Development. For more information, visit

Wednesday, Nov. 18

7 a.m.


Exhibits Open

Eye-Opener Breakfast in Exhibit Area – Sponsored by Wells Fargo

8 a.m.

Opening Remarks

Ralph Samuels, RDC President, Vice President, Government and Community Relations, Holland America Line

Governor Bill Walker (invited)

Alaska Economic Trends: 2016 Outlook

Neal Fried, Economist, Alaska Department of Labor

Alaska Industry 2015 Year in Review and 2016 Outlook

Oil & Gas: Kara Moriarty, President and CEO, Alaska Oil and Gas Association Fisheries: Glenn Reed, President, Pacific Seafood Processors Association

Forestry: John Sturgeon, President, Koncor Forest Products

Mining: Karen Matthias, Managing Consultant, Council of Alaska Producers

Tourism: Scott Habberstad, Director of Sales and Community Marketing, Alaska Airlines

10 a.m.

Gourmet Break – Sponsored by ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.

10:30 a.m.

ConocoPhillips Alaska: Positioning for the Future

Joe Marushack, President, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.

Global LNG Market Update and Framing the Opportunity for Alaska

Felipe Arbelaez, Chief Commercial Office, BP Supply & Trading

11:30 a.m.

Networking Break


Keynote Luncheon: Sponsored by Northrim Bank

It’s Still North to the Future: Moving Ahead in the Arctic

Wayne Westlake, President and CEO, NANA Regional Corporation

Rex Rock Sr., Chairman and President, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation

1:30 p.m.

Alaska Can’t Quit Now: Why the Arctic Still Matters

Randall Luthi, President, National Ocean Industries Association

Marine Freight Transportation: Safety and Environmental Stewardship

Charlie Costanzo, Vice President, Pacific Region, American Waterways Operators

What Alaskans Need to Know About Federal Overreach

Bill Kovacs, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

3 p.m.

Gourmet Break – Sponsored by Colville, Inc.

3:30 p.m.

Pebble vs. EPA: Finally Some Real Progress

Tom Collier, CEO, Pebble Partnership

Point Thomson: Dawn of a New Era

Gina Dickerson, Point Thomson Project Manager, ExxonMobil

4:30 p.m.

VIP Networking Reception – Hosted by ExxonMobil open to conference registrants and speakers

Thursday, Nov. 19

7 a.m.

Exhibits Open

Eye-Opener Breakfast in Exhibit Area – Sponsorship Available

8 a.m.

Real Solutions to Alaska’s Budget Crunch

Cheryl Frasca, Former Director State of Alaska Office of Management and Budget, 2002-2006 Mike Navarre, Mayor, Kenai Peninsula Borough

Give the State Some Credit: How Oil Tax Credits Are Changing Alaska’s Investment Game

Benjamin Johnson, President, BlueCrest Energy, Inc.

Casey Sullivan, Director, State Public Affairs, Caelus Energy Alaska, LLC

Hilcorp: Boosting Efficiency and Production in Alaska

Greg Lalicker, President, Hilcorp

10 a.m.

Gourmet Break – Sponsored by Stoel Rives LLP

10:30 a.m.

Communities and Mining: Why it Works

Eric Hill, General Manager, Kinross – Fort Knox Mine

Jan Trigg, Manager, Community Relations and Government Affairs, Coeur Alaska – Kensington Gold Mine Wayne Hall, Manager, Community and Public Relations, Teck Alaska Incorporated

Lance Miller, Vice President, Resources, NANA Regional Corporation

11:30 a.m.

Networking Break


Keynote Luncheon: Sponsored by Holland America Line

Navigating Alaska’s Inside Passage and Policy

Linda Springmann, Vice President, Deployment and Tour Marketing, Holland America Line

1:30 p.m.

Progress Report on the AKLNG Project

Steve Butt, Senior Project Manager, Alaska LNG Project

Dan Fauske, President, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation

Mike Navarre, Mayor, Kenai Peninsula Borough

3 p.m.

Grand Raffle Drawing

Send-off Champagne Toast – Sponsored by CLIA Alaska

11/11/2015 - 12:34pm