Elwood Brehmer

Study: Replacing aging North Pacific fishing fleet would cost $11.3 billion

Rejuvenating Alaska’s large vessel fishing fleet could be nearly an $11 billion boon for Outside shipyards, according to a new McDowell Group report.

Iin a study commissioned by the Port of Seattle and the Washington Maritime Federation, the Alaska-based research firm pegged $11.3 billion as the cost to completely replace the 414 fishing and processing vessels longer than 58 feet that participate in North Pacific fisheries off the coast of Alaska.

Murkowski: House chose party over energy policy

Sen. Lisa Murkowski accused House leaders of forgoing negotiations on her overarching energy policy bill to begin holiday celebrations early.

Still steaming more than a week after it became clear her signature piece of legislation would die in the lame duck session of Congress, Murkowski said in a Dec. 16 interview that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, chose to adjourn the House Dec. 8 to attend a holiday party in New York rather than round up votes for final passage of the final House-Senate conference committee version of her Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Walker renews push to use Fund earnings to fill deficit

Gov. Bill Walker called for continued budget cuts, more state wage freezes, fuel tax increases and again proposed using Permanent Fund income to shrink Alaska’s $3 billion-plus annual deficit in his 2018 fiscal year budget package released Dec. 15.

The administration’s $4.21 billion fiscal 2018 operating budget plan would modestly cut unrestricted General Fund, or UGF, spending by $47 million over the current, 2017 fiscal year budget.

Permanent Fund starts fiscal year with 3.86 return

Alaska’s money managers are off to a solid start in the first months of the state fiscal year.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. announced Monday that it earned a 3.86 percent return, or $2 billion, in the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year on its namesake fund, which had a total balance of $54.8 billion on Sept. 30. Of that, $9.7 billion was in the Fund’s Earnings Reserve account.

New House Resource chairs ready to take on oil credits, AK LNG project

The shakeup in state House control seemingly gave Gov. Bill Walker allies in leadership positions on fiscal issues, but the upcoming session will still be an uphill battle on the Alaska LNG Project.

Anchorage Democrat Reps. Andy Josephson and Geran Tarr will co-chair the House Resources Committee, the first stop for any oil and gas tax bills on their way through the legislative process.

Senate caucus similar to previous sessions

Although the Alaska House has organized a bipartisan caucus, the Alaska Senate will look much the same as it has for several years, but it will be led by Fairbanks Republican Sen. Pete Kelly as the state’s new Senate president, taking over for Anchorage Republican Sen. Kevin Meyer. Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kenai, will be chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.

Meyer is now chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

Caelus announces 6 billion barrel discovery

Caelus Energy announced Tuesday that it is sitting on 6 billion barrels of oil on the western North Slope, a prospect CEO Jim Musselman said he expects will continue to grow.

The prospect is Smith Bay, a remote inlet of state-owned water more than 100 miles west of current Slope infrastructure.

Musselman and the rest of the Dallas-based independent’s leadership team acknowledge development will not be easy, but if seen through to fruition it could produce up to 200,000 barrels per day.

Permanent Fund grows 1.35 percent in FY 2016

The Permanent Fund unofficially grew a modest 1.35 percent on a $52.8 billion portfolio in fiscal year 2016, the result of a volatile 12 months for public financial markets, according to Fund leadership.

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Executive Director Angela Rodell said during an Aug. 18 meeting of the policy study group Commonwealth North in Anchorage that market fluctuations followed oil’s wintertime foray to less than $30 per barrel, the first time the dominant commodity had been that cheap for that long since the early 2000s.

Furie takes first steps toward adding Inlet oil platform

Furie Operating Alaska is taking the first steps towards adding an oil platform to its Kitchen Lights gas development in Northern Cook Inlet.

Furie Senior Vice President Bruce Webb said in an interview the company plans to re-enter the KLU-4 well roughly six miles north of the Julius R platform the company installed last year above its natural gas producing wells.

The KLU-4 well was originally drilled to 10,000 feet in 2014 and will be punched down to 18,000 possibly this year but more likely next, according to Webb.

Anchorage attorney Jahna Lindemuth named new AG

Gov. Bill Walker’s cabinet is finally whole again.

Walker introduced Anchorage attorney Jahna Lindemuth as Alaska’s new attorney general at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Lindemuth replaces former Attorney General Craig Richards who resigned abruptly June 23 citing personal reasons.

Walker said he was “struck” by her “passion for Alaska.” He referenced more than 950 hours of pro bono work she did in 2015 representing a victim of domestic violence and a wrongly convicted defendant in the very public “Fairbanks Four” case.

Walker introduces bills for two of 11 special session agenda items

This Legislature’s fourth special session began midday Monday when legislators were given bills to address two of Gov. Bill Walker’s 10 original agenda items.

Those bills were an omnibus tax bill and a seemingly noncontroversial bill providing health insurance to families of emergency responders killed in the line of duty.

It took two special sessions in 2015 to pass the budget, and a third special session was held last fall to buy out TransCanada’s share in the Alaska LNG Project.

State seeks more info on Prudhoe work plan

The state Division of Oil and Gas wants significantly more information from Prudhoe Bay field operator BP and its fellow working owners on how a scaled-back work plan for this year could impact prospects for a gasline down the road.

Oil and Gas Director Corri Feige wrote a letter to senior BP Alaska officials April 11 asking more than a dozen technical questions related to a major gas sales project including drilling plans, management of carbon dioxide pulled from Prudhoe natural gas, gas balancing agreements and efforts to market the gas.

Credit legislation hearings canceled as negotiations continue

It has been three weeks since legislation to scale back Alaska’s oil and gas tax credit program took a big step backwards to the House Rules Committee.

In the meantime Rules chair Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, has put forth two very similar versions of House Bill 247 that would all but eliminate the state’s refundable credit program.

Salaries spotlighted as session continues

Most state employees will give up some, but not all, pay increases in the latest round of union contracts before the Legislature for approval.

Nearly 75 percent of executive branch employees will forgo cost of living allowance, or COLA, raises under the three-year agreements negotiated with the Labor, Trades and Crafts, Alaska State Employee, Confidential Employee and Mount Edgecumbe Teachers bargaining units.

Alaska Airlines poised to become fifth largest carrier in United States

Alaska Airlines keeps making news, seemingly for all the right reasons.

The company announced a $4 billion deal to purchase Virgin America April 4, a deal that when finalized will make Alaska the fifth-largest domestic carrier.

Spokesman Tim Thompson said to Anchorage Chamber of Commerce members April 11 that Alaska will “leapfrog” JetBlue — the airline Alaska reportedly outbid to buy Virgin — to take over the spot as the fifth-largest U.S. airline.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Elwood Brehmer