Category Archives: Oil and Energy

A Note from Rep. Les Gara…

“Nobody likes being called a liar by well-funded special interests,” writes Les Gara on a recent post at

Gara argues the point that the Governor’s $8 billion reduction in the state’s oil revenue share will not actually inspire new exploration from BP, ConocoPhillips, or Exxon. Others, Gara included, have made proposals that are more beneficial to everyone involved.

In addition, the oil companies concerned with the oil rig debacle pointed out by Hollis French a few weeks ago have claimed that they were ordered before 2007, when the ACES tax law was passed (a supposedly “onerous” law, according to oil companies). Gara cites a number of press sources proving this claim to be false- the rigs were indeed ordered in 2008, well after ACES was made applicable.

The lobbying group in question have also made the claim that other oil states have up to 50 or 100 times more rigs than in AK. This claim doesn’t take into account, however, that in many “Outside” states such as Texas or Wyoming, people can simply drill a 10 or 20 barrel well with a small rig. These tiny operations are numerous and therefore account for the rig disparity. In Alaska, we need world-class drills that are capable of huge field operations- we don’t have the luxury of hopping from oil field to oil field.

Lastly, these oil corporations also announced the building of new offices and developments in Alaska, also well after the implementation of the 2007 tax law. They made no original mention that their new development would be contingent on the passing of the Governor’s $8 billion dollar bill- until now, that is.

The full original report can be found here.

April 28-29 Business of Clean Energy in Alaska Conference

Held annually, the Business of Clean Energy in Alaska Conference brings together researchers, project developers, business, civic and government leaders from around the state, nation and the world in a strategic and educational forum to share information and ideas for moving Alaska toward a sustainable energy future.

The conference is structured as a two-day event with one day focused on Energy Efficiency and the other on Renewable Energy. It also features an exhibitor hall open to the public.

UPDATE: Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be our Keynote Speaker April 29. For a list of other confirmed speakers, see our Agenda page.

April 28-29, 2011 • Dena’ina Center • Anchorage, AK

Registration Now Open! Register by April 8 and Save!



Book Review- The Political Economy of Oil in Alaska: Multinationals vs. the State

In The Political Economy of Oil in Alaska: Multinationals vs. the State, four University of Alaska professors tackle a question daunting in breadth and import: How has a young and sparsely populated northern state managed its relationship with the multinational corporations (MNCs) that developed the largest oil production complex in the United States, including its transportation arm? The answers play out dramatically on a rapidly changing northern stage, where economic, environmental, and social decisions are made in remote political centres; Native interests are integral to the tapestry. Described by its authors as “a comprehensive study of an often contentious alliance” (277), this book is a collaborative effort that contains a wealth of documented historical information and interesting insights. It will be used by students of economic, social, and environmental issues in the North and elsewhere. But the sanguine conclusion – that Alaska’s state government has developed the institutional strength and regulatory skills necessary to negotiate and implement resource policy on an almost equal footing with the MNCs – is seriously undermined by contradictions and gaping holes in its methodology and its empirical foundations.

The book’s central premise – that the state of Alaska now defends its public interests “on a more or less equal footing with the oil and gas industry” (20) – is rendered suspect by contradictions, omissions, and skewed conclusions, and by countervailing evidence the book itself presents, including industry financing of political campaigns and serious doubts about environmental regulatory effectiveness. The authors thank British Petroleum and ConocoPhillips for financial support during the project’s final stage; I do not see this as evidence of corruption. Nevertheless, this book’s shortcomings demonstrate the need to exercise great care and independence when working in this arcane and complex arena. Researchers can make a significant contribution to the study of petroleum development by utilizing Alaska’s celebrated (but relative) transparency to identify information process and data deficiencies, as well as the subtle but pervasive powers of oil industry seduction.

[Excerpted from Fineberg Researach on February 4, 2011. View  the full book review at The Oil Patch.]

February 9, 2011 Forum: Railbelt Energy Options

6-8pm • Anchorage Museum, 625 C Street • FREE
Podcast available:

Alaskans are facing tough choices about our energy sources. Should we build a dam on the Susitna River? Tap Mt. Spurr for geothermal power? Or bring natural gas from the North Slope? What’s the best choice and how do we decide? Come hear the answers at REAP’s FREE monthly forum. Energy consultant Mark Foster will provide an interactive, quantitative presentation where he will take a look at those choices, the numbers behind them and engage the audience to vote on the factors that influence which energy source they believe provide the best choice in the long run. More information on the presentation and Mark’s extensive energy background here.

[Excerpted from the Renewable Energy Alaska Project on February 4, 2011]

Gas Shortages and Potential Health Emergency

I sent this out to some of my colleagues a couple of weeks ago…


I would like to share my concerns with you about the possible public health consequences if we do have serious gas shortages this winter, and especially if it is a prolonged very cold winter and there are periods and/or areas where the gas is restricted entirely, or the price of gas skyrockets.

  • people tighten up air leaks in the home, and use alternative heating sources such as kerosene or briquettes.  This results in carbon monoxide poisonings.  What are we doing to prevent that?
  • home fires are likely to increase due to inappropriate use of alternative heating sources such as open flames from various sources. What are we doing?
  • For a variety of reasons more and sicker people are managing their health conditions at home.  Do we know who and where they are?  Do we have the ability to evacuate them?  Do we have alternate places, warm and well-stocked and equiped, to evacuate them to? Read the rest of this entry