March 1, 2012 | Vol. 39, No 9

Keep Alaska Competitive predicts oil production's grim future

The Make Alaska Competitive Coalition claims Alaska's oil flow and production are in a slow rate of decline and that if something isn't done to turn things around, difficult financial times could be looming.

Historical and forecasted oil production on Alaska’s North Slope.

“Life in Alaska couldn't be better, there's fishing, mining, tourism, however all is not well,” said coalition spokesman William Corbus. “Expenses are going up … and the production of oil is at a precipitous stage.”

The coalition, made up of professionals, former politicians and at least one union leader, have a message to Alaskans: “Wake up.”

Corbus, along with Jim Clark were in Petersburg last week.

According to Corbus, who is the president of Alaska Energy and Resources Co., the long-range financial outlook and the rate of decline of North Slope oil production look grim.

Oil production has gone from 500,000 to 740,000 barrels per day to 480,000 per day and the forecast for future production is even lower, Corbus said.

The coalition claims the TransAlaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is 2/3 empty and with less oil in TAPS, it will be less likely that there will be funds available to find new sources to fill the pipeline.

The coalition maintains that Alaska’s tax policy must be fair and sustainable to make Alaska competitive for oil exploration, ensuring a longer life for TAPS, more jobs for Alaskans and extended tax support for government services.

The coalition is asking for a fix to Alaska’s current oil tax structure to boost investments to existing production sites and create more opportunity for exploration of future production sites.

“In 1989, Alaska was the highest producing state in North America,” Corbus said.

Currently, Alaska has fallen behind Texas in oil production.

“Geologists say there is still oil out there, it will cost millions and millions of new capital to produce it,” Corbus said.

Corbus and other coalition members are bringing their message to professional organizations, such as Rotary clubs, and small town radio programs to ask for tax reform and a revitalized effort in oil production investments.

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