Headlamp – More gold and more oil revenue!

U.S. Production rate is up. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday that the 2018 average oil production rate will hit the highest level for any year on record in the United States. In its monthly short-term energy outlook, the agency forecast that U.S. crude oil output will rise by 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.02 million bpd in 2018. Last month, it expected a 720,000 bpd year-over-year increase to 9.95 million bpd.

Alaska’s oil revenue is up. Thanks in part to increased oil prices, Alaska expects to earn $2.1 billion in unrestricted general fund revenue in the current budget year, up by $247 million from a preliminary report issued just weeks ago. Other factors contributing to the increase include unexpected production tax payments made after that preliminary report was issued, and an adjustment to mineral royalties being deposited into the general fund, said a statement from the Department of Revenue Tuesday. The statement accompanied the release of the state’s fall revenue sources book, an annual look at state income with a decade-long forecast. The prediction for unrestricted general fund income in the 2018 fiscal year, ending in June, is up from last year’s $1.35 billion, the lowest level since the late 1990s.

“There’s gold in them thar hills.” Kinross Gold Corp. has acquired mineral rights to 709 acres immediately west of the company’s Fort Knox Gold Mine and estimates the land contains an estimated 2.1 million ounces of gold. The tract of land is known as either Gilmore or Parcel G. The find has the potential to increase the commercial viability of Fort Knox, which is projected to end production in 2020 under current operations. Fort Knox is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

Let’s make this easier. US Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) has introduced a pair of bills designed to facilitate US exports of LNG. H.R. 4605 would let exporters begin shipments after completing the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review process instead of requiring them to wait for US Department of Energy approval, Johnson said. H.R. 4606 would codify DOE’s efforts to begin exports of small volumes of LNG to Caribbean and Central and South American countries. “The US is currently the world’s largest producer of natural gas, with trillions of cubic feet of recoverable gas beneath our feet,” Johnson said. “We should be doing all we can to take advantage of this abundant resource, and it is my hope that these bills will help further that goal.”

Climate Change Task Force. Governor Bill Walker today announced the 20 members of the state’s new climate change task force. The team’s job is to come up with recommendations for how Alaska should deal with climate change. It was created by Walker in an administrative order issued this fall. The task force is led by Lt. Governor Byron Mallott. In a statement, Gov. Walker said announcing the team “is another critical step in advancing meaningful climate policy.”

IEP for FBX. The Interior Energy Project is finally on its way to Fairbanks. After nearly five years of analysis, negotiations, debate and a wholesale route change, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority on Dec. 7 transferred control of the project to the Interior Gas Utility. The IGU is owned by the Fairbanks-North Star Borough and will take over the plan to expand natural gas use in the area. Transfer of the unfinished project mostly means handing off the responsibility to fulfill the $331.2 million development plan the two organizations jointly crafted to complete the IEP.

First Reads:

EIA raises 2018 U.S. oil output forecast to highest on record
Reuters, Catherine Ngai, December 12, 2017

State forecast for 2018 revenue jumps by $250 million as oil prices rise
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, December 12, 2017

Kinross acquires Gilmore tract west of Fort Knox
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Robin Wood, December 13, 2017

US House bills introduced aimed at easing LNG exports
Oil & Gas Journal, Nick Snow, December 12, 2017

Walker names members of Alaska climate leadership team
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, December 12, 2017

AIDEA approves deal with gas utility for Interior Energy Project
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, December 12, 2017