Tax cuts for economic growth or tax hikes for government growth? Norwegians voted on Monday on the second and final day of a knife-edge parliamentary election in which Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s center-right bloc and a center-left opposition are vying to rule Western Europe’s top oil and gas producer. Solberg’s Conservatives want to cut taxes in a bid to boost growth, while opposition Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere wants tax hikes to improve public services such as education and healthcare for Norway’s 5 million citizens. The outcome could impact Norway’s oil industry, as either Solberg or Gahr Stoere is likely to depend on one or more small parties that want to impose limits on exploration in Arctic waters off the northern coast. The tension is so high in this election that the Norwegian government has chosen to hand count ballots to avoid any voter fraud.
The whole enchilada. The fate of Alaska’s largest newspaper and news website will be decided in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday morning. The stakes for Monday’s hearing are high, according to attorneys for the seller and potential buyers: If a federal bankruptcy judge does not approve a sale of the Alaska Dispatch News to the Binkley family of Fairbanks over the objections of some creditors, the newspaper will no longer have a buyer. Absent another buyer emerging Monday morning, the company could be forced to shut down within a week. The Binkley family has put $1 million into operating the newspaper since it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last month and doesn’t want to delay taking ownership, said Erik LeRoy, an Anchorage attorney representing the ownership group. “If we don’t get the whole package done tomorrow I don’t know what choice there is but the paper closes down,” LeRoy said.
Locking out your competition? The world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger NV, is spending billions of dollars buying stakes in its customers’ oil and gas projects – investing in the same ventures it supplies with equipment and expertise. The new business model gives Schlumberger a say in drilling decisions, oilfield management and even on hiring other Schlumberger units for service contracts, the company has told investors. The expanded operational authority saves Schlumberger from bidding for each of the many jobs that typically require separate contracts on a large drilling project – effectively locking out the firm’s competitors.
Money from miners for education – again. Hecla Mining Company Aug. 31 donated another $300,000 to the University of Alaska Southeast as part of the Greens Creek Mine owner’s ongoing support of the campus’ “Pathways to Mining Careers” program. This program was created in 2011, when Hecla made an inaugural US$300,000 donation to develop a unique approach to engage local high school students and to educate and train them for future employment in the mining industry. Since that time, the program has been expanded to include adults new to mining.
Cognitive Computing Considered. The oil and gas industry was considered conservative when it came to technology changes. However, the need to reduce costs in an era of lower oil prices prompted change, delegates were told during the O&G TechWeek Conference in Rio de Janeiro. During the conference held in late August, executives from major oil together with supply and technology companies met to discuss technology trends that can benefit the oil and gas industry. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, digital transformation in the oil and gas industry could unlock about $1.6 trillion of value for the industry, its customers and wider society. If existing organizational and operational constraints are relaxed and the impact of “futuristic” technologies such as cognitive computing are considered, the amount could rise to about $2.5 trillion.
Norwegians split over oil and tax as they vote in tight election
Arctic Now/Reuters, Terje Solsvik, September 11, 2017
Monday bankruptcy hearing will decide future of Alaska Dispatch News
Alaska Dispatch News, Michelle Teriault Boots, September 10, 2017
The next oil major? Service firm Schlumberger’s big bet on production
Reuters, Liz Hampton, September 7, 2017
Mining News: Hecla continues support of UAS program to train local miners
Petroleum News, Shane Lasley, September 10, 2017
Digital Era Revolutionizes Oil, Gas Industry
E&P Magazine, Bruno Braga, September 8, 2017