Morning Headlamp – AK Senate Majority makes move to pay debt owed; Russia in the lead for race to the Arctic?

BP Submits Details On LNG Studies. BP’s 2017 Prudhoe Bay Plan of Development includes additional information on the company’s oil field work to support the AlaskaLNG Project. The 2017 Prudhoe Plan of Development, or POD, outlines four “subsurface studies” BP conducted last year on the potential interplay between continued oil production from the giant mature field and once-and-for-all producing and selling the massive natural gas resource it also holds. The plan was submitted to the Division of Oil and Gas March 30. The Division has until June 5 to approve or deny the development plan, or 60 days from when it was deemed complete on April 5. In January, BP and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. also signed a one-year agreement under which the producer will assist the state corporation in securing financing and customer contracts to support the roughly $40 billion Alaska LNG Project.

Russia the lead dog?   On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will join representatives from each of the eight nations with territory inside the Arctic Circle for a meeting of the Arctic Council, an organization focused on the sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic region. At this meeting, representatives are expected to sign a binding agreement that would increase scientific cooperation in the Arctic, according to the State Department. But the meeting belies the true race to militarize and exploit an untouched region of increased strategic importance.

Sweeney passes the torch to Finland. The chairmanship of the Arctic Economic Council passed from the United States to Finland on Tuesday, with Tara Sweeney of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., an Alaska Native corporation, passing the chair to Tero Vauraste, who heads Arctia, a Finnish government-owned shipping company that specializes in icebreaking.

Alaska’s competition for Asian investment? A report published Monday from analysis group Wood Mackenzie finds Asian companies geared toward exploration and production, known as the upstream sector of the energy business, are migrating toward North America. In the three years ending in 2013, more than $20 billion in Asian capital targeted U.S. shale oil, though that investment stream dwindled as the market declined. With Asian players looking to diversify their portfolios, Adrian Pooh, a senior upstream analyst, said U.S. shale is drawing interest again.

A debt owed. Under the Senate Finance version of SB 23, the capital budget, oil companies could receive payments for tax credits they are owed that were vetoed by Governor Walker. The Senate added $288 million in an effort to begin paying off some of the debt. SB23 also includes a $4 million renovation of the Permanent Fund’s Juneau headquarters, plus $10 million for the proposed road from King Cove to Cold Bay through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula. The Senate Finance Committee, which wrote the substitute version of SB 23 originally proposed by Gov. Bill Walker, inserted cash for the road at the request of Walker’s administration, according to an aide to Eagle River Republican Sen. Anna MacKinnon, co-chair of the committee.

Alaska Housing Prices Have Yet To Rebound From Recession. In 2016 Alaska’s average single-family home price was about $3,000 short of the 2006 prerecession high of $327,000, according to the report by state economist Karinne Wiebold. The Lower 48 housing market was hit much harder than Alaska’s and has more ground to make up, with the nationwide average price of $234,000 still $31,000 lower than the market peak in 2006. According to a report from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development average single-family home prices in all the larger markets along the Railbelt, from Fairbanks to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, were up in 2016 compared to 2015. Prices in Juneau were also higher.


First Reads

BP submits details on AK LNG studies in 2017 plan

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, May 9, 2017

New report shows Alaska home prices haven’t quite bounced back from the global recession

Alaska Dispatch News, Jeanette Lee Falsey, May 9, 2017

Alaska Senate proposes $288 million for oil company subsidies, plus cash for King Cove road

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 9, 2017

The race for the Arctic: as new frontier opens, Russia leaves US in its wake

ABC News, Elizabeth McLaughlin, May 10, 2017

ASRC’s Tara Sweeney steps down as head of Arctic Economic Council
Alaska Dispatch News, Jeannette Lee Falsey, May 9, 2017

Asian investments may target U.S. shale
UPI, Daniel Graeber, May 8, 2017