Alaska Division of Oil and Gas announced Tuesday that it would cancel its 2016 lease sale bid opening in Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula due to receiving no bids on state-owned tracts in the Cook Inlet. Diane Hunt, special projects and external relations coordinator for the Division of Oil and Gas, says that receiving no bids isn’t unheard of but is obviously not ideal. Kara Moriarty, the president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said in a statement that the lack of bids in Cook Inlet was likely connected to the oil and gas industry’s hesitance to invest in Alaska because of the ongoing debate about industry tax credits. “We’re just going to wait and see (how the year goes),” Hunt said. Headlamp doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that there were no bids on tracts in the Cook Inlet—who would want to risk an investment on something that the state is planning on aggressively taxing?
“Just waiting.” House Rules Committee’s fifth and sixth iterations of the HB247 first introduced by Gov. Bill Walker and, compared to other House and Senate committees, most resemble what the administration had in mind at the start of the session. Kara Moriarty said the numerous changes to oil tax policy, whether supported or opposed by the industry, have at least been rooted in a principle with an ultimate goal in mind, which is missing this time. “(Lawmakers) are trying to set a policy to fill a budget gap and for us, we’re just waiting,” she said. Increasing taxes when companies are already laying off significant chunks of their workforce will do little more than lead to decreased oil and gas production in the state, industry representatives continue to emphasize.
Saltchuk has purchased one of the oil field services businesses of Alaska Native regional corporation NANA. The acquisition of the 36-employee company complements Saltchuk’s other fuel distribution company, Delta Western, which offers services to the Aleutian Islands, Western and Southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. “Expanding services in Deadhorse is reflective of our long term commitment to the state of Alaska and our oil and gas customers,” said Brian Bogen, president and CEO of North Star Petroleum, the petroleum distribution unit of Saltchuk.
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