Morning Headlamp — Exploratory Data to be Shared Publicly

Science time. Alaska officials have begun to release unique oil exploration data obtained at least in part through state tax credits, and they hope the information will attract new companies to prospect under-explored basins from the North Slope to Cook Inlet. “This expands the database for all players rather than the information being concentrated in the hands of a few companies that have been here a long time,” said Paul Decker, a petroleum geologist with the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas.

Companies already provide a wide variety of well data to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that is publicly released after a two-year confidentiality period, Decker said. But a 2003 requirement under the state’s tax-credit program triggers the release of seismic data for the first time, plus certain new information from wellbore work. The report, by Fairweather Geophysical and Veritas DGC, could help Great Bear evaluate some of its prospects in that area.

BlueCrest is asking the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA, to change the terms of its loan. It wants to make interest-only payments for most of 2017. And it wants to lower the amount of money it keeps in an account that would reimburse the state if the company defaults on it loan. Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, placed the blame for the loan modification squarely on the shoulders of the state. “We’re here, not because of anything BlueCrest did. It was part of the business plan the state was aware of with AIDEA that the tax credit payments would be part of the financial package for AIDEA and for BlueCrest. And with the Governor’s veto it has caused a lot of companies to refinance their projects,” Moriarty said. “There are other companies that have had to do the same thing with private lending institutions.”

Drawing lines in the ice. In the first document of its kind adopted after the annexation of the Crimea and subsequent drop of confidence in east-west relations, the Russian government has staked its claim to the Arctic in a new document. It has 108 priority points and mentions the word Arctic a total of four times. On the forefront is the role of international law in the region. The Russian Federation roots [its policy] in the adequacy of existing international laws and agreements [and] in successful regulation by means of negotiations, the document reads. This includes the issue of determination of the external borders of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. The strategy, available on the website of the Foreign Ministry, highlights the role of the five Arctic countries and calls for a strengthening of interaction in cooperative bodies like the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

 

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First Reads

In a first, Alaska releases oil-exploration data gathered in tax-credit program
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, December 7, 2016

Fights over oil taxes, fiscal cliff to come
Juneau Empire, Elwood Brehmer, December 7, 2016

BlueCrest Gets A Break From The State On $30 Million Loan
KBBI, Rashah McChesney, December 7, 2016

From Across the Big Pond
MarineLink, Kathy Smith, December 6, 2016

Audi plans return to North Slope for secretive cold-weather testing
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, December 6, 2016

This is what Russia’s new foreign policy strategy says about the Arctic
The Barents Observer, Atle Staalesen, December 2, 2016