Morning Headlamp — KTUU’s Forum of Misinformation & EPA scientist has his day in court

KTUU hosts Alaska at Stake forum.  Check out what viewers had to say here!

50 people in the audience and a panel of “experts” at KTUU’s forum last night added nothing new to the discussion on closing the fiscal gap. Headlamp notes that every panelist chosen receives state funds and has a vested interest in maintaining current spending levels. Furthermore, with the exception of Gunnar Knapp, Headlamp wonders how the panel was chosen and what qualifications those on the stage brought to the table? Knapp, with the Institute of Social and Economic Research provided the only sane commentary to an audience made up of “don’t touch the PFD and tax the oil companies not me” Alaskans. Rick Halford repeatedly misled the audience with his claim that the state is spending $1.5 billion a year on tax credits. At one point, Halford, an AGDC board member supposedly working in partnership with Exxon, BP and Conoco Phillips on AKLNG, suggested the 3 companies be recipients of the “Pick. Click. Give.” program and let Alaskans decide if they want to give them money….should Headlamp point out that the money for “Pick. Click. Give.” comes from the Permanent Fund that was built on oil revenue?

 AKLNG on the sideline. According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration article, Australia’s Gorgon project, one of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the world, shipped its first cargo last week to Japan. Gorgon LNG is the first of the four new projects off the northern coast of Western Australia to be partially commissioned. Three other projects in the northwest—Prelude, Wheatstone and Ichthys—are still under construction.

Phillip North, the scientist who was at the center of the government’s effort to block a mega-mine traveled to Washington, D.C., to testify about his role in the project. North worked as a Soldotna-based ecologist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Pebble Limited Partnership contends he came up with the scheme for the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to block the mine even before developers sought a major permit to dredge and fill wetlands and salmon streams.  The mine developer is suing the EPA to undo its work on Pebble. “I can confirm that the North deposition is taking place this week,” said Pebble spokesman Mike Heatwole. “Beyond that we have no comment.”

Chenault on oil credits. In statements made in an Alaska Public Radio News article, House Speaker Mike Chenault shares his views on the future of Gov. Walker’s tax increase on the oil and gas industry. Chenault said he worries about yanking the rug out from under companies that have banked on the credits – and threatening future oil production. “My concern is, if we pull everything away today, how much, if any, investment is going to happen in the next few years?” he said. House Resources also scaled back the governor’s cuts. The governor had proposed ending some credits for Cook Inlet immediately, while the committee bill steps down credits over eighteen months. Oil and gas explorers like Armstrong Drilling on the North Slope, or BlueCrest Energy in Cook Inlet say the credits were a major draw. Headlamp would again like to remind readers that Alaska’s current tax credits are what allow the oil and gas industry to still operate in low-price environments—from industry leaders to new producers.

It’s a bird, it’s an…airship? U.S.-based Lockheed Martin has announced it has a letter of intent to sell 12 hybrid airships to Straightline Aviation of the United Kingdom and co-founder and chief executive officer, Mike Kendrick said there are already customers interested. The airships are expected to be deployed in Canada’s North, Alaska, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The ships can be fitted with tanks to transport diesel to remote areas now serviced by ice roads. “This is a way to service those mines all year round. With the airships we can deliver to the mines 340 days a year.” Headlamp hopes more innovative ideas continue to develop Alaska’s resource development industry.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, nearly 5 million barrels of crude have been loaded in the U.S. Gulf since mid-March for shipment to France, the U.K., Spain, the Netherlands and Japan—which some experts see as a sign that US export lull may be on the verge of breaking. Despite the lifting of the 40-year ban on exports of U.S. crude, foreign sales of U.S. oil have been in a lull since the start of the year.

 

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First Reads

Australia’s Gorgon, one of the world’s largest LNG terminals, ships first cargo
Energy Information Administration, March 31, 2016

EPA’s retired scientist comes back to the U.S. to testify about Pebble
Alaska Dispatch News, Lisa Demer, March 30, 2016

 ALASKA AT STAKE: See a special town hall event on the financial crisis at 7 p.m.
KTUU, March 30, 2016

Alaska’s unusual oil tax credit system poses daunting budget challenge
Alaska Public Radio News, Rachel Waldholz, March 30, 2016

Hybrid airship deal could benefit far north oil, mining industries
Associated Press, Bill Graveland, March 30, 2016

Senate votes for special session away from Juneau
Juneau Empire, James Brooks, March 30, 2016

U.S. Oil Exports Pick Up After Lull
Wall Street Journal, Christian Berthelesen, March 30, 2016