Morning Headlamp – Walker: you can’t always believe what you read?

Gov. Walker at White HouseHe loves me, he loves me not. Governor Bill Walker reached out to the Trump Administration to correct the record and reaffirm relations with the White House after a Politico Magazine article implied he’s “anti-Trump.” The story, released on Tuesday, included Gov. Walker’s face superimposed against a title that reads, “Anti-Trump Independents are Starting to Organize.” In an interview with Channel 2 News on Wednesday, Walker said he has “a very good relationship with the Trump administration,” and is willing to work closely with any administration as long as “it’s good for Alaska.” “It’s very clear, I’m not an anti-Trump person,” said Walker. “I was appointed to the Governor’s Council, one of ten governors, by the president some months ago on military issues, and about a month ago I was invited to the White House with three other governors to talk about energy projects in their respective states.” The governor’s Director of Communications Grace Jang said Walker’s office has asked Politico Magazine to correct the story.

The Alaska Risk Factor. Just this summer, two oil companies have announced they’re halting work on projects in Alaska because the state hasn’t reimbursed them for credits owed. Last month, legislators and the governor agreed to end the cash credit program completely. But for the last three years, the state has made only minimal payments on outstanding oil tax credits. It now owes nearly $1 billion to oil companies — almost a quarter of the entire state budget. The current cashable amount is close to $700 million, according to state tax director, Ken Alper, but other claims are still under review and set to be issued later this year. How did the state get to this point?

Headlamp believes the bigger question is “where do we go from here?” Continuing to explore and develop on the North Slope is critical to Alaska’s economic future. If “Alaska’s reputation has taken a hit,” and we can’t afford to pay incentives, how do we attract investment?

First bar of gold. A new gold mine has gone into production near British Columbia’s border with Southeast Alaska, one of several prospects under exploration near creeks or rivers that flow into the region. The Brucejack Mine had what’s called its “first pour” — or when refined ore is melted down to make a project’s first bar of gold — this summer. The high-altitude mine is about 25 miles from the Alaska border and about 80 miles east of Wrangell. It’s within the watershed of the Unuk River, which drains into the ocean northeast of Ketchikan.

Spiro Agnew saves TAPS. In 1968, ARCO and Humble Oil and Refining Co. announced the discovery of 21 billion barrels of oil in place at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay field, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Independent analysts concluded that as much as 10 billion barrels could be recovered from the reservoir. It was and remains the biggest oil find in North America. Four thousand miles away, a young ARCO petroleum engineer was riveted by the thought of bringing the elephant field to life. Harold Heinze wanted in. “I immediately agitated to come to Alaska,” recalled Heinze, who went on to be president of ARCO Alaska. “I would wear a parka to the office in Midland, Texas, in September. I won. I got here in February 1969.”

Russian LNG Part 2. As the Russian gas company is preparing for launch of the Yamal LNG, the large natural gas project in the Yamal Peninsula, it is actively proceeding with ground work for its second major project in the Arctic. The Arctic LNG-2 will be based on gas resources from the Gydan Peninsula and have an annual production capacity of 18 million tons. It will have a price tag of $10 billion and be ready for production late 2022, Neftegaz reports.

First Reads:

Alaska ended cash credits to oil companies, but still owes nearly $1 billion
KTVA, Liz Raines, August 9, 2017

Gov. Walker disputes article implying he’s “anti-Trump”
KTUU, Travis Khachatoorian, August 9, 2017

How Spiro Agnew helped save the Trans-Alaska project
EE News, Margaret Kriz Hobson, August 8, 2017

Novatek sheds light on its next major Arctic gas project
Arctic Now/The Independent Barents Observer, Atle Staalesen, August 10, 2017

Another mine opens close to the Alaska border
KTOO Public Media, Ed Schoenfeld, August 9, 2017

North Slope well leak estimated at over 7,000 gallons
KTOO Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, August 9, 2017

Alaska Highway open after clean up of spilled oil from overturned tanker
Alaska Public Media, Henry Leasia, August 9, 2017