Bright future for North Slope Oil,   “Gobs of AK Gas”  Peltola Popular Politician. 

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  Future is bright for Willow and Pikka projects.   “Gobs” of natural gas in Alaska.  Governor Dunleavy call on Biden to update permit process.   Peltola most popular Alaska politician – still in a tough race. 


ConocoPhillips and Santos officials give glowing assessment of Alaska North Slope prospects • Alaska Beacon
Yereth Rosen, March 25, 2024

Both companies are building major projects, and senior officials told an industry audience that the future is bright for new oil development in Arctic Alaska

Managers of two oil companies with major North Slope projects underway gave a bullish assessment of the region’s prospects in presentations at an industry conference Friday in Anchorage.

ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc., which is building its large Willow project that is expected to generate up with 180,000 barrels a day when production starts at the end of the decade, is similarly busy at its established oil sites elsewhere on the North Slope, said Connor Dunn, a senior vice president with the company, in his presentation at the Meet Alaska 2024 conference.

“Whilst Willow has been big and public and required a lot of focus, there’s just as much activity across Kuparuk and Prudhoe and elsewhere on the Slope. So it’s a really exciting decade ahead for our industry in this stable fiscal environment,” said Dunn, who oversees Willow development.

He said there has been “a real wave of projects and development that really is bursting new life into the North Slope.”

Mark Ireland, senior vice president for subsurface and exploration at Santos, the company developing the huge Pikka project on state land east of Willow, was also enthusiastic about the North Slope’s long-term prospects.

“We’re seeing levels of activity that we haven’t seen for a decade or so, with more to come,” Ireland, an Alaska oil veteran whose North Slope work dates back to the early 1990s, told the Meet Alaska audience.

Meet Alaska is an annual conference held by the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, a trade association of oil support companies.



Alaska has “gobs” of natural gas but still may need to import it – Marketplace
Eric Stone, MarketPlace, March 20, 2024

Three hours south of Anchorage sits a natural gas storage facility filled with pipes and whirring machinery. John Sims is the president of Enstar, the utility that provides gas powering 152,000 customers and electric utilities across a wide swath of the state.

“One hundred percent of our gas, since 1961, has come from Cook Inlet, which is right in our backyard,” said Sims.

Cook Inlet is a major gas production basin that is crucial to the state’s energy needs. And here at Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska, or CINGSA, Enstar shoots gas into underground reservoirs for later — like when temperatures plunge to 20 below zero Fahrenheit and Alaskans turn up their furnaces and space heaters.

“This facility plays a massive part in making sure that the utility can meet those demands,” Sims said.

Demand for heating — and especially for electricity. About three-quarters of Alaska’s population depends on natural gas to keep the lights on. Sims said Cook Inlet used to have plenty of natural gas to power homes, businesses and industrial customers, with enough left over to export to Japan

“It’s a critical piece. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to have energy independence for 60+ years,” he said.

Alaska has long been known for its vast reserves of oil and gas. Those resources are the reason the state has its own sovereign wealth fund and cuts checks to its residents every year. And with the U.S. pumping more oil and gas now than ever, Alaska is the last place you might expect shortages. 

But gas production in Cook Inlet has dropped dramatically. So much, Sims said, that a couple of years ago, the biggest producer started warning power companies that supplies are starting to dry up.

“Hearing that information and that news obviously was quite a shock to the utilities,” Sims said.


Alaska’s governor calls on Biden to update mine permit process
Reuters, March 21, 2024

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy called on President Joe Biden on Wednesday to update and streamline the US mine permitting process in order to boost domestic production of critical minerals and reduce dependence on foreign nations.

The push echoes calls from the mining industry for clarity on how permits can be obtained for mines that produce copper, lithium and other energy transition minerals. Executives have long complained the US process can be complex, expensive and opaque due in part to a federal mining law enacted in 1872.

“Our message to the Biden administration is, ‘Do everything you can to do everything here in America. Get your permitting processes streamlined,'” Dunleavy told Reuters on the sidelines of the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.

“If we don’t get our permitting processes together, if we don’t start to use data and science again instead of emotion, this chaos is going to continue,” he said.


Mining Hall of Fame to induct three new members
Staff, Fairbanks Daily News Miner, March 24, 2024

Three new members are joining the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame.

Gail Gordon Park, Joseph Emil Usibelli and Walter Roman will be inducted in a ceremony from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Museum, 406 Cushman St. There is no charge


Rep. Peltola Is the Most Popular Politician in Alaska. She Still Faces a Tight Race
Data for Progress, March 14, 2024

New Data for Progress polling finds U.S. Representative Mary Peltola with the highest approval of any of Alaska’s top elected officials. Even so, November’s ranked-choice election is a toss-up.

Among Alaska’s Congressional Delegation and House Candidates, Representative Peltola Is Most Favorable

When asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Alaska’s top elected officials, 51% of voters have a favorable opinion of Peltola, compared with 41% unfavorable, for a +10 net favorability. This is higher net favorability than the other members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, with +3 and +2 net favorability, respectively. 

Peltola’s election opponents are also viewed less favorably. Nick Begich’s favorability is 40% favorable, 40% unfavorable, and 20% haven’t heard enough to say. Nancy Dahlstrom, currently Alaska’s lieutenant governor, is even more unknown, coming in at 14% favorable, 21% unfavorable, and 65% haven’t heard enough to say.

The Alaska House Race Is a Toss-Up

The November election for Alaska’s House seat will be conducted using ranked-choice voting, where voters will be asked to rank four candidates.

The poll presented a hypothetical set of four likely candidates (Peltola, Begich, Dahlstrom, and Chris Bye), and voters were asked to rank them each from 1-4, as they will do in November.

Even eight months out from the election, only 8% of voters respond that they aren’t sure how they will rank their choices, and the results foretell a very tight race. In the poll’s hypothetical ranked-choice election, Bye is eliminated first, then Dahlstrom, leaving Peltola and Begich in a true toss-up at 50% each. (See the end of this post for a full round-by-round breakdown.)