It is good that a group has formed to defeat those who so short-sightedly would try to wring another billion dollars or so out Alaska’s North Slope oil producers.

Calling itself OneAlaska, the group’s members span a spectrum of business, Native, industry and union interests.

Chaired by Chantal Walsh, former director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas under former Gov. Bill Walker, the group aims to counter Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share, a group that hopes to get its hoped-for production tax changes on the 2020 ballot.

Headed by Robin Brena, an oil and gas attorney, the pro-tax group says if voters approve the measure it would bring Alaska about $1 billion in additional oil taxes every year, but BP, which operates Prudhoe Bay, estimates it would cost the industry twice that amount.

The measure also would mandate confidential papers such as tax returns and other documents from oil and gas producers, would be made public.

The Alaska’s Fair Share effort is the latest iteration of the anti-industry crowd’s incessant push to punish the industry that has fed Alaska for decades. This latest effort is as dumb as Sarah Palin’s Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share oil tax – and just as destructive.

ACES, if you will recall, was so aggressive – it contributed to a 90 percent marginal tax rate at higher oil pricest – that in the end, even Democrats agreed it needed work. It was among the highest oil production tax rates in the world at the time and voters finally repealed it. Why? Because the state suffered as other oil province around the world boomed.

There was less oil production in each and every year the punitive and confiscatory ACES tax was in effect. The same thing would happen now. The industry simply would shift its investments to a more friendly environment and, once again, Alaska would languish.

What is needed is more production, more oil in the trans-Alaska pipeline not more taxes that hurt Alaska and cost jobs.

We can only hope OneAlaska strongly can make that point to Alaskans.

2 Responses to OneAlaska

  1. Donald Drumpf November 8, 2019 at 11:53 am

    ADN reported BP profited 918 Billion in 2018. 40+ year old field with diminishing infrastructure. If you believe that HillCorp or BP or Exxon or Conoco is upgrading their equipment, replacing/maintaining corroding pipelines, and making a plan to sustain the field for 40 years, no reason to tax anything, let them repair the field in good faith that they’ll do whats best for them and Alaska as if it were a partnership. If you believe they are just going to get while the getting is good and maximize their profits without repairing infrastructure, tax them now to get in on the racket, cause that field isn’t going to last long if it isn’t constantly maintained.

  2. Mike Prax November 10, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Mr. Drumpf there is no reason to believe that the companies that have invested in Alaska’s North Slope are “just going to get out while the getting is good”.
    Even though oil has been produced from the Prudhoe Bay field for the last 40 years (which is 20 years longer than the original estimated production life), it remains among the largest oil reservoirs in the nation in terms of ‘proven reserves’.
    So there is good reason to believe oil could be produced from that field for another another 20 years and possibly even longer – but there can be no guarantee that oil will be produced because of other market factors.
    It is fair to say that oil companies want to continue operating in Alaska, because they have already invested tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure and they need to continue to produce oil to maximize the return on that capitol investment.
    However, if Alaskans decide to enact a tax policy that is overly focused on maximizing short term income rather than long term total value, investors could decide to get out while the getting is good, which would result in less income over the longer term for the State of Alaska and that would not be ‘fair’ to future Alaskans.
    I am concerned that the proponents of the ‘Fair Share Act’ do not have the longer term in view.


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