Democratic Lawmakers Say North Slope Oil Operations Doing Just Fine
They said they're tired of gloomy rhetoric.
A pair of Anchorage Democratic lawmakers says recent developments in Alaska's North Slope oil drilling operations show that there is no need for the multi-billion-dollar cut in production taxes being proposed by Governor Parnell.
Senator Hollis French and Representative Les Gara held a news conference today to continue the debate that raged through this year's regular legislative session.
There were some numbers used by French and Gara to make their point.
But French hoped that a photo he took would be worth at least a thousand words.
While in the port of Portland, Oregon, recently, French used his iPhone to take this photograph of two drilling rigs being shipped to the North Slope by a BP contractor.
He and Gara also pointed to recent postings of quarterly profits by ConocoPhillips, which showed the company making about $5 million a day on its Alaska operations.
Dan Sullivan, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, says the bottom line is the amount of oil being moved through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline -- just over 600,000 barrels, down from its late '80s peak of 2.1 million.
But the Democrats said they're tired of gloomy rhetoric.
French: "This steady drumbeat of good news out of the industry -- new rigs, more jobs, big profits -- makes it harder and harder for the governor and his administration to make a case to us that we need to take action."
Sullivan: "We welcome any news, any positive news, on investment, on increased rig activity. But these are relative numbers, and if you look around the world, if you look around the rest of the country, both on rigs and importantly investment, Alaska is not participating in the way we need to be."
Regarding the drilling rigs in transport, Sullivan said that several other states have far more active drilling rigs than Alaska does.
As for ConocoPhillips' second-quarter profits of nearly half a billion dollars in Alaska, spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said that the company paid the state more than twice that much in taxes and royalties.