As oil and gas development activity increases on Alaska's North Slope, attendees at the annual Alaska Oil and Gas Association conference in Anchorage are declaring that the state is "back on the map."

Keynote speaker Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, told the crowd that global consumption of oil has reached nearly 100,000,000 barrels a day. He said Alaska will play a vital role in helping fuel the growing demand for energy.

"Three-fourths of that demand will be supplied by fossil fuels with more than half coming from natural gas and oil for decades and decades to come," said Sommers. "Even under optimistic scenarios for renewable energy, natural gas and oil are essential."

Sommers said Alaska has the resources and the manpower to be on what he called "the leading edge of the American energy revolution." But, he said, changing policies are the biggest obstacle to development in Alaska and elsewhere.

"Congress will designate land eligible for exploration, only to see that progress reversed by the next Congress or the next White House," said Sommers.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy was expected to speak at the AOGA conference but was unable to attend because of a flight delay in Juneau. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer took his place. Meyer told the crowd the governor will push back against anti-development policies that have taken root in other states.

"New Mexico, for example, an oil-producing state, just adopted a version of the New Green Deal. And Colorado has also instituted tougher setback laws," said Meyer. "But the governor wanted me to make sure you knew that that's not going to happen in Alaska as long as he's governor," said Meyer.

Meyer also had an announcement about Alaska's liquified natural gas pipeline project. He said both Exxon Mobil and BP have agreed to contribute up to $10,000,000 each to help the project move forward in the federal regulatory process.

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