Jack Belcher…sponsored by the Alaska Support Industry Alliance with a Who’s Who of Energy Speakers.  Your author will introduce Jack Belcher (NGP Photo), this morning, Managing Director of the National Ocean Policy Coalition (See agenda here).  His coalition is focused on the White House effort to ‘zone’ the oceans, which could provide a huge new overlay of regulation over all human activity on- and off-shore that affects the oceans in objective and subjective ways.  See our earlier comment here.  We’ll bring you more reports later….  -dh




Rebecca Logan

Paul LairdToday’s vibrant program was organized by the Alliance staff including Ann NorthcuttExecutive Director Rebecca Logan (NGP Photo-above), former Executive Director Paul Laird (NGP Photo) with support from Ann Northcutt and Lauren Logan (NGP Photo) and Renee Limoge.

The conference opened with a stunning recreation of a Jeopardy Game in which facts were presented about Alaska’s investment climate and disheveled contestants (support company wannabes) struggled with providing questions to the answers.  The general theme of the game seemed to reflect the theme of later presentations: "Alaska has a lot to offer but federal access policies and state tax policies endangers the economy and causes the industry to diminish investment in the state, resulting in trickle down job losses within the hundreds of support companies."  

Mark HylenPresident Mark Hylen (NGP Photo-l) then opened the proceedings by announcing the Dan SullivanAlliance’s foremost objective in 2011 of modifying the oil industry production tax.  He pointed out that the film and cruise industries had increased investment as tax policies became more inviting.

Mayor Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo-r), who welcomed the energy meeting participants, has made energy planning a focus of his administration since his 2009 election.  He told the crowd that, "We’re blessed with many energy options and we may be cursed by so many choices since each project has powerful supporters."  He spoke eloquently and knowledgeably about the federal government’s overreaching initiatives in Alaska that threaten the economy by diminishing natural resource exploration and development.

Mark FinleyBP’s General Manager for Global Energy Markets and U.S. Economics is Mark Finley (NGP Photo) provided the company’s Sixtieth Quarterly Review of Energy Trends (See BP’s Energy outlook for 2030).  He pointed out that world energy demand was shifting from the developed countries to the emerging nations.  "We don’t believe the world faces a peak supply for oil but that it will experience a Ed Kellypeak demand for oil," he said.  "The greatest demand in the world for energy is not driven by transportation but by electrification.  Transportation is now dominated by oil but alternative fuels like bio-fuel will begin todisplace oil."  See the Finley presentation here.

Wood Mackenzie’s "Vice President of North American Gas & Power, Ed Kelly (NGP Photo-r), said that the U.S. and Canada could prudently increase production in a way that meets, "…reasonable demand growth".  He said that Alaska gas cannot currently compete with shale gas, but that it might be able to compete in 15 years.  "The gas market looks really weak through 2012…, but Bob Stinsondemand is likely to begin growing from 2012 to 2016", he said.  See the Kelly presentation here.

Conam Construction Company’s Bob Stinson (NGP Photo-l) introduced the next speaker from the point of view of a successfull Alaska contractor affected by declining industry investment in the state.  Jay Still (NGP Photo-r), Pioneer Natural Resources’ Executive Vice President of DomesticJay Still Operations said, "We didn’t realize how serious the risks were when we initially decided to invest in Alaska."   Still acknowledged Alaska’s large oil and gas potential and–but as a company that has doubled its gas reserves in the last decade–noted that other oil andgas provinces in the world and in the Lower 48 are competing for his capital.  "Executive risk is large in Randy BroilesAlaska," he said, "including cycle time to get approvals.  Alaska has to get competitive," he said.  See the Sills presentation here.

ExxonMobil’s new Executive Vice President – Americas, Randy Broiles (NGP Photo-l), opened with acknowledgement that this was his forst speech since assuming his new position.  He emphasized the company goal that, "Nobody gets hurt," a term and philosophy that can be applied to employees, local communities, vendors and other stakeholders.  See the Broiles presentation here.

Your author, an Alliance board member, introduced the next speaker, Jack Belcher (NGP Photo), Managing Director of the National Ocean Policy Coalition.  The introduction noted some of the challenges posed to Belcher’s organization by the National Ocean Policy Council about which we have editorialized here and testified in past months. Belcher said, "We’re concerned that ocean policy will add another layer of bureaucracy and create more barriers to access."  See Belcher’s presentation here.

See presentation here, Greg Garland, Senior Vice President, Exploration & Production Americas.  Garland noted that 74% of Fred McMahonthe world’s oil and 56% of world gas reserves provided were controlled by countries that permitted no equity access by international oil companies.  As future demand increases, the importance of accessing U.S. domestic reserves is magnified.

Fred McMahon (NGP Photo-l), Vice President, Research, International Fraser Institute briefed the audience on his firm’s most recent oil industry survey.  McMahon’s survey places Alaska low on the scale of favorable investment climates in the world, particularly in areas such as political instability, lack of predictability, and insufficient transparency of processes.  When advocates of Alaska’s current investment climate defend the state, McMahon asks, "…how much more investment would there have been if the investment climate had been more inviting?  Alaska has much to do to increase certainty," he said.  "Norway in most areas scores ahead of Alaska.  So, ‘free market Alaska’ scores behind ‘socialist Norway’."  Link to McMahon’s presentation, here. 



See 2010 Alliance Annual Meeting Photos Here