The Alaska Oil and Gas Association had its annual luncheon on Thursday. About 1000 people attended. The theme, naturally, was how much the oil and gas business contributes to the state’s economy–see some numbers below–and how important it is to keep a competitive fiscal regime going in the state. You couldn’t toss a stone without hitting a politician. Even Sen. Hollis French showed for the event.
The keynote speaker was Jack Gerard. Gerard is the president of the American Petroleum Institute, and is considered one of the most aggressive oil and gas players in D.C. He has turned API from a relatively sleepy trade association into a political powerhouse.
On Tuesday, he met with Sen. Mark Begich to discuss Alaska’s resources, an event that Begich touted in a release. Begich claimed that he brought Gerard to Alaska, something that people in the know dispute. Begich also listed Gerard as the host to a fundraiser on Tuesday. Shortly after he sent out the email, another invite was sent without Gerard’s name on it. Take from that what you will.
That said, in his speech, Gerard emphasized the importance of Alaska’s bipartisan delegation.
“Alaska’s bipartisan support for Keystone and on other important energy issues sends an important signal that when it comes to energy, there is no place for partisanship or narrow-minded orthodoxy,” he said.
Gerard also talked about the importance of keeping in place the current tax regime, and warned what would happen if it’s repealed. From his speech, as written:
Here in Alaska and around the nation there are those who are of the opinion that no matter what policy or regulation is imposed on our industry we will pay it and we will bear it in order to develop the energy this nation and the world needs. They are wrong. To those who think that policy doesn’t matter when it comes to energy development, I’d suggest that they look at the consequences of that attitude in Alaska. I would remind them that Alaska’s oil and natural gas deposits account for almost 30 percent of the nation’s energy reserves, and yet today the state’s energy production accounts for approximately 7 percent of U.S. production down from a high of 25 percent in 1989. In recent decades, Alaska has been the highest or second highest producing state of crude oil. Today Alaska ranks fourth … slipping behind North Dakota and California. When you look across this U.S. today at this great energy renaissance — every oil and gas producing state except Alaska — has increased production.
- North Dakota: up 58%.
- Texas: up 36%.
- Colorado: up 25%
- Alaska’s North Slope: Down 6.6%
“Vote No on 1 in August,” he said.
Here’s some numbers on Alaska’s oil and gas industry according to a new study from the McDowell Group:
- Government spending of oil revenue accounted for 60,000 jobs and $3 billion in wages (direct, indirect and induced) in Alaska’s economy in 2013.
- The industry accounted for 33 percent of all wage and salary employment in Alaska (111,000 jobs out of total of 335,000 jobs) and 38 percent of all wages ($6.45 billion in wages out of a total of $17.1 billion).
- Since 1959, 88 percent of all state revenue from natural resource development (including seafood, mining, and timber taxes and royalties, and the applicable portion of state corporate income tax) came from oil and gas development.
- In FY2013, the oil and gas industry paid $7.4 billion in taxes and royalties to state government.
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