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Morning Headlamp - Alaska could be front and center in the 'new world' ahead

November 10, 2016


"A new world." Robert Dillon, communications director for Senator Lisa Murkowski's campaign, said with Republican majorities in Congress, a Trump presidency opens up new possibilities for resource development in Alaska. Dillon said a big issue to watch is drilling in federal Arctic waters, Trump could reverse an Obama administration decision to halt drilling in Arctic federal waters.


Jason Hutt, of D.C. based Bracewell law firm, said "The election obviously — we wake up to a new world." "But it doesn't mean that there's not a regulatory process that will be required to change or shift some of the policies — that will take time."


Trump advisor and oilman Harold Hamm has made it clear that the removal of burdensome regulations on the oil and gas industry will be a principal goal over the next four years. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to boost the nation's oil, natural gas and coal production by rolling back regulations and increasing drilling on federal lands.


Next steps. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters at her campaign party late Tuesday that she will continue chairing the Senate energy committee and will work early on to push for allowing drilling in the refuge, sometimes referred to as ANWR. U.S. Rep. Don Young said he also plans to pursue legislation to open the refuge to drilling when the new Congress convenes in January.


Passing the baton. With President Obama's term coming to an end, one of his most significant legacies will be seen in the Arctic. The Obama administration has come under some serious criticism during its tenure, but its most enduring decision may eventually be the Arctic Policy that is being designed now.


While Obama could certainly cement his climate legacy by permanently banning oil & gas development on the 60% of Alaska's land that is publicly owned, he is very unlikely to do so. The president openly acknowledges that the shift to natural gas from coal has been the main reason for declining US carbon emissions and that oil & gas procurement (including from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking) is necessary for the nation's energy security and economic well-being.


Amy Pope, Vice Chair of the White House Arctic Executive Steering Committee, recently declared that "the Arctic is peaceful, stable, and free from conflict, and we intend to keep it that way."


While most of the implementation will be up to future administrations, the administration appears to have inconspicuously prepared the United States for continued effective leadership in the Arctic region.


Save the date. The federal government announced it will hold its annual oil and gas lease sale for land in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, or NPR-A, on Dec. 14.


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First Reads

Trump presidency has big implications for Alaska oil development
KTOO, Elizabeth Harball, November 9, 2016

Trump's Energy Policy Could Lead To $20 Oil: An Investor's Guide
Forbes, Thomas Landstreet, November 9, 2016

Harold Hamm says Trump should start slashing oil and gas regulations here
CNBC, Tom DiChristopher, November 9, 2016

Murkowski, Young to pursue Arctic refuge drilling
Fox Business, November 9, 2016

The Obama administration has been quietly rewriting the US Arctic policy
Business Insider, Jack Anderson, November 9, 2016

Federal government announces annual NPR-A lease sale
KTOO, Elizabeth Harball, November 9, 2016

ConocoPhillips trims 2017 budget as cost cuts offsets cheap oil
Reuters, Ernest Scheyder, November 10, 2016

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Anchorage, AK 99503

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