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Morning Headlamp - Walker on Hiring Restrictions: Do as I say, not as I do

A political consultant is not essential


At a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Carlson Center, senior vice president of Caelus Energy's Alaska operations Pat Foley, nudged Chamber members to contact their legislators and ask for a consistent oil-tax-credit program that encourages investment in the North Slope. "It's a dour time, but I'm optimistic," Foley told Chamber members, "and I think in the next five years, we're going to see that pipeline-training facility full." Foley said the North Slope must remain a vibrant business environment for Caelus to be successful, and legislators should work toward "a tax policy that is favorable to North Slope development." Headlamp agrees and is disappointed in the new House Majority for publicly stating that they plan to introduce new tax legislation that would damage the North Slope. 


According to a Ketchikan Daily News editorial, "Sen. Pete Kelly was correct when saying recently that it's OK for politicians to fight. We would hope the fight will be for budget solutions that provide the maximum of reasonable services for state residents…Judging by the range of topics within the 51 pieces of proposed legislation announced Monday, and with more expected on Friday, legislators have much work ahead of them. Jan. 17 is right around the corner. Each of our elected representatives sought their jobs. We hope they are ready to do them."


Headlamp asks all legislators not to confuse activity with results. Introducing legislation that does nothing to solve our budget problems is a waste of time and money. 


BP recently announced plans to acquire African gas company Kosmos Energy in a $916 million deal. As evidenced in a Motley Fool interview, this move underscores the producer's farsighted moves as of late. Unfortunately, none of the moves have resulted in increased investment in Alaska. It is worth repeating: tax policy and fiscal instability affect investment. 


Gov. Bill Walker is hiring Anchorage political consultant John-Henry Heckendorn as a special assistant. Heckendorn will start work at the end of the month as special assistant to Walker and to Scott Kendall, who was named chief of staff in December. Headlamp is disappointed that the Governor isn't following his own rules about the state's hiring restrictions. A political consultant is certainly not essential to life, health and safety, the operation of 24 hour facilities, or directly engaged in revenue collection and enhancement.


It can (probably) only get better from here. The amount of oil discovered last year was the lowest since the 1950s as explorers slashed spending amid the worst downturn in a generation, according to Wood Mackenzie. Spending on exploration has been gutted since oil prices started falling in 2014 and may drop further this year, said Andrew Latham, Wood Mackenzie's vice president for global exploration. However, by making operations more efficient, focusing on easier targets and paying lower fees to contractors, oil companies are getting more for their money. Coupled with renewed industry optimism sparked by an OPEC-led deal to curb output and boost prices, that could mean exploration results won't get any worse, he said.


First Reads

Ready to start work?
Ketchikan Daily News, January 11, 2017

BP Just Opened Up its Wallet, is it Signaling Better Times Ahead for This Oil Giant?
Motley Fool, Taylor Muckerman, January 10, 2017

Walker to hire political consultant Heckendorn as special assistant
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, January 10, 2017

Energy explorer: Smith Bay awash in oil riches
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Kevin Baird, January 11, 2017

Oil Discoveries Seen Recovering After Crashing to 65-Year Low
Bloomberg, Mikael Holter, January 11, 2017

Alaska pushing to open Arctic refuge to oil, natural gas drilling
Kallanish Energy, January 11, 2017

AK Headlamp
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Anchorage, AK 99503


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