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Vol. 12, No. 26 Week of July 01, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Oil Patch Insider

Doogan says PPT special session in doubt; Neufeld coming to Alaska; Billon promoted

If you miss Mike Doogan’s column in the Anchorage Daily News, sign up to receive his electronic newsletter to constituents. In the latest edition, columnist-turned-politician Alaska Rep. Doogan had the following to say to constituents about a fall special session of the Alaska Legislature to review the state’s new oil and gas production tax.

Well, Gov. Sarah Palin has stopped talking about the necessity of a fall special session to review the state’s Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT). Back around indictment time, Palin was gung-ho for a special session on oil taxes. But in the past couple of weeks, administration spokescritters have been very non-committal.

There are two possible reasons for review.

The first is that initial payments under the tax fell short of expectations, which may mean that critics of a net profits tax are right: Letting the oil industry’s accountants fiddle with the numbers isn’t a good idea.

The second is that four members of the group that passed the PPT two sessions ago have been indicted, three of them on charges directly related to the PPT bill. In fact, people have pleaded guilty to bribing the three in return for their support on the issue.

Reason #2 is enough for me. Even if we pass exactly the same bill, we should do what we can to eliminate the odor that surrounds it. (In the interests of full disclose, I have to say that my knee jerks toward moving to a tax on the gross value of the oil.)

Is Palin interested in erasing the odor? I guess we’ll find out.

B.C. energy minister coming to Alaska

Carl Portman from the Resource Development Council of Alaska says British Columbia’s Energy Minister Richard Neufeld is coming to Anchorage to speak at a July 20 RDC luncheon at the Captain Cook Hotel.

British Columbia’s desire to expand its oil and gas industry outside its northeast region could see the provincial government taking a financial role in seismic exploration of what it terms “frontier” areas and introducing a “net-profit” royalty incentive, Neufeld said earlier this year, per a Feb. 11 article in Petroleum News, called “British Columbia dangles the bait.” Do a search for Richard Neufeld in Petroleum News’ archives (www.PetroleumNews.com) and you’ll see why a speech by Neufeld might interest Alaskans.

M-I Swaco promotes Brad Billon to North America slot

Brad Billon, M-I Swaco’s Alaska regional manager, has been promoted to director of drilling solutions for North America. Alaska will be part of his territory but in early July, Billon, his wife Anna and their two children, Lauren and John, are moving back to Houston where they lived before moving to Anchorage in late 2003.

Billon has been with M-I for more than 20 years.



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