Petroleum Newspapers of Alaska, which owns Petroleum News, is publishing a 350-plus page guide to Alaska’s business environment and prolific oil and gas basins. “Dispelling the Alaska Fear Factor,” expected to be released in early 2005, will also address what many explorationists refer to as the “Alaska Fear Factor.”
Dubbed the Alaska Fear Factor long before the current “Fear Factor” television program was aired, it is the reason only a small portion of oil and gas companies have historically been involved in the exploration, development and production of Alaska’s oil and gas resources – despite the fact federal and state agencies estimate the state has more undiscovered gas and oil than any other U.S. or Canadian oil province.
The state of Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas director, Mark Myers, described the Alaska Fear Factor in a guest editorial he wrote for Petroleum News’ annual Independents magazine last year. Myers said, the “fear factor contains multiple perceived and real issues including: difficult, lengthy and uncertain permitting processes, lack of access to high potential areas, lack of access to well and seismic data, high drilling costs, difficult working environment, lack of access to equipment and production facilities, and long distances and high transportation costs to market.”
Laura Erickson, who heads the special projects division of Petroleum Newspapers of Alaska that is publishing the guide, said it will address all the factors identified by Myers. “We’ll report on the progress the state and federal governments have made over the past few years to address the factors Myers mentions,” she said.
The guide will also identify those factors that remain a detriment to exploring for and producing oil and gas in the state.
“We were asked by Ken Sheffield and his people at Pioneer Natural Resources, an independent that began exploring in Alaska just two years ago, not to ‘hide the warts,’ to tell it like it is, which is what our sister publication Petroleum News does. Ken and his people thought it was important the guide be able to be trusted in the same way that people trust the reporting in Petroleum News,” Erickson said. “We’ll be updating the guide annually, so as fear factors change we can report on those changes.”
The guide will be distributed to exploration, land and business development managers and executives in oil and gas companies throughout the world, as well as investment groups that might have an interest in investing in projects operated by Alaska oil companies, she said.