April 04, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 37April 2003

U.S. House Resources Committee to meet in Kaktovik tomorrow

Members of the U.S. House Resources Committee are touring the Alyeska terminal in Valdez today on their way north to the North Slope village of Kaktovik in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The committee will hold a special field hearing in Kaktovik tomorrow morning. In the afternoon they will travel to the Alpine field for a tour.

A separate group from the U.S. Department of Energy will be at that hearing, but they are also stopping over at Anadarko Petroleum’s Hot Ice project which is partly funded by a DOE grant.

DOE officials, Gov. Frank Murkowski said this morning, are also interested in Anadarko’s prototype Arctic platform which is being tested at the Hot Ice project.

Among others slope visitors include: Gov. Murkowski; Drue Pearce, senior advisor to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska Affairs; Mike Smith, DOE’s assistant secretary for fossil energy; Steve Williams, director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chair, House Resources Committee; U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Minn.; U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.; U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; U.S. Rep. Madeline Bordalla, D-Guam, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Murkowski will sign stranded gas bill on Monday

Gov. Frank Murkowski said today he will sign House Bill 16 into law on Monday, reauthorizing the Alaska Stranded Gas Development Act and expanding it to include a gas pipeline project.

As reported in the April 6 edition of Petroleum News (released electronically today), the governor said the three major North Slope producers promised that when HB 16 was signed into law they would “enter into negotiations to clarify the (North Slope gas) pipeline project, complete negotiations by the end of the calendar year, and then they committed to work out ways to try to reduce costs. Some of those ways would be through new steel development, welding technology and so forth.”

He reiterated that BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil had said the negotiations could allow for approval by the state Legislature in early 2004. Murkowski said he would be willing to call a special session for the gasline.

He noted there was increasing bi-partisan support in Congress for the Senate energy bill which contains gasline incentives.

The governor referred to a “market window” for Alaska natural gas, citing competitors such as Canada and Mexico, but he said “the real competitive factor” is liquefied natural gas.

Alaska mineral industry maintains billion dollar value for 7th consecutive year

Alaska’s mineral industry accounted for approximately $1.027 billion of Alaska’s economy in 2002, surpassing the $1.022 billion value from 2001, according to a report released today by the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys. Exploration expenditures were $25 million, up 5 percent from 2001.

Almost half of the exploration dollars were spent in southwestern Alaska, with NovaGold Resources’ Donlin Creek gold property in being the largest exploration project last year. Donlin Creek resources are touted at 22.9 million ounces of gold, ranking it as the world’s 22nd largest gold deposit ever discovered.

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