The Oil Patch

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System: Economics

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System: Environment

Reports and Research Memoranda


Richard A. Fineberg

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Archived April 8, 2015

Down to the Wire on SB 21 and ACES: Industry Media Blitz Inundates Alaska Airwaves with Advertisements
Advocating Oil Tax Cuts. . . .

By Richard A. Fineberg
Posted July 3, 2014 (With an updated hyperlink Oct. 24, 2014)

This article began by stating that Alaska petroleum industry and its supporters, dominated by three major transnational companies that reap significant profits from Alaska's North Slope, have unleashed a media blitz to keep SB 21, the replacement oil tax measure that was enacted in April 2013, went into effect this year and was subject to repeal in the August 19 statewide primary election.

Voting "yes" to repeal SB 21 would have enabled restoration of the cost-based and progressive ACES tax measure implemented in 2007, under which both the industry and the state have profited handsomely.

The updated hyperlinked article, A Tale of Two Charts: North Slope Profits, SB 21 and ACES (Revised), is one of several articles relevant to the oil tax controversy that are still available from this web site home page. (This October 20, 2014 article was posted October 24.)

The retired home page article, which was posted July 3, 2014, was left intact on the home page for an extended period because it presented links to numerous articles that contained information about the state's ACES / SB 21 oil tax debate. To see a copy of this retired posting (along with several of the more relevant linked articles still available from the home page), click here.


Archived Oct. 25, 2014

A Tale of Two Charts: North Slope Profitability,
SB 21 and ACES (Retired)

By Richard A. Fineberg
Draft Web Site Posting -- August 11, 2014

(Original Version -- Retired Oct. 25, 2014)

With fact and fiction swirling around SB 21 and ACES like a merry-go-round spinning off kilter at dizzying speed, two charts on North Slope profitability bring clarifying light to this confusing debate. Both charts deal with the extraordinary profitgs earned by ConocoPhillips, the North Slope's largest producer during most of this century,

under the cost-based and progressive ACES petroleum tax system. Together with British Petroleum and ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips is one of three transnational oil companies that collectively control more than 90 percent of North Slope production.

In 2013 the state Legislature voted to ditch ACES, under which both the state and industry achieved remarkable economic success. Withan administration headed by a former ConocoPhillips lobbyist and ConocoPhillips employees in two key Senate positions, the Legislature ignored the important lessons derived from analysis of both charts. . . .

This site links to the original version of this article, which was posted August 11, 2014 with a host of other articles dealing with the state's ACES / SB 21 oil tax debate. The original posting, which began with the two paragraphs above, has been replaced by a revised and updated article that makes corrections to the original supporting data and an even stronger case against SB 21.

---- TAPS Operations Updates, Part One (Dec. 20 - 29, 2012) ----

(How Can You Lose A Pig in a Pipeline?)
In Just Over Two Years Alyeska Has Lost Two Pigs on TAPS; Pig Problems Raise This Question: If NTSB Applied the "Four-R" Test to TAPS, Would Alyeska
Pass the Test, or Would Alyeska Flunk?

(Can Alyeska Learn from Past Mistakes?)

By Richard A. Fineberg
Dec. 20, 2012

(Revised Post Dec. 29, 2012)

Despite Alyeska Pipeline Service Company efforts to turn chronic problems on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) into management success stories and commercials for more North Slope oil development, analysis of a host recent problems on TAPS suggests that if the standards the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has applied to the 2010 Enbridge pipeline spill in Michigan were used to evaluate TAPS operations today, Alaska's flagship pipeline might not pass that test. One of the major problems covered was lost pigs on TAPS.

This update of current TAPS operational problems covered the following subjects:
1. Enbridge and Alyeska - Introduction
2. Pump Station 9 Relief Tank Overflow (May 2010)
3. Pump Station 1 Emergency Shutdown (January 2011)
4. TAPS Regulatory Oversight
5. Promises and Prizes
6. Pigs Behaving Badly (Recent Events on TAPS)
7. Conclusion: Alyeska Under President Tom Barrett)

For Alaska press pick-ups on the December 2012 posting on TAPS pig problems, see Dermot Cole (blog), Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Dec. 21-23, 2012 and Alaska News Nightly broadcast (transcript), Jan. 3, 2013.

---- TAPS Operations Updates, Part Two (Feb. 25, 2013) ----

When Pigs Don't Fly: Trouble on the Trans-Alaska

By Richard A. Fineberg
February 25, 2013 (Truthout)

Despite tracking devices and personal escorts, the problem of lost "pigs," reported in the December posting and followed up two months later with this posting, which points to chronic performance problems along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline caused by the pipeline company's failure to learn from past mistakes.

(This article was also posted nationally on Truthout and reprinted in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, March 10, 2013, p. F-1.)


(Archived Dec. 26, 2012)

How Profitable Is Oil, and Who Gets It?
. . . . Mysterious Oil Numbers ... ACHES ... and PAINS

By Richard A. Fineberg
May 8, 2012

(Posted August 25, 2012; Updated Oct. 16, 2012)

. . . the tax label ACES -- Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share - is misleading. There are so many hidden factors that the letter "H" might be added, changing ACES to ACHES: Alaska's Confusing, Hidden and Elusive Share. The root of the problem might be characterized as PAINS: Partial, Artificial and Incomplete Number Systems.

[Also archived with this article: Welcome (August 2004)]

[Archived May 8, 2012]

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NEW!! The Reduced
Oil Imports Report:

Conservation Gains
(2012 - 2030): 46.9
billion barrels.
Arctic Refuge
(2012 - 2030): 1.8
billion barrels

New Report on EIA Data (Nov. 26, 2011)

TAPS Internal Investigation Report: Read It Here!

Alyeska Failed to Heed Warnings
Prior to May Spill, Restarted TAPS Without Knowing Why Emergency Power Failed; Promises to Reform Management System on TAPS Echo Past Calls for Improvement

The Story of a Troubled Tank

By Richard A. Fineberg
August 24, 2010
(Posted August 25, 2010)

Review of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's closely held internal investigation report on the May 25 oil spill at Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) Pump Station #9 (PS9) reveals a disturbing picture of chronic problems on the aging, partially revamped pipeline that carries upwards of 550,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from the northern edge of the continent on an 800 mile journey across Alaska to reach tankers headed to the West Coast.


(Archived Dec. 2, 2011)

If You Want to Reduce Oil Imports:
Arctic Refuge (thru 2030): 2 billion barrels.
Conservation Gains (thru 2030): 11
billion barrels.
(Fineberg Reports on EIA Data, May 2010)

Reduced Oil Imports from Conservation
Potential Arctic Refuge Oil Production

Posted Aug. 25, 2010

This report, prepared in May 2010, began: "During the last two years [2008 and 2009] this nation has quietly booked an 11.3 billion barrel reduction in estimated U.S. oil imports between 2011 and 2030 due to lower oil consumption." Eighteen months later, the November 2011 report notes that clear downward trends in U.S. oil consumption - and oil imports - have been in place since 200. (The current report extends the comparison between [1] petroleum conservation gains (measured as import barrels saved through reduced consumption) and [2] potential production from the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain region back to 2005.)

(The May 2010 report replaced three reports prepared in the first four months of 2009 [posted in July 2009] on exploration and development activities in three Alaska frontier theatres - two f those pieces were on conservation v. drilling, while the third dealt with exaggerated claims by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski; the earlier reports, below, were archived Aug. 25, 2010.)


(Archived Aug. 25, 2010)

"Live, Baby, Live!"

Conservation Gains Thru 2030 Far Exceed Drilling

(Fineberg Reports,
Jan.-April 2009)

"Live, Baby, Live" or "Drill, Baby, Drill"?
July 21, 2009

These documents, which were prepared during the first four months of 2009, demonstrate that the gains in petroleum import reduction (i.e., reduced dependence on foreign oil) through 2030 from conservation far exceed those of exploring and drilling for oil in the Alaskan Arctic and on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)

(Archived Aug. 25, 2010)

First-Hand Looks at Sarah Palin's Wacky World:

Under a Rogue Star chronicles Sarah Palin's late-2009 book tour and the Alaska oil spills that silently accompanied her -- a clear demonstration of the results of her general failure as governor to pay attention to what she was doing and her particular failure to protect the environment.

ACES in Palin World, from December 2009, takes a clear look at what really happened during the Special Legislative Session of October-November 2007, in which the Legislature (reversing Governor Palin's proposal) established progressivity for the state's production tax.

A November 2009 post covers the Alaska Risk Assessment project, a Palin administrative wreckage that has attracted little national attention to date.

Completing the Palin package on this web site, the following articles were archived earlier (and therefore will also be found again on this page, below):

Click here to review July 2009 posts providing more information on the Alaska Risk Assessment project and other problems Palin left behind when she resigned as governor.

In July 2008, I prepared a report for the Alaska Public Interest Research Group on major unanswered questions regarding Palin's Alaska Gas Line Inducement Act (AGIA) and the natural gas pipeline tariff regime. Following up, I put together a packet of documents ("The Palin Papers") that I gave to Governor Palin. During that brief encounter, I requested a sit-down meeting to explain my respectful disagreement with her natural gas team. The governor was either unwilling or unable to meet with this former member of her consulting team and never responded to these concerns. Two weeks later, she ascended to the national stage. Click here for the story.


(Archived Feb. 2, 2010)



Drill Worshippers Take Note: Domestic Oil
Use, Imports On Declining Trend
for First Time in 25 Years

Conservation, Alternative Technology Advance
from Theory to Reality with Little Fanfare

Oil Savings in Last Four Years Outweigh Oil Potential
By More than 10 to 1; Data Reveal Folly of Drilling

on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain


By Richard A. Fineberg
July 1, 2008 (with an update to Footnote 3, July 21, 2009)

With the nation's worried eyes riveted on rising gas pump prices and the national energy debate often characterized by rhetoric, not reason, drilling advocates hope the fears of a panicky public in an election year will cause Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

But little-noticed data from the domestic oil front reveal important trends that dump copious quantities of cold water on the current oil drilling frenzy that threatens a national treasure. First, a calm look at domestic oil production, consumption and import figures reveals that the folks who cry about rising dependency on foreign oil are simply wrong.

(Posted on Home Page July 1, 2008; transferred to The Oil Patch Sept. 27, 2008.)

(Click Here)

(Archived Nov. 12, 2009)

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"Live, Baby, Live!"

Gains Thru 2030
Far Exceed Drilling
(Fineberg Reports,
Jan.-April 2009)

Starring as Pinocchio

Outgoing Governor Mis-States
Facts As She Exhorts the Press

To 'Quit Making Things Up'

Examination of Palin's Performance Shows
It Is One Thing To Twitter and Make Speeches,
It Is Another to Govern Effectively

Recent Developments at DEC
Demonstrate Governor Palin
Failed to Walk Her Talk

By Richard A. Fineberg
July 27
, 2009
(Posted Aug. 2, 2009)

"I promised that we would protect this beautiful environment while safely and ethically developing resources, and we did. We built a petroleum oversight office and a subcabinet subcabinet to study climate conditions," former Governor Sarah Palin proclaimed at her farewell address in Fairbanks July 26.

But recent developments at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) sully her claim. . . .

(Articles on problems at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation that Sarah Palin walked away from when she resigned as governor.)

(Archived July 22, 2009)

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Richard A. Fineberg

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To Drill or Not to Drill?

Far Outweighs
Drilling Potential
(Fineberg Report,
June 4, 2008)

The Palin Papers:

Governor's Major Oil and Gas Initiatives
Don't Measure Up to Her Promises

Gov. Palin's Extravagant Claims on National Stage
Call Her Energy Credentials Into Question
As a Closer Look at Her State Oil Tax
And Natural
Gas Pipeline Proposals
Reveal Troubling Issues

New Information: How Gov. Palin
Propelled Herself to N
ational Prominence

By Richard A. Fineberg
Nov. 1
, 2008 (3rd Update to "The Palin Papers")

"The Palin Papers" (below; posted Sept. 27, 2008)
raises critical questions about Governor Sarah Palin's performance in the oil and gas arena. Grounded in first-hand experience, the Sept. 27 posting describes a mysteriously reclusive governor and observes that "when the heavy lifting was being done, there was little sign that Governor Palin was actively involved. To all intents and purposes, Governor Palin simply wasn't there."

Based on my July 2008 report to the Alaska Public Interest Research Group and subsequent dialogue with key administration officials and consultants, the Sept. 27 posting argues that the governor's North Slope natural gas line pipeline plan is unlikely to deliver the low natural gas pipeline tariffs she has promised without resolution of important questions that remain unanswered. The original posting includes a packet of seven documents I gave Governor Palin August 12 to explain why I found myself in a position of respectful disagreement with the recommendations of her gas line team.

My Sept. 27 posting also included two troubling pieces of background information that did not figure into my summer analysis of the AGIA proposal or the materials I presented to the governor August 12 . . . .

(Archived Sept. 27, 2008)


Joint Pipeline Office (JPO) Executive Council:

...Alaska Pipeline Oversight Directorate Meets
...For the First Time in Five Years

. . .Who Are Those Guys and How Well Have They Monitored
. . .The TAPS Strategic Reconfiguration Project?

July 14, 2007 *

The Joint Pipeline Office (JPO) is an umbrella group consisting of a dozen state and federal agencies that came together in 1990, in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, to provide coordinated agency focus on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The 800-mile pipeline connecting the North Slope to Valdez is owned primarily by the North Slope's major producers through the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which was established in 1970 to build and operate their pipeline.

When the JPO's Executive Council -- the group of parent agencies whose pipeline people work in concert at JPO -- met in Anchorage June 13, it looked like a typical gathering of bureaucrats. But the meeting, held on a bright summer day in a windowless room at the back of the Alaska State Library's basement office in downtown Anchorage, was extraordinary. The council, which used to meet at least once a year, had not met for more than five years.

(Archived July 1, 2008)

Federal Pipeline Agency Issues
Largest Proposed Penalty of 2007
Against Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

Reports, January 2007 Fire at Pump Station 9
Call TAPS Safety Practices Into Question

As Alyeska Struggles to Put Strategic
Reconfiguration Into Operation,
Government Agencies Struggle
To Coordinate Oversight Efforts

By Richard Fineberg
January 20, 2008

Violations of federal requirements for safe pipeline operations and failure to follow company operating guidelines in December 2006 and January 2007 have earned the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company a proposed civil penalty of $817,000 from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Alyeska is the operator of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The proposed fine is more than twice the amount of the second largest proposed civil penalty the agency issued during 2007, according to agency records.

(Archived July 1, 2008)

Alaska Department of Law Imitates
Wrong-Way Corrigan: Famous Aviator
Left New York For L.A., Landed in Ireland

With increasing recognition focusing on Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) shipping costs, does the peculiar history of TAPS tariff ratemaking hold lessons for the proposed natural gas pipeline?

March 2, 2007

New Report : State Losing $404 per Minute in Reduced Royalties and Petroleum Profits Taxes due to Excess TAPS Tariffs. (Click Here)

The good news: A stinging rebuke to the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has prompted the Alaska State Legislature to take a long-overdue look at TAPS tariffs (shipping costs). The FERC staff brief, filed Feb. 16, endorsed the 2002 findings of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) that the TAPS owners had failed to provide credible justification for its perennially high TAPS tariffs.

The bad news: In the two weeks since the FERC staff filed its 111-page brief, the state loss in revenue due to the reduction in royalty and petroleum profits tax payments caused by excessive TAPS tariffs can be estimated at approximately $8.2 million. That's more than $404 per minute. By the end of this year, continuing loss to the state treasury due to TAPS tariff overcharges since North Slope operations began in 1977 will top $3 billion (more than $4.5 billion in 2007 dollars).

(Archived January 20, 2008)

Legal Opinion Challenges
TAPS Tariff Settlement Terms

Policy Shift Has Cost State
More Than $1 Billion Since 1997

By Richard Fineberg
July 11, 2007

The Alaska Department of Law maintains that the state is obligated to "support and defend" shipping charges filed by the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) under the 1985 tariff settlement agreement between the pipeline owners and the State. But a legal opinion requested from a knowledgeable attorney in private practice suggests the state may have more leeway to fight its bad deal with the TAPS owners than indicated by the state.

(Article plus additional materials and list of previous postings on pipeline tariff issues.)

(Archived July 14, 2007)

How to Shoot Both Feet with the Same Bullet

In 8 Weeks Since Mar. 5 Hearing, Failure
To Remedy TAPS Tariff Policy Has C
State Treasury $30 Million; Hemorrhage
Continues at more than $500,000 per day

While Governor and Legislature dream of a gas line,
neglect of oil pipeline tariff overcharges diminishes
State Treasury -- and chances for gas pipeline

April 28, 2007

Since the State House Resources Committee met March 5 to consider the stinging rebuke to the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) delivered by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), excess TAPS tariffs (shipping charges) have cost the State Treasury another $30 million. As explained in the following guest editorial (versions of which appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Juneau Empire between April 19 and April 26), from a public policy standpoint TAPS tariff overcharges constitute a double whammy. In addition to the ongoing loss of revenue - conservatively estimated at $400 per minute - the state's long-running failure to ensure that independent shippers will be not be forced to pay excessive tariffs to bring North Slope petroleum products to market sends a bad signal to prospective explorers and developers --the very companies on whom the state is counting to convert the long-sought North Slope natural gas pipeline project from dream to reality.

(Archived July 14, 2007)

Analysis and Comment on March 5 Tariff Hearing:

State House Resources Committee Finds
More to TAPS Ratemaking Issues than Meets the Eye

March 10, 2007
(Minor revisions posted Apil 18, 2007)

Apart from the state's confirmation that hundreds of millions of dollars in potential refunds to the state ride on the outcome of challenges to the 2005 and 2006 Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) tariffs at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the paucity of information the administration provided the Legislature was the most unusual aspect of the House Resources Committee hearing in Juneau Monday, March 5.

(Archived July 14, 2007)

The Arctic Refuge Numbers Game (Update):

High Prices Unlikely to Close Gap Between
Estimated Lease Bonuses and Actual Bids

March 4, 2007

The President's budget proposal, released Feb. 5, once again includes anticipated revenue from lease bonus bidding on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. His proposal calls receipt of $7.0 billion from the first Arctic Refuge lease sale in 2009, followed by $1.0 billion from a follow-up sale, two years later.

(This summary analysis contains charts updated in October 2006; it links to the author's Dec. 20, 2006 report discussing the significant disparity between agency estimates of potential bonus bid revenue from leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain and the much lower amounts received from North Slope leasing during the last two decades.)

(Removed from Home Page July 14, 2007 -- Archived Jan. 20, 2008)

Pigs Behaving Badly

BP in Alaska: 3 Reports

Update Report (May 15, 2007)

The Shutdown (Sept. 3, 2006)

North Slope Spill (March 15, 2006)


(Archived September 5, 2006)

Tale of 2 Barrels: Stable Region Big Fields
"Enormously Profitable" for Oil Companies

June 6, 2006

Two depictions of an oil barrel tell the story: In April, BP presented legislators with a brightly colored picture of a barrel purportedly showing that BP loses money on the North Slope at oil prices below $22.50 per barrel. The April 30 article published at this site refuted this misleading notion. The cover of Business Week May 15 also features a barrel of oil. Inside, the magazine reports that BP and its partners are "milking" Alaska's North Slope "for all that it's worth."

(Archived September 5, 2006)

Stranded Gas and PPT: Update and Observations

June 6, 2006

State Legislature Special Session Ends June 8 Update

For the second time in one month, as the Legislature approaches the end of its session June 6, the fate of the production profits tax (PPT) was in doubt.
During the Legislature’s regular session, which ended May 9, the governor linked the petroleum fiscal regime reforms, including a long-term freeze on changing the terms, to pending natural gas pipeline negotiations. At the same time, he refused to release the draft gas line contract arrangements he had negotiated with the major North Slope producers. Meanwhile, the industry unleashed a lobbying blitz in Juneau and an aggressive statewide television advertising campaign. When the House and Senate couldn’t agree on the PPT terms at session end, the governor immediately called the Legislature back into a special session.

(Archived September 5, 2006)

Comment: Legislature Should Slow Down

Misleading Oil Data Mask Importance
Of Pipeline Tariffs, Income Tax Calculations

April 30, 2006

(Rev. May 10, 2006)

"That's the point at which BP makes zero profit," Angus Walker, Vice President for Commercial Operations, BP Alaska, told the Alaska State Senate Resources Committee April 10 as he handed legislators a chart labeled "Breakeven Barrel $22.50." The BP executive was responding to this question: Why does BP's analysis show a loss, while the Alaska Department of Revenue (ADOR) shows that BP still makes money at prices below $20 per barrel? But BP's simplified chart purporting to show how the revenue from a barrel of oil is divided was highly misleading.

(Archived June 4, 2006)

Juneau Report

Special Session Needed for Oil Taxes

- Updated May 7, 2006 (with data revision posted May 10, 2006)

While the outcome of the Alaska State Legislature's overhaul of the state's petroleum fiscal regime is in doubt at this writing, it is safe to say that the energy the Alaska State Legislature has devoted to this issue has surprised most veteran observers. . . .

On the following pages, you will find two additional publications this writer released as these developments unfolded during the first week of May (both of which contain a data correction posted May 10 and discussed in Worksheet 2 of the latter report):

  • "Community perspective" for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (May 7) urging the Legislature to defer consideration of petroleum fiscal regime overhaul to a special session so that legislators can give this important issue the focused attention it requires.
  • "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You" (May 4), a report to the Alaska Public Interest Research Group summarizing the materials reported in the April 30 commentary and placing that information in the context of the deliberations in Juneau.

(Archived June 4, 2006)

Recent Headlines from Alaska on North Slope and Pipeline Production and Development

April 9, 2006

Updates on TAPS

As the attempt by drilling advocates to include drilling for oil in the Arctic In early April, press reports disclosed that a financial analyst on the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) says he was asked to leave the company after he refused requests To provide inflated reports of how much the pipeline company spends on anti-corrosion measures. A few days later, in a separate incident, another press report disclosed that an Alyeska worker at the pipeline's Valdez Marine Terminal had falsified environmental compliance documents between 2001 and 2003. (See: Falsifying Documents?)

(Also: Information on TAPS tariffs and the March 2, 2006 North Slope oil spill.)


(Archived April 30, 2006)

Documents Reveal Trans-Alaska Pipeline In Trouble; Monitors Punt

November 2, 2005

Operational and management problems on the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) pose a serious risk to Alaska's environment and a major source of the West Coast's crude oil supply, according to internal documents written by senior personnel before they left their positions on the pipeline. Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the oil company-owned consortium that built and operates TAPS, portrays the criticisms as routine. But the pipeline company is in the midst of a major revamping that is more than a year behind schedule and, reportedly, hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. The pipeline makeover adds a major workload for a work force that insiders say is already stressed by normal operations. The documents were written by the pipeline company's second in command and two veteran field engineers who had been with the pipeline company for 30 years. During 2005 all three left Alyeska soon after voicing their individual concerns. The record they left behind provides a rare opportunity to penetrate the public façade of a troubled company that has carefully sought to rebuild its image after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.


(Posted November 2, 2005; Archived on April 9, 2006)

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
Alaska North Slope Bidding Realities
v. CBO Federal Revenue Projections

September 26, 2005

  • It is unrealistic to expect that leasing the 1002 area of the Arctic Refuge willl bring $2.4 billion into the Federal Treasury. . . .

(2 updated charts plus a two-page discussion and sourcing note.)


Posted November 2, 2005; Archived April 9, 2006)

Briefings on Arctic Refuge and Current North Slope Production and Pipeline Revenue Issues

As the attempt by drilling advocates to include drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the federal budget comes to a head, this parliamentary maneuver poses three critical numbers questions that Richard A. Fineberg addressed to members of Congress and their aides during a briefing in Washington September 14. . . . Four weeks later, Fineberg was invited to discuss Alaska North Slope development issues at the first People's Endowment Energy Seminar in Fairbanks. (see "Give Me A Break!" .)

(Archived on November 8, 2005)

North Slope Production and Pipeline Profits Report
Report: Industry Making $10,000 per Minute

June 16, 2005

The oil industry is making more than $10,000.00 per minute after taxes from Alaska North Slope and associated pipeline operations, according to a report by this writer released June 2 by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council. Three major oil companies - BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil - control approximately 95 percent of North Slope production, as well as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).


(Archived on November 8, 2005)

CBO Explains Its Arctic Refuge Lease Bonus Bid Estimates

June 16, 2005

On Feb. 4, 2005, eleven members of the U.S. Senate (including nine Democrats and two Republicans) asked the Congressional Budget Office to explain how it crafted its estimate of lease bonus revenues from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain.

(Archived on November 8, 2005)

The Arctic Refuge Numbers Game: Update

March 1, 2005

As the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge simmers in the nation's capitol, legislative staff and agency personnel are trying to sort through the uncertainties of geology and oil economics to help policy makers decide whether petroleum that may (or may not) lie beneath the refuge Coastal Plain is worth going after...

(Archived on November 8, 2005)

Oil Industry Performs Poorly
On International Pipeline Projects

February 6, 2005

As drilling advocates try to push the U.S. Congress into believing that the oil industry can put a major oil field in the middle of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge safely and responsibly - without environmental damage or harm to the wilderness qualities of that national treasure - mounting evidence from around the world suggests that they can't....

(Archived on November 8, 2005)

Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$ - A New Paradigm Of Oil Toxicity

February 6, 2005

Dr. Riki Ott, a marine biologist from Cordova, Alaska, has wrapped 15 years of analysis and observation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its aftermath into a treatise on the lessons of the nation's worst oil spill. After self-publishing her voluminous manuscript, which was released late in 2004, Ott has embarked on a national speaking tour that is taking her to bookstores and university campuses in at least 20 states. You can find out where she is speaking or order Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill at

(Archived on June 17, 2005)

Recent Articles on Trans-Alaska Pipeline Tariff Overcharges

August 2004

The most recent RCA order is the focus of the following two articles from the Ancorage Daily News.

(Archived on Mar 2, 2005)

The Arctic Refuge Numbers Game

January 2005

The debate over whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, often described as this nation's premier environmental issue, is once again before the U.S. Congress. The petroleum numbers at the root of this policy debate are frequently fogged by erroneous statement and controversy. This article focuses on some of the numbers that have confounded this major public policy issue in the past and continue to do so today...


(Archived on Jan 31, 2005)

Commentary: An Introduction to Petropolitics

August 2004

Is oil just another commodity, or does petroleum play a fundamental role in determining the course of society? During the Second World War, Germany and Japan went as far as their petroleum supplies would take them, but no further. Later in the century, oil price spikes were frequently followed by severe economic decline. Today petroleum's economic wallop, though still significant, has declined somewhat due to the increasing economic importance of the service sector. But the social results of petroleum development may be more significant than the direct economic effects. This analysis looks consequences of petroleum development through the lens of a theory known as petropolitics....


(Archived on Jan 31, 2005)

Oil Series on PBS Features Alaska

The public television documentary "Extreme Oil" aired in the United States during the last week of September. This three-part series focuses on the problems created by the fact that most of the world's easily obtained oil has been discovered, propelling oil companies into frontier territories to meet the growing demand for energy....

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