Longtime private-sector engineer to head state’s oil and gas division

Chantal Walsh poses with a sign wishing the University of Alaska Fairbanks a happy 100th birthday, on Sept. 23, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska. Walsh has just been named as the director of the Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas division. (Photo courtesy JR Ancheta/University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Chantal Walsh poses with a sign wishing the University of Alaska Fairbanks a happy 100th birthday, on Sept. 23, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska. Walsh has just been named as the director of the Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas division. (Photo courtesy JR Ancheta/University of Alaska Fairbanks)

A private sector petroleum engineer and consultant will lead the state’s oil and gas division.

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Chantal Walsh, of Anchorage, will join the Department of Natural Resources at the end of November. She will replace former division director Corri Feige who stepped down in October.

Walsh has spent more than 30 years in the private sector in Alaska working on everything from litigation to drilling design, according to a DNR media release.

And that private sector experience isn’t common for this position.

DNR Deputy Commissioner and Alaska Public Media board Vice President Mark Wiggin said he’s not sure anyone who has headed the oil and gas division has been a professional engineer.

“It’s not common,” Wiggin said. “I believe Chantal has more experience than anyone who has held that position before, in the oil industry.”

Walsh is leaving the firm she helped found, Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska. There, she consulted on projects for BP, Unocal, and Chevron, according to her resume.

Walsh is also the vice-chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ College of Engineering and Mines Advisory Council.

A spokesperson for DNR said Walsh is not currently available for interviews.