Energy and the Economy

How does energy affect Alaska’s economy?

Goldman Sachs, in Arctic drilling tiff with Alaska governor, hires veteran Juneau lobbyist

In response to Goldman's announcement that it would not finance oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska's governor suggested he could cut off the millions of dollars a year that the state pays the Wall Street firm. Now Goldman is playing defense: Last week, it hired a lobbyist, Wendy Chamberlain, to represent its interests in the state.

On warming North Slope, one flood response last year cost pipeline operator $10 million

As Alaska's North Slope gets wetter and warmer, its rivers have been running at record high levels -- prompting questions about whether similar events will become more frequent as Alaska's climate warms.

An Anchorage attorney made a fortune fighting Big Oil in Alaska court. Now he’s funding the campaign to raise their taxes.

Frustrated by the industry-supported overhaul of oil taxes in 2013 and the unsuccessful campaign to repeal it, Robin Brena is chairing the citizens initiative to raise taxes. And he’s also the effort’s top funder, contributing more than $100,000 so far.

Agency overseeing BP-Hilcorp deal will hold public hearing, denying companies’ request

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which is overseeing Hilcorp's purchase of BP's stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline, plans to hold a six-hour public hearing on the deal next month.

Opening the Arctic Refuge brought Alaska’s largest Native corporation $22.5 million from BP and Chevron

Arctic Slope Regional Corp. collected $22.5 million from a pair of oil companies after Congress opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain to drilling in 2017, according to corporate documents.

Polar bear protections delayed oil exploration in the Arctic Refuge. A new study shows how companies can still move forward.

A new study says that by using infrared sensors to detect dens, and accepting strict limits on when to survey specific areas of the coastal plain, polar bear disturbance can be dramatically reduced – from as many as eight dens if no restrictions are abided by, to one or less using the most conservative approach.

LISTEN: A Washington Post correspondent talks about reporting on climate change on Alaska’s North Slope

The Washington Post made the Alaska North Slope village of Nuiqsut front page news earlier this month, under a provocative headline: "Alaska's warming, but can't quit big oil." We talked with the reporter who wrote the story.

Our reporter is trying to learn more about Hilcorp. Here’s how you can help.

Alaska's Energy Desk reporter Nat Herz is exploring Hilcorp's company culture as it's set to become one of the biggest players in Alaska's oil industry. He's written an open letter to Hilcorp employees asking for their help.

Alaska utility regulators ask Hilcorp, BP for more details on $5.6B deal

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is asking the companies for five new sets of documents. They include the purchase and sale agreement, charts detailing the companies' corporate ownership and operating structure, and additional financial statements.

Democratic presidential candidates spent seven hours talking climate change. Alaska wasn’t discussed.

In the first-ever prime-time presidential climate change forum, Democratics spent seven hours on the issue. But there was no substantive discussion of Alaska, even though the state is one of the most affected by global warming.

After leaving Trump administration, Balash will work for oil company that’s developing an Alaska project

Joe Balash, the high-level Alaskan appointee at the U.S. Department of the Interior who pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil leasing, is taking a job with an oil company seeking to develop a major project in Alaska.

Here’s how a Kenai Peninsula wildfire could cause higher electric bills in Anchorage and Fairbanks

The wildfire damaged transmission lines that carry power from a major hydroelectric dam near Homer, officials said. And it could be months before the lines are fixed.
Seen from a distance, an oil rig blips above the horizon in an otherwise flat, snowy landscape.

BP and Hilcorp just announced Alaska’s biggest oil industry deal in years. Here’s why it matters.

If you don't work for an oil company, you might be wondering: Why should I care? And why does this matter? We asked and answered some of the big questions.

With ANWR drilling on its doorstep, an Alaska Native village is poised to profit

It’s still too early to know if petroleum even exists in the refuge in commercially-viable quantities. But if it’s found, Kaktovik’s residents are simultaneously positioned to be among the biggest beneficiaries, and to experience some of the biggest disruptions.

Brazil dam disaster sparks questions over the safety of Donlin’s tailings dam

A tailings dam collapsed last month in Brazil, killing more than 150 people. That accident raised fears among some residents in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta about the safety of the tailings facility and dam that Donlin Gold plans to construct for its large gold mine. Donlin says its design is much safer than the one that collapsed in Brazil. 

Interior: No 3-D Seismic exploration in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this winter

An Interior official has confirmed there will be no 3-D seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this winter.

Working around the clock to make sure the trans-Alaska Pipeline holds water

"The first week I went to work was the only week in two and a half years that I worked less than eighty hours a week. Many times we would work twenty-four hours a day." Listen now

The challenges of being the only woman on a pipeline crew

Diane Schenker had recently graduated from Reed College and was living in Fairbanks when she heard a rumor that Welding Union 798 had been forced to hire women to help build the trans-Alaska pipeline. A 21-year-old with no experience in construction, Schenker convinced the union office manager to let her work with an all-male crew of welders from the South. Listen now

Cordova hosts U.S. Senate field hearing on microgrids

Abraham Ellis is with the Sandia National Labs in New Mexico. “We are interested in those technologies to figure out ways to improve the energy resilience for cities,” he said. “For defense applications, and things like that, that really need to keep on going with electricity supply, even if the normal grid fails for whatever reason.”

With time ticking, little public progress on state budget

Despite a looming deadline, lawmakers made no public progress this week on reaching agreement on a state budget and a plan to balance the budget in future years.