A Big Ballot Win in Alaska Brings Back Drilling Projects, Jobs to the State

A Big Ballot Win in Alaska Brings Back Drilling Projects, Jobs to the State

November 19, 2020

Yesterday, ConocoPhillips Alaska announced plans to resume Alaska drilling projects on the North Slope starting in mid-December, bringing back several hundred jobs amid reductions that began during the drop in oil prices this spring coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic. ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack cited the defeat of Ballot Measure 1, a citizen-led oil tax increase, as the primary factor for the resumption of the drilling plans.

According to Anchorage Daily News:

It [ConocoPhillips] temporarily cut North Slope production in June, citing low oil prices. It reported losing $1.5 billion worldwide through June this year, including $60 million in Alaska.

The Alaska oil and gas industry this year has shed about 3,100 jobs, close to one-third of the workforce in January.

ConocoPhillips is Alaska’s largest oil producer, with 218,000 barrels of oil produced daily in 2019. The company also has new projects planned on the North Slope’s western frontier for oil development.

This comes as welcome news to the oil and gas industry in energy-rich Alaska. Especially following a loss of close to one-third of the oil and gas industry workforce in the state during these troubling times.

Marushack said an operating rig can employ about 100 people. ConocoPhillips Alaska will resume drilling in mid-December using four rigs, so the Alaskan oil and gas industry can count on 400 jobs being brought back to the state next month.

During these times of economic hardship, it’s important for our elected officials to realize over-regulation can hurt the constituents they represent. We applaud Alaskan voters for going to the polls and voting for the future of the prosperous oil and gas industry that so strongly benefits and supports their state.