Recap of Alaska’s Top-3 Energy Stories: #2 – COVID-19 Plagues Alaska’s Economy

Recap of Alaska’s Top-3 Energy Stories:  #2 – COVID-19 Plagues Alaska’s Economy

December 30, 2020

As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2021, PTF Alaska State Director, Rick Whitbeck, looks back at the top energy-related stories of the year in the Great Land. 

The world was turned on its head in early 2020, as COVID-19 made its way to America’s shores and life as we knew it changed dramatically.  As Americans “hunkered down” to slow its spread, transportation slowed to a crawl, affecting oil and gas demand, among other things.

The fallout from the pandemic hit America’s energy workers especially hard.  Nationwide, producers shut down projects, companies went bankrupt and tens of thousands of American families were suddenly without regular paychecks.

In Alaska, 3,000 oil and gas jobs were lost, due to decisions made by industry in light of the pandemic.  From the North Slope exploration season shutting down prematurely to companies re-thinking projects and contractor use, the ripple effects of COVID-19 on Alaska’s energy industry reached across the state.

Speaking of the state, with decreased production comes decreased state revenues.  Alaska heads into 2021 with an estimated $2.3 billion budget deficit, with oil and gas development expected to bring only $1.1 billion or so to state coffers this coming year.

While there are studies that show recovery will begin this coming year, the rebound could be slow, and further impacted by a new administration.

Power The Future looks forward to continuing to advocate for opportunities to grow Alaska’s resource-based prospects in 2021.  The thousands of good-paying jobs available now cannot be taken for granted.  We will continue to fight against those looking to dim our state’s bright energy future.