Letter: Sen. French the winner in duel over reform of state’s oil taxes

Having read Sunday’s Compass piece by Sen. Hollis French and the predictable comment by Paul Jenkins, (both concerning reform to state oil tax structure), I proclaim a clear and decisive victory for Sen. French.

French stated: “We conducted a ten-year real-time experiment in dropping oil taxes on a major North Slope field. Did production go up? No. The Kuparuk field declined at a steady rate of 7 percent throughout that period.”

And he added, from a “Restricted” BP memo, “Alaska’s role in BP’s portfolio is to provide a stable production base and cash flow to fuel growth elsewhere in the business.”

Meanwhile, Jenkins lamented: “(ACES) siphoned off somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion too much from the North Slope industry shareholders for each of the last six years, prompting fat state budget surpluses ...” That is roughly $10 billion extra in state coffers, enough to pay 10,000 oil field workers $100,000 each for 10 years.

Problem is, as Sen. French showed, BP, Exxon et. al use the extra profits to develop fields in other countries, not Alaska.

— Steven Haney