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Alaska oil and gas director stepping down amid battle with producers

  • Author: Alex DeMarban
  • Updated: September 20, 2016
  • Published September 20, 2016

The state director battling some of the world's largest oil companies over marketing Alaska's North Slope gas is stepping down.

Corri Feige, director of the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas, informed colleagues Tuesday that she will take advantage of an "opportunity" that will reduce her "epic" daily commute from Sutton to Anchorage.

"With a heavy heart, I inform you that I will be leaving my position as DOG director effective at the close of business on Oct. 3," she said, according to an email to colleagues that she sent to explain herself. "This decision has been incredibly difficult for me, but opportunity rarely knocks at convenient times and in this instance, I have got to open that door!"

Feige did not describe the "new adventure" in the email, provided by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner's office. But Feige said it will allow her to spend more time with her daughter, who is in her last year at home before college begins.

Feige, married to former state Republican Rep. Eric Feige, did not return a call seeking additional information late Tuesday.

For months Feige has been at the center of a fight with BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips that was started in January by Mark Myers, former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Myers sent letters to the producers saying the state would seek information beginning this year about their efforts to market natural gas, including such things as pricing terms, volumes to be delivered and the identity of parties expected to be involved in "substantive" marketing discussions.

The request comes as the state has been trying to advance a gas line project that would sell North Slope gas to Asian utilities.

Earlier this month, the oil companies refused to provide the details in the annual development plan, which has long focused on oil extraction, with natural gas helping produce more valuable oil by reinjecting it underground to pressurize reservoirs.

The producers' response creates uncertainty about whether the state will approve the plan or continue to challenge the companies for the information, with some critics of the Walker administration afraid the issue could end up in a long, costly court battle.

Before her state job, Feige served as general manager in Alaska for oil explorer Linc Energy for almost five years. She left that job in November 2014. Australia-based Linc Energy and several subsidiaries, including Linc Alaska Resources, filed for relief under Chapter 11 in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas in late May.

The Natural Resources department has experienced significant change at the top this year. Myers retired in February. He was replaced by acting commissioner Marty Rutherford, who retired in June. She was replaced by current commissioner Andy Mack.

"It has been my great honor to serve the people of Alaska and work with both DOG and DNR," Feige said.

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