Gov. Bill Walker is still pushing North Slope producers for a larger share of the Alaska LNG Project, and may promote a state gas reserve tax as leverage against the companies, state legislative leaders briefed recently on the governor’s plans said in interviews.
“We were told the governor desires a majority ownership in the project, at least 51 percent, and that the administration is considering the use of a gas reserves tax if one or more of the companies don’t want to play,” said Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican who was one of the leaders briefed.
Hawker said his overall concern is that the governor is veering away from a partnership concept in the plan now agreed to by the producers where each owner of gas resources on the North Slope, including the state, finances and owns a share of the project equal to the gas ownership.
Under this arrangement “alignment” on commercial terms among the parties is achieved, Hawker said. “The governor’s idea (of a larger state ownership) goes another direction, possibly dividing the parties rather than seeking alignment,” he said.
House Speaker Mike Chenault said, “I know the governor wants a bigger piece of the pie but this project is working now as it was designed,” as a partnership with the state on an equal footing with each of the three major producers. “For years the three producers tried to figure out a way to make this work having to pay 100 percent of the costs but getting only 75 percent of the revenues,” because of the state royalty and tax share, the Speaker said.