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September 24, 2021

New Oil Rigs Shipped to Alaska Cause Pants to Ignite!

~Shiny new oil rigs bound for Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

If you listen to the oil companies, their lobbyists, and the cadre of legislators and elected officials they’ve purchased over the years, you’d think it’s the end of the world. They run in circles, hair on fire, rending garments, pounding their own foreheads with their palms and wailing, “Nobody wants to invest in Alaska anymore! It’s too hard! We’re too regressive! The poor oil companies can’t make a living! They’re going to go somewhere else if we don’t give them everything they want! Aaaaaaaa!”

It’s an ugly sight.

First, of course, is governor Sean Parnell and his attempt to roll back ACES, the tax system put in place by his predecessor Sarah Palin and the herd of Democrats in the state legislature that made it possible. As alike as the two governors are, they were not alike on this one. I don’t often say this, so make sure you’re sitting. Sarah Palin (and the Dems) had it right. The acronym ACES stands for Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share.  It was much more diplomatic than SSU (Stop screwing us) or YGBJWTTUIABRSYCLYPWOM (You greedy bastards just want to turn us into a banana republic so you can line your pockets with our money).

Governor Parnell (a former ConocoPhillips lobbyist) is trying diligently to reduce the state’s oil revenue share by $8 Billion over the next five years by rolling back ACES. Alaska’s population is less than a million people. Do the math – $8 billion is a LOT.  So, we know what the oil companies get. They get $8 billion that otherwise would be spent on jobs, schools, infrastructure, and our savings account. What do we get?  Take a guess.

A) Increased jobs for Alaskans

B) More exploration in Alaska

C) More drilling in Alaska

D) All of the above

E) None of the above

Aaaaand…. the E’s have it.  That’s right, we get nothing. Well, I shouldn’t say that. We get to hope that the oil companies will be nice to us because they want to.  I mean, look at us. Come on! We’re adorable, and good, and we were nice to them, so I’ll just bet they do the right thing. (I almost typed that whole sentence with a straight face)

Representative Les Gara reports:

Giving money to oil companies and hoping they give it back never worked when we had a lower tax. Back in 2006, when the Production tax was near 0% for most new fields, we had 30% less investment in Alaska, oil production declining by 6% a year, and 40% fewer jobs in the oil and gas sector. The companies, instead of investing in Alaska, took lots of their pre-2007 profit and gave it to shareholders and executives.

The Governor justified his bill saying it would spur exploration in new areas (technically, new “units”). The facts prove otherwise.

In legislative testimony I asked BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon if they’d explore new drilling units based on the Governor’s bill. BP said NO. Exxon said NO. Conoco said they wouldn’t commit.

Here is the testimony.

If you need more convincing on the value of ACES and what it has already done for the state, and the nefarious skullduggery of the Governor and his cohorts high-fiving in the smoke-filled room, you can find more background previously reported at The Mudflats HERE.

So, here’s where our little story gets really good. Earlier this summer, one of the champions of ACES, State Senator Hollis French was in Portland, Oregon getting a tour of the port. What to his wondering eyes should appear in the ship yard, but a giant barge loaded with what appeared to be two huge drilling rigs. (See photo above) Being the curious sort, Senator French decided to find out what they were. Turns out that the two rigs, owned by Parker Drilling are part of BP’s land-based drilling program and were headed to Alaska. They are also valued at $125 million each.

(Behold the terrified oil companies who are packing up and going to parts unknown to avoid having to deal with ACES and drilling in Alaska. Maybe they’ll have to take a step up in the world and increase their current investments in Libya where the tax rate is in the 90% range instead of Alaska’s 30% under ACES.)

Gara explains:

Two weeks ago Senator Hollis French and I noted that BP had ordered two new, more efficient land-based drilling rigs for North Slope use. Hollis had pictures of the two new land-based rigs being shipped up from Portland. Conventional wisdom is that they will be used to replace less efficient drilling rigs in Prudhoe Bay to more efficiently extract more oil from that field. That’s good. Current law… encourages that kind of investment by letting companies reduce their state taxes through credits and deductions, resulting in the state paying over 50% of the cost of new capital expenditures made in Alaska.

So, when Senator French and Rep. Gara pointed out that in fact, the new spendy oil rigs were headed to Prudhoe Bay, and it sure looked like things were moving along  just fine, our oily friends said this was all “drivel,” “fantasy,” “ranting and misrepresentation.” The oil companies’ campaign flaks claimed that:

“BP signed the contract for the two new rigs with Parker Drilling in 2007, long before ACES was adopted or even conceived.”

Wow. So, what they’re saying is that these rigs were actually ordered before ACES went into effect. Had they only known THEN what they know NOW, it never would have happened. Is that what you’re getting from that response? Could it be that our heroes are mistaken?  That’s what the sock puppets on right wing talk radio in Anchorage are saying. Shall we assist our legislators in removing the egg from their faces?

No. We could, however, assist the oil company shills in putting out the blazing inferno that is their pants. Or not.

Turns out that in actuality the rigs were ordered in 2008, well after ACES went into effect, and as shocking as it may be to you, the oil company flunkies were lying.

How do we know this?

I smack down on the table before you the 2008 annual report of Parker Drilling, the maker of the rigs in question. If reading the annual report of a drilling company is not your idea of a good time, here is the relevant part:

2008 Highlights . . . . The commitment to build two advanced-design land rigs to fulfill a long-term drilling contract with BP. Revenues related to the project are expected to be in excess of $250 million during the initial five-year term.” And in discussing their 2008 work they continue: “BP subsequently awarded Parker a new contract to build and operate two new arctic-class land rigs for development drilling in Alaska.”

And the rigs were also mentioned HERE and HERE. So, after ACES in 2008, BP decided to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new oil rigs.

I know… the right wing would have you believing that the oil companies were sitting in the corner, all soggy-eyed with tiny hammers poised over ceramic piggy banks so they could still manage to eek out a living here in the Great Land. But, here come those darned “numbers” again. ConocoPhillips, one of Alaska’s “Big Three” producers, just announced their profits for the second quarter in Alaska – $490 million, an increase of 29% from the same quarter in 2010.

So, no worries that the oil company CEOs are going to be hungry and destitute. I’m quite sure they’re doing just fine. The same cannot be said for Alaskans, on the other hand, if they listen to the Governor and the Right Wing echo chamber.





20 Responses to “New Oil Rigs Shipped to Alaska Cause Pants to Ignite!”
  1. Corporate suits are caught with their pants down again! Which is reasonable, seeing as how the pants self-ignited. They are the most unethical bunch of scumbags! Politics and business make poor bedfellows. Greed is a deadly sin; I loved what Dante wrote about the circle of hell for the greedy….{snicker}.

  2. Zyxomma says:

    I know this comment is really better suited to the open thread, because it’s about salmon, not about oil. However, since Parnell is trying to (illegally) silence the vox populi about Pebble, it belongs here, too. Here’s a fly-fishing guide from Oregon on a judge’s decision on salmon fisheries (via the Sierra Club, whose emails I get):

    “Just last week – Tuesday, August 2nd – US District Court Judge James Redden again ruled illegal the federal government’s management plan for salmon and steelhead in the mighty Columbia and Snake Rivers. The ruling marks a huge win for wild salmon and the communities and ecosystems that depend on these magnificent fish.

    Three plans from three administrations – Clinton, Bush, and now Obama – have been ruled illegal for similar reasons. The message is clear: the government’s old efforts have failed. We need a new approach.”

    There’s a link to take action, too.

  3. Skagway Kid says:

    The behavior of the governor should warn Alaskans what to expect when the far right agenda tries to dictate how Alaska should grow. This narrow minded approach along with the governor siding with Pebble is build on the Palin philosophy that natural resources are given to the chosen ones aka christians to exploit. None of thes dopes realize that their job is to serve as stewards of the land not out and out land rapists. I look forward to see how the govenor covers up Palin’s law suit and Juneau activist Chip Thoma. I hope he takes her to the cleaners and the gov aids and abets her demise.

  4. scout says:

    oil is @ $84.00 a barrel and we’re still paying how much for a gallon of Koch gasoline??

    “Corporations are people, my friends.” Mitt Romney

    GGOFW ! Republicans, again proving they’re a Gluttonous Gang of Fecking Wankers. (h/t Irishgirl 🙂 Thanks, Irishgirl, it felt good to get that out.)

  5. carol says:

    I just read where the apologist for the oil companies is Mark Hamilton, past UA president, former Army general. I have lost all respect for him, it started to erode in the last couple of years of his presidency and now all respect is gone. I really liked him at first; he told the legislature that the University didn’t cost; it paid. He was such a good leader and was going in the right direction (IMHO) at first, but now “expletive deleted”. I’d better quit reading the news now and get something accomplished. that hopefully will raise my mood.

  6. Millie says:

    Why in the hell isn’t Parnell being recalled?

  7. Mo says:

    And why does Parnell think he can get away with this? Because he can.

    Here’s today’s Ginandtacos:

    “Face it: we are going to pursue a protect-the-Job-Producers, tax cutting, government dismantling, Hayek-worshipping, quasi-supply side economic policy until it brings us to our utter ruin. There will be no change in direction until we hit bottom, until the economy and state of the nation literally cannot get any worse. This is no different than the Gilded Age, and it will end the same way. There is no point at which common sense or the Democratic Party or the American public or the media are going to turn back from the post-1980 Beltway elite consensus politics of Government is the Problem, free market worship, and tax cuts piled upon tax cuts. This is it.”

    • mike from iowa says:

      No need to worry when they hit bottom. Just like dumb### dubya,when you get to the bottom just keep right on digging*or drilling as the case may be). See how well it worked for America’s economy.

  8. tallimat says:

    I worked for a oil company when fresh out of college.
    I was their minority hire and they asked if anyone else in my village had a degree, cause they “would probably hire them”.

    My immediate boss was a rightwing christian who believed the earth was 6,000 years old. Yet he was a geologist for this company. I often giggled about this. Then one day I got caught giggling and was told Im being disrespectful to my supervisor. I continued to giggle. It was just soooooo hard to keep a straight face around the guy.

    I was fired. Almost 3 decades later, I’m still giggling and just can’t keep a straight face about that whole ordeal.

    Look the oil company “brass” don’t like to hire residents of Alaska. That I am totally sure of. When it became known (post ACES) that nearly 50% of the new hires on the slope are from out of state, I wasn’t suprised. It was the policy to hire from outside first and appease the local hire requirements later and this was back in the late 80’s.

    Oh did I mention… my boss thought it was better that I move over to the state DNR office? He said the company could “arrange it for me” and then eluded that I could “forge a union” between the company and the DNR people.

    Big oil in Alaska is corrupt. They could careless about anything beyond that drill stem in the ground.

    Like my oil company boss said many years ago: “anything over 6,000 years old should be burned”…

    • marlys says:

      Thank you Tallimat…sadly silly but not surprising at all.
      I am so grateful for this forum, all the important information shared here, with a teaspoon of humor to help the reality go down.
      Cyber hugs to AKM, Shannyn, Linda to all of you.
      Big kudos to Senator French and Representative Gara…I am saying prayers for their safety.

    • nswfm says:

      Is that moron former boss of yours over 6,000 years old? I say find a stake and burn him, because he’s as dumb as they come. Or else had his brain extracted.

      Note the strip mining picture in the link:

      Below the picture, the artist has written:
      “As you look at this chart consider this: it is all about moving wealth from your pocket into someone else’s pocket. It is the same pocket and the flow of funds is not bi-directional. Adventures in wealth transfer…”

  9. hedgewytch says:

    “We were adorable, and good and we were nice to them. So I just bet they’ll do the right thing.”

    Jesus, you scared me there, I thought Sarah had wriggled into the room for a second. Don’t do that to me first thing in the a.m.!

  10. leenie17 says:

    So who are you going to believe…

    1. those nice, honest oil executives vacationing on their yachts docked at their private islands in the Caribbean and the Governor who’s got a check in his pocket made payable to his campaign account (be careful there, Gov…the ink is still wet!)


    2. those pesky facts documented in black and white and verifiable in ten different ways?

  11. Alaska Pi says:

    Oh, those poor oilies. Sniffle, sniffle.
    Will carry a picture of them “eek”ing out a living here for a long time now 🙂

    Thanks AKM. So terribly, awfully, completely tired of business being allowed to control the conversation .
    Thank you Senator French and Representative Gara. Please keep up looking out for Alaska in ways which actually matter unlike Cap’n Torpedo and his ilk.

  12. beaglemom says:

    Do your governors spend all of their time aproned-up giving out hamburgers and hotdogs to placate the Alaskan masses? When Jennifer Granholm was Michigan’s governor, she didn’t have any time for such activities. I wish our pesky current governor, Rick Snyder, would spend more time out of the office so he wouldn’t be messing with the citizenry so much. But I’d be afraid of any food he’d try to hand over to me.

    • John says:

      Our elected officials are expected to be available to the general public often. It is actually refreshing, even when the elected official is SP1 and SP2 (always reminds me of the cat in the hat, and Things 1 & 2.)

  13. GoI3ig says:

    Are we surprised? Not even a little.

    • Polarbear says:

      Your response is just the best. Weary, do not believe any corporation or republican whose lips are moving, follow the money if you want the real story, just play the next song and please dear God let it be Pete Seeger for once who never makes your formula song list.

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