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Cost to Shell of Kulluk Grounding? $90 Million and Counting ….

1:38 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Shell arctic drilling deployment scheme

Thursday, at Shell Oil’s annual Results Conference in London, Shell CEO Peter Voser delivered a prepared address on the company’s global performance during 2012.  It included little information about the energy giant’s 2012 Alaska Arctic drilling season fiascos we don’t already know:

“Despite making some progress we have run into problems in the last few months. Our rigs will need more work if they are going to be ready for the 2013 drilling season. One, the Noble Discoverer needs a series of upgrades, and the other, the Kulluk, ran aground in a heavy storm on New Year’s Eve and has been damaged.”

After the address, though, Vosser answered questions from the press.  His answers provided some new information.  Questioned on whether or not Shell had decided to move the rigs when they did to avoid paying millions in Alaska taxes, Vosser tried to wriggle out from under previous statements and information available through Shell officials in Alaska:

Tim Webb, the energy editor at The Times in London, asked Voser if Shell was moving the rig from Unalaska to Seattle in order to evade Alaska’s oil and gas property tax.

“Assuming you say that’s true, because I think that came from Shell, would you say that’s an example of Shell not managing risks correctly, or making a poor decision in terms of managing risk in Alaska?”

In response, Voser denied that the decision to move the rig had anything to do with taxes, saying that the $5-6 million they would have had to pay is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

“There was a statement made by a Shell person, but in a completely different context, in a completely different meeting. That was then taken out of that context and then someone made a story out it. Just to be very clear on this one.”

The original story was written by Dutch Harbor Fisherman reporter Jim Paulin. In it, he quoted an email from Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith that was sent before the grounding. Paulin says he stands by his reporting.

“And I don’t think Shell would be backing away from that comment had it not gone aground. I think they would have been sending lobbyists to Juneau to try to repeal that tax. And I think that would be, in my opinion, the motivation for making that comment that it influenced their decision to move it.”

Reporter Paulin’s statement about Shell lobbyists in Juneau is, if anything, understatement.  During the same day Shell CEO Vosser  was delivering his annual report, in Juneau, the oil industry was flexing its muscle as it only can in Alaska.

The 2012 election brought an end to a Senate bipartisan coalition that dated back to shortly after the FBI busted a number of Alaska legislators for taking bribes from the major oil field service company in Alaska, Veco.  Although it was understood at the time that Veco’s bribers were working on behalf of oil giant ConocoPhillips, no employees from the latter were ever indicted by the Justice Department.  The crooked legislators smugly called themselves “The Corrupt Bastards Club,” and even had baseball caps made with the term plastered across them.

Replacing the bipartisan Senate coalition is a new GOP-run super majority that is intent on ramming through Senate Bill 21, which will repeal the most important element of Alaska’s taxation of oil fields here, and strip billions of dollars per year from state coffers and give it to immensely wealthy oil companies, like ConocoPhillips, British Petroleum and Exxon-Mobil.

Tuesday through Thursday, the Senate Special Committee on TAPS [Trans-Alaska Pipeline System] Throughput held telephonic hearings across the state on SB 21.  About 90% of the testimony was in favor of not implementing SB 21, or of even tweaking our tax rate on the oil industry, which is at the bottom of the middle of the pack worldwide.
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Progressive Alaska Articles on Don Young – In Case They’ll Soon Come In Handy

5:49 pm in 2010 election, Conservatism, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party by EdwardTeller

Alaska’s lone member of the U.S. House was named in a sentencing document released today as Representative "A." It states he took in a lot of unreported money from a man about to report to jail.

The recent disclosure by the U.S. Department of Justice of some of the documents pertaining to the upcoming sentencing of ex-Veco chief, Bill Allen, have named a Representative "A" as being a recipient of a lot of unreported donations from Allen, his subordinate Rick Smith, from Veco and from others connected to Allen.

Rep. Don Young (AK-AL) is obviously Representative "A."

I’ve been writing about Don Young since long before Progressive Alaska existed. Just over three years ago, during the 2006 campaign, I wrote a long essay for Down with Tyranny, that attempted to compile the most information under one title yet on Young. It was called Don Young’s Connections to Jack Abramoff. Some of the speculation in that article – about probable further arrests of people who were or had at one time been close to Young – came to pass. In early 2008, I again wrote an article for DwT, about Young’s abrasive midwinter tour of Alaska.

On November 17, 2007, shortly after the startup of PA, I wrote about disclosures tying Young to Rick Smith of Veco, and about phone conversations between the two, recorded by the FBI, as they were investigating the possibility that Veco was laundering money to Young through golf tournament activities. This was based on an Associated Press report and a Talking Points Memo article.

Here’s a listing of many Don Young articles that have appeared at PA since November 2007, and their subject matter. For interested reporters and bloggers, they’re all chock full of links to other peoples’ work on Young:

1) November 25, 2007: Don Young Bipolar Disorder at the ADN. Compares articles by Erika Bolstad and Wes Loy on Young. Loy reported "on earmarks in the Bering Sea King crab fishery that give distinct advantages to three companies which have donated to Young’s campaigns, and penalizes companies that have not donated."

2) December 18, 2008: Locked, Loaded and Looney. Discusses Young’s last-minute, illegal changes to the 2005 Transportation Omnibus Bill, Sen. Tom Coburn’s request for an investigation of the changes, and Diane Benson’s earlier request to the U.S. House for an investigation.

3) December 20, 2007: More Don Young Bipolar Disorder at the ADN? Compares differing versions of Bolstad’s story on Coburn’s move in the Washington DC McClatchy bureau, and in the ADN, and shows how the ADN quickly hid the story.

4) February 1, 2008: Advice to Don Young’s Staff – Start Looking for Work… Discussed the large drop in contributions to Young’s campaign in late 2007, in light of more disclosures about his rapidly growing legal fees.

5) February 4, 2008: Don Corleone Young? Discusses and links to Terry Haines’ excellent wrap-up of Young’s situation, published at The Alaska Report.

6) February 19, 2008: Throwing Rocks at an Obvious Target? Discusses the AK-AL debate between Diane Benson, Ethan Berkowitz and Jake Metcalfe, when they discussed Young’s mounting legal problems.

7) February 22, 2008: Don Young, Spineless Corrupt Bastard. Discusses Young’s weird, truncated Mat-Su Valley press appearances two days earlier.

8) March 12, 2008: Don Juan Young? Comparison of Robert Dillon fluff piece on Young from DC with the way Young reacted to the press in his February Alaska appearances.

9) March 23, 2008: The New Shape of the AK-AL U.S. House Race. The article looked at the new dynamics in that race, after then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell’s announcement that he would challenge Young in the 2008 GOP Primary.

10) April 15, 2008: This Couldn’t Have Happened without Don Young. Links to material about Young’s pivotal role in the creation of the Chinese mob-run slave worker regime in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

11) April 16, 2008: Why Isn’t This Man Happy? Compared the wealth of newly emerging material on Young’s probable criminal activity.

12) April 20, 2008: Hats Off to Dennis Greenia and Richard Mauer. Discusses the interesting collaboration between ADN reporter Richard Mauer, and DailyKos diarist Dengre.

13) November 3, 2008: Don Young Supporters Can’t Avoid Sliming Ethan Berkowitz. Late campaign dirty tricks.

14) November 4, 2008: Alaskans for Clean Elections Respond to Young Campaign Smear. More on Young supporters’ dirty tricks.

15) January 3, 2009: Young-Berkowitz Race One of the Ten Biggest 2008 Upsets.

16) January 10, 2009: AK-AL 2010 Democrats Poll Results & Runoff Poll. Matchup of Alaska Democrats for the AK-AL 2010 seat.

17) April 15, 2008: April 15th Wasilla Teabaggers Rally. Nice pictures of Don.

18) April 16, 2008: Don Young on Socialism – From The Alaska Report. Video by Dennis Zaki from the Wasilla Teabaggers Rally.

19) September 12, 2008: How Much Does Don Young Have to Grab Before He’ll Accept That His Work for the State of Alaska is Done? Criticizes Young’s moves since he was stripped of his GOP House posts. Guest post by Howie Klein.

There were other articles about Don Young at PA, but these are most of the major ones, and a few that add depth to certain issues.

Progressive Alaska covered Young less in the late summer and fall of 2008, than earlier. Like many in Alaska, I believed the polling that showed Ethan Berkowitz a solid favorite in the race. And since the 2008 U.S. House gains by Democrats and the House GOP move to strip Young of his posts, he has been very marginal. And there has been no lack of other issues to address. I expect he will be back in the news a lot, though. Real soon.

When I first became involved in finding out more about Young, back in July 2006, as I volunteered to help Diane Benson, I told her, "You’re one phone call from the FBI away from being our next U.S. Representative."

I thought that call was going to come a long time ago.

I’ve never stopped thinking that it will eventually come.