True to theme for this year’s Economic Development District(EDD) Industry Outlook Forum “Kenai Peninsula ~ Opportunities ABOUND” speakers that included Governor Sean Parnell and municipal officials from across the Kenai Peninsula as well as industry executives agreed that indeed the Peninsula is the hot spot for Alaska’s economic development. The theme of the forum was chosen by the Industry Outlook Committee enhancing the growth and opportunities for the Kenai Peninsula and throughout Alaska. The Industry Outlook Forum has been a great success over the years and continues to grow each year with the spectacular line up of speakers and government officials. While making no definite announcements Agrium’s Vice President Andy Kelemen said they are in negotiations with natural gas producers in the Inlet and were evaluating reopening at least one of their Nikiski production facilities. Saying there would still be hurdles to cross but if they reopen again Agrium would become a major employer, taxpayer and good corporate citizen as they were prior to closing and mothballing the plant. If successful Kelemen said it would take about 30 months to bring the plant into production.
Governor Sean Parnell, who had planned to deliver the Friday keynote address at the Forum was unable to leave Juneau due to fog conditions but appeared live on the large screen at the Challenger Learning Center via Skype. His address focused on the resurgence of the oil and gas industry in the Cook Inlet and legislation that he was introducing this session to facilitate the building of the Alaska LNG project which is planning to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Nikiski. He then took questions from the audience on a variety of issues of concern ranging from mining to fishery management.
The lineup of participants and sponsors included Uptown Motel, First National Bank Alaska, Alaska Communications, AK Gasline Development Corporation, Agrium US, AK USA Insurance, Apache Alaska Corporation, City of Homer, AK Federal Credit Union, City of Soldotna, CONAM Construction, ConocoPhillips, Era Aviation, Cook Inlet Energy, Cruz Companies, Enstar Natural Gas, Hilcorp, Kenai Peninsula Borough, IISCO, Lynden Transport, Peak, Petroleum Equipment, PRL Logistics, Rain For Rent, Superior Electric, Tanks-A-Lot, Tesoro, Udelhoven, XTO Energy, Homer Electric, GLM Corporation and Exxon. Co-hosting the Forum was the Kenai Chapter of the Alliance. “We would like to thank all of our sponsors, through the financial support of our sponsors this event was able to be put on free of charge for our attendees. We also thank our speakers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to be a part of our forum. Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s Forum such a huge success we hope that you walked away with the most current information of what is going on in the State of Alaska and Kenai Peninsula Industry,” said Heidi Hatch of the Kenai Peninsula EDD.