Two news stories Thursday should set off alarms about Alaska's fiscal future. One on National Public Radio reported that oil production in Iran is plummeting due to lack of investment. The second came Petroleum News Alaska that North Slope production slipped below 600,000 barrels per day during FY 2011 - the lowest ever recorded.
We know there is a direct corollary between investment and production levels. And we know that the investment Alaska needs to stem its production decline is going to other oil provinces where producers can earn a better rate of return.
ACES has turned Alaska into an Arctic Iran where producers hesitate to invest - and explorers call for reform. The governor has a plan to increase production to 1 million barrels a day within a decade. While his plan may not be perfect, one anchor element is not open to debate. ACES must change - and it must change now. I hope the state Senate is listening.