"Looking Forward to the Next Decade," is the theme of this week's Industry Outlook Forum sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District (KPEDD) and the Kenai Chapter of The Alliance. "We have forty five speakers signed up for the two day conference that includes the President of the State Senate Gary Stevens, Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, folks from the Governor's office, and representatives from every major industry on the Peninsula, plus major economists that will set the stage for what the future of Kenai Peninsula has in store, so it should be a pretty exciting forum. We've asked the presenters from government and industry leaders to tell us what they have planned for the next decade So we can compile this information into a planning document that will give us direction on how we can meet the needs," said KPEDD Executive Director John Torgerson. "We partnered with the Kenai Chapter of the Alliance who felt as we did that this event needed to available to the public free of charge, so the Kenai Chapter president Bob Favretto went to work raising funds from their membership to make that possible. We had limited space and only 168 seats available at the Challenger Learning Center, and they filled up fast but thanks to all the sponsors we were able to arrange it at no cost to the public," added Torgerson.
Earlier this winter The Alliance heard some good news from Joey Hall, operations manager for Pioneer Natural Resources of Alaska about their Cosmopolitan Project in Cook Inlet, "We look forward to this development moving forward. It's a very robust project of about $500 million dollars plus at full cycle, which could translate into a lot of jobs during different phases of the project, during construction that could be 60-80 personnel on location for about 3 months, and the three year drilling process could be between 50-75 people on location. At full cycle completion Pioneer will have about six people operating the project, but in addition to that will be all the service industry jobs to help support the project, and most of that work force will be local hire," Hall told the Alliance.
Rick Fox, asset manager for Shell Alaska, also brought some glad tidings at a recent Kenai Chapter Alliance luncheon about their efforts to begin exploration in the Chukchi Sea saying, "We've been working steady and although it hasn't been an easy road we've been overcoming one obstacle after another and we're getting closer and closer which is raising our confidence level and we are really hoping to begin drilling in 2010 and we're working to be ready," he said. Fox likened the size of the Chukchi Sea to the Gulf of Mexico where there are some 50,000 wells that have been drilled and only five thus far in Chukchi, "The recent economic study done by ISER paints a picture of a huge economic impact overall from the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) and we believe that from what we've seen, but of course we'll never see the kind of gradual development that happened in the Gulf of Mexico over many years because the technology has changed and our development will be done with far fewer wells and structures. The Arctic presents a lot of challenges that will call for scientists and engineers and companies formed over time and I believe many careers created once the OCS gets started," said Fox.
The Industry Outlook Forum will offer a full range of speakers from oil and gas, mining, native corporations, AK Natural Gas Development Authority, Denali Pipeline, AGIA, the Director of the State Division of Oil & Gas, as well as officials from Holland America on their plans to bring cruise ships to Homer this summer. Wednesday the Kenai Peninsula Tourism & Marketing Council sponsored a tourism conference at the Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center that was also free to the public. To see if space is still available for the Outlook Forum call Dee Gaddis at 283-3335.
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