Ways to dispel oil, gas fears sought

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Petroleum News -- an Anchorage-based weekly publication covering oil and gas news in North America -- is putting together a comprehensive guide to oil and gas in Alaska and would like suggestions from Kenai Peninsula residents, publisher and managing editor Kay Cashman told the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

The 400-plus page guide, called "Dispelling the Alaska Fear Factor," is intended to provide potential oil and gas developers with information about the costs and benefits of doing business in the state and covers topics like oil and gas reserves, geology, taxes and fees, regulations and government agencies.

Cashman said the title of the guide refers to the fact that a lot of companies know Alaska has oil and gas, but they are afraid to explore because the cost of development is too high.

"You can find oil and gas here, but you can't make money here -- that's the main Alaska fear factor," she said.

While costs can be high, there is still money to be made, according to Cashman.

A collection of articles written for the Petroleum News is specifically being included in the guide to sort out the fact from the fiction behind potential investors' fears.

Cashman said the writers for Petroleum News do not work for the oil and gas industry and the articles in the guide will report the misconception about as well as acknowledge the difficulties of developing oil and gas in Alaska.

"We're not going to cover up any warts," she said.

The guide also will include a section about living in Alaska -- which addresses cost of living, the economy and the Alaska Permanent Fund -- and is intended to dispel some of the fears oil and gas company employees may have about residing in the state.

"Oil company employees think of coming to Alaska as going out of the country," Cashman said.

To give potential residents a better idea of what living in Alaska is really like, profiles of cities and communities are being included in the section. Anchorage, Fairbanks and Valdez already are contributing, and Cashman asked Nikiski and other Kenai Peninsula communities to do the same.

Cashman said she also is interested in hearing what peninsula residents think some of the fears may be of people moving to Alaska from Outside, so they could be taken up in the guide.

"If you have ideas of what people would ask coming into the state, we'd like to address them," she said.

Petroleum News plans to publish "Dispelling the Alaska Fear Factor" next year and update the guide annually.

Suggestions can be made to Laura Erickson, special projects coordinator for Petroleum News, by e-mailing lerickson@PetroleumNews.com or calling (907) 522-9469.

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