Alaska Business Insider

Alaska’s economy never stands still. One minute the oil industry is booming while tourism companies are tottering, and the next the construction industry is laying down its hammers while fishermen are enjoying strong catches.

In this blog we’ll track those highs and lows, resource development disputes, new ventures and many other topics. We’ll rely on our own reporting as well as bring you relevant news from other media or any other source that has information of interest to people following Alaska industries, from mining to retail to real estate.

We encourage your comments on our posts, but please keep them courteous and on topic. If you violate the ADN comment policy, your posts will be deleted.

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Imagining Alaska's economy without oil - 3/10/2011 4:54 pm

Nine local women added to ATHENA Society - 3/1/2011 10:02 am

Alaska tribe takes coal mine concerns to UN - 2/25/2011 1:22 pm

Missed deadlines on North Slope gas line - 2/24/2011 4:42 pm

Pat Galvin's new job - 2/24/2011 4:24 pm

Sport groups pressure EPA on Pebble - 2/24/2011 3:27 pm

Study highlights Arctic drilling's economic impact - 2/24/2011 1:46 pm

Muni changing wireless, Internet providers - 2/23/2011 9:06 pm

Alaska jobless rate edges up in December

From Bill White --

Alaska’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.1 percent last month, the state Department of Labor said today.

That rate is up from 8 percent in November.

The statewide jobless rate, when adjusted for seasonal factors, has hung just above or just below 8 percent since the spring of 2009. During that period, it peaked at 8.6 percent in December 2009. The low point was last July through September, when the rate was 7.7 percent.

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Study finds Southeast salmon is a $1 billion resource

Mary Pemberton, The Associated Press --

Salmon is an economic engine that pumps nearly $1 billion into Southeast Alaska’s economy, according to a Trout Unlimited Alaska study.

Salmon is an economic engine that pumps nearly $1 billion into Southeast Alaska’s economy, according to a Trout Unlimited Alaska study.

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Car dealers, repairers get most BBB complaints in Alaska

From Bill White --

New-car dealers and car repair/service businesses generated more complaints than any other businesses last year in Alaska, the Better Business Bureau for the Alaska, Oregon and western Washington region said.

Filling out the top five complained-about industries were used-car dealers, hotels and restaurants, the BBB said.
Restaurants jumped to No. 5 on the list from No. 14 in 2009, the BBB said.

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BP makes move on developing Russia's Arctic waters

Staff and wire reports --

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says London-based oil giant BP and Russia's largest oil company Rosneft will work together to develop Russia's energy-rich continental shelf.

BP's chief executive Robert Dudley on Friday sealed his first Russian deal after he was forced out of the country in 2008 amid a board-room battle with local investors.

Dudley said BP and Rosneft will cooperate on developing Russia's continental shelf in the Kara Sea in Siberia's north.

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BP's Suttles to retire at age 50

From Bill White --

Former BP Alaska chief Doug Suttles, who was the face of BP in the early days of the company's Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, is retiring, the Houston Chronicle is reporting.

Suttles is 50 years old and has been with BP for 22 years, currently as chief operating officer of global exploration and production. He was head of BP Alaska for two years -- 2007 and 2008.

The Chronicle says:

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Russia oil to replace Alaska crude at W. Coast refineries

From Bill White --

The Houston Business Journal is reporting that West Coast refineries will be getting special shipments of oil from Russia to replace the Alaska oil that hasn't been flowing because of a leak at the trans-Alaska pipeline's Pump Station 1.

The Journal says:

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Fred Meyer parent company pumps up gas business

From Dan Sewell, The Associated Press --

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. will open gas station No. 1,000 on Wednesday, a milestone that underscores the growing link between groceries and gas in the drive to build customer loyalty.

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New oil drilling regulator lays out the road ahead

From Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers --

WASHINGTON — Michael Bromwich, the official put in charge of oil and gas regulation after the BP blowout last spring, gave a detailed public update Thursday about changes now under way, including new inspections, environmental reviews and ethical standards.

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Alaska oil prices hit two-year high

From Bill White –

The $93.61-a-barrel price that North Slope oil reached Tuesday on West Coast open markets was the highest price since Oct. 1, 2008.

Back then, oil prices were heading down, after peaking that summer. The U.S. economy and financial markets were cratering right then, you might recall.

Now, the price has been trending up. Alaska oil has gained $4.23 a barrel in just the first two days of this week, reflecting in part the trans-Alaska pipeline shutdown that started over the weekend. But prices have been drifting upward for months.

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A new Cinnabon in town

From Elizabeth Bluemink --

Anchorage this week got its first Cinnabon bakery that doesn’t require passage through a security gate.

A Cinnabon Express bakery opened Tuesday inside the Schlotzsky’s deli restaurant in South Anchorage, located at 321 East Dimond Boulevard.

The other Cinnabon bakeries in town are at the Anchorage International Airport and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

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Slight job growth forecast for Alaska, Anchorage in 2011

From Bill White --

This month we’re in the season of Alaska economic forecasts for 2011.

First out of the gate is the closely watched Alaska Department of Labor prediction for job gains and losses by different industries.

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Chamber legislative priorities: oil-tax changes, transportation endowment

From Bill White --

The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce has outlined its priorities for the state legislative session that starts next Tuesday.

They are:

-- Alaska Coastal Management Program: Oppose any changes to the ACMP that diminish the program's ability to provide concise, streamlined, and predictable permitting in Alaska's coastal zone.

-- Oil Taxes: Support meaningful reform of Alaska's oil production tax system that reduces the state's tax burden on all Alaska oil and gas exploration and development activities and encourages increased production.

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Seward coal dust lawsuit moves forward

From Elizabeth Bluemink –

A federal judge this week allowed an environmental lawsuit involving coal-dust emissions in Seward to proceed in court.

In a 27-page ruling signed on Monday, Anchorage federal district Judge Tim Burgess denied motions by the Alaska Railroad and Aurora Energy Services to dismiss the case.

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Railbelt utilities form business to oversee power projects

From Bill White --

Five utilities have formed the Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Energy Co. to deal with Railbelt energy needs.

The utilites involved are Chugach Electric Association of Anchorage, Matanuska Electric Association of Palmer, Homer Electric Association, Seward Electrical System and Golden Valley Electric Association of Fairbanks.

Each of the five has two members on the board of the new generation-and-transmission utility they have formed.

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Alaska Communications adds local investor to board

The Associated Press --

Telephone and Internet service provider Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. said Monday that it has named local venture capitalist John Niles Wanamaker to its board of directors and its nominating and corporate governance committee.

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Sluggish retail, office, home-building markets forecast for Anchorage

From Elizabeth Bluemink --

Anchorage commercial real estate dodged the economic devastation that hit malls, office buildings and big-box stores in the Lower 48 during the national recession, local industry experts said Friday.

But even though Anchorage is in good shape compared to many Lower 48 cities, the local market lost some of its sizzle and it isn’t coming back fast, their research shows.

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Anchorage contractor gets UAF lab project design

The Associated Press --

FAIRBANKS — An Anchorage-based contractor has been named to design a major new science facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Davis Constructors and Engineers will work with university officials to complete design work on the project, which is about half done.

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Employees become owner of Alaska Mining & Diving Supply

From Bill White --

Alaska Mining & Diving Supply in Anchorage has become an employee-owned business.

Dudley Benesch and Steve Herschbach, who founded the company in 1976, decided to convert to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan structure. All stockholders now are employees.

“A company is only as good as its people, and it is the employees that make (our company) great,” said Herschbach, company president.

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Oil findings boost chance of corp. criminal charge

Deepwater Horizon rig on April 21, 2010Deepwater Horizon rig on April 21, 2010

Curt Anderson, The Associated Press --

NEW ORLEANS -- Months of investigation by a presidential commission and other panels reinforce the likelihood that companies involved in the Gulf oil spill will be slapped with criminal charges that could add to the huge fines they already face, legal experts said Thursday.

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Asian fusion restaurant planned for Midtown

From Elizabeth Bluemink --

Anchorage is getting a new Lower 48 chain restaurant ... one you might not have heard of.

The new dining spot is called Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. It will fill a recently vacated space in Midtown’s University Center mall and the expected opening will be sometime in the spring.

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