From Elizabeth Bluemink --
A new academic paper says Alaska's economy would be half as big as it is today if oil had never been discovered on the North Slope.
The paper, by Scott Goldsmith of the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, says that all the jobs that can be traced in some way to oil development -- about 187,000 -- make up half of the state's jobs.
Without oil, Alaska would have seen bigger growth in tourism, seafood and mining, plus more development of the air cargo industry, according to the paper. The economy would have remained very seasonal due to the primary role of seafood and tourism.
In the future, Alaskans shouldn't look to a North Slope gas pipeline as a substitute for the oil industry, according to Goldsmith.
"On an energy-equivalent basis, the current market value of oil is more than twice that of gas. It’s also far more expensive to move gas to market. So the state’s gas tax base, which is the market value minus transportation costs—the wellhead value—would be only a small fraction of the current wellhead value of oil production," he writes.
To read the paper, click here.