From Richard Mauer in Juneau —
The oil industry began its testimony on the Senate’s oil-tax bill this morning, and it was clear they didn’t like it.
First up was ConocoPhillips Alaska. Bob Heinrich, its vice president for finance, said the Senate measure does almost nothing to reduce the state’s large share of the value of oil when prices are high. That means there’s less reason to invest in Alaska than another oil province where the company gets more of the benefit of high oil prices, he said.
After Heinrich and ConocoPhillips Alaska’s vice president of external affairs, a BP official, Damian Bilbao, head of finance for BP Exploration (Alaska), continued on the theme. He said the state’s current tax scheme, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), “does not work” and the senate’s current bill on the table, 192, wasn’t the “meaningful” tax change that would increase investment in the state.
Bilbao’s testimony was interrupted by a break for a Senate floor session and lunch, and he’ll resume at 1 p.m.
Many people were looking forward to testimony from the third industry giant in Alaska, Exxon. While BP and ConocoPhillips had both testified earlier on the bill, when it was heard in the Senate Resources Committee, Exxon only sent a letter. The company is due to testify this afternoon.