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My Turn: ACES is a bad hand

Posted: March 8, 2012 - 1:09am

Alaska continues to face a critical challenge because of our state’s oil production tax structure. Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) is impeding our competitiveness and putting our future in jeopardy. Our economic bedrock is at stake because our oil and gas industry is being severely crippled.

Our current tax structure greatly concerns me as the head of the largest Alaska-owned employer in the state. ASRC Energy Services (AES) is a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and we employ thousands of Alaskans, many of whom are in their early and mid-20s and many of whom are Alaska Native. These young people are the future leaders of our companies and our state. They want to know that their company, one that is a service provider to the oil and gas industry, is going to remain in business.

Lately, other states that welcome the oil industry are thriving while Alaska is failing to keep up. The professional jobs such as petroleum and drilling engineers, geologists, geophysicists, air permitters, field biologists, architects, cultural resource specialists, project managers, as well as high paying construction jobs for managers, builders, logistics managers, supply chain personnel, etc., and many businesses supporting the industry are headed south to more welcome climes. Our current tax system, that only took a few weeks to implement and seems next to impossible to change, is complex and uninviting to investment.

With oil prices more than $120 a barrel, and rising, Alaska has an opportunity, and an obligation, to position ourselves now and also for a prosperous future—a future that ensures both young and old are set with a viable pipeline and revenue from an industry that is sustainable. In order to accomplish this, our state government and our legislators need to put their heads together and meaningfully change and improve the tax structure this session to welcome growth.

As an Alaska-born Inupiaq, I resolve to give our youth a strong future. Together we must make our voices heard and get the message to our legislators who are making decisions on our behalf. Standing by and watching the pipeline, which employs thousands of Alaskans and supports countless businesses, continue to lag is unacceptable. Together, let’s send a clear message to Juneau—change ACES today. Taikuu Sunna.

• Kinneeveauk is the President/CEO of ASRC Energy Services (AES). AES is the largest Alaska-based oil and gas service company in the state, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.

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