Conoco wants tax cuts in Alaska even as profits grow

The Anchorage Daily NewsJanuary 27, 2011 

JUNEAU — Conoco Phillips on Wednesday announced its profits from Alaska grew to $1.74 billion last year, even as oil production declined. The same day the company argued to the Alaska AFL-CIO and state legislators that oil taxes need to be cut so more oil can be produced.

"I think Alaska is at a point it has to decide: Do we want to try to do something to incentivize and mitigate that production decline or not?" said Wendy King, Conoco's vice president for external affairs.

King and Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski, who defends the oil tax, argued their positions at a forum held by the Alaska AFL-CIO at the Baranof Hotel in Juneau. Several legislators of both parties showed up to the first forum on the issue to be held during a 90-day session of the Alaska Legislature that's expected to be dominated by debates over the oil tax.

Oil money built the Alaska Permanent Fund, accounts for about a third of the jobs in the state, and provides for 80 to 90 percent of general state government revenue, King reminded the audience. She said Alaska needs the long decline in North Slope production to be at least slowed.

Conoco is Alaska's biggest oil producer, and biggest taxpayer.

"In Alaska we have not drilled an exploration well for two years in a row ... the first time since 1965 that Conoco Phillips had not drilled an exploration well in the state of Alaska," King said.

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