Resource Development Council

RDC Testimony:
Point Thomson Settlement Hearing

Testimony of Rick Rogers, Executive Director
June 12, 2012
LIO, Anchorage, AK

Chairman French and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this afternoon on the Point Thompson Settlement.

For the record my name is Rick Rogers, I am the Executive Director of the Resource Development Council for Alaska (RDC). RDC is grateful that the administration and the leaseholders at Pt. Thompson have come to a mutually beneficial agreement to settle the contentions litigation and move forward in monetizing Pt. Thompson resources.

I am neither qualified nor willing to weigh in on the complex legal and technical aspects of the settlement and the potential development scenarios for Pt. Thompson. RDC has not taken a position for or against either party over the course of this long-standing legal dispute.

That said, the commercial dispute over the lease terms at Pt. Thompson has been a significant barrier to moving forward to monetize north-slope gas for the benefit of Alaskans. As a State we have huge and immediate challenges before us including reversing the TAPS throughput decline, increasing employment opportunities for Alaskans, and adapting quickly to changing global markets for our stranded natural gas.

The Point Thompson Settlement includes firm timelines and work commitments with significant consequences including acreage relinquishment for failure to perform. The Settlement recognizes the technical challenges of the field and provides needed flexibility to ensure a viable commercial opportunity to monetize Pt. Thompson resources. Even critics of the agreement have changed their view over time regarding the best way to develop Pt. Thompson gas. It is sensible that the agreement acknowledges uncertainties and provides for alternative development scenarios.

ExxonMobil, along with the other leaseholders are among the best-capitalized and technically capable companies in the world. A project of the magnitude of monetizing Point Thompson oil and gas resources requires such an operator. We will never know whether the State would have prevailed in the Pt. Thompson lease dispute. Even if the State prevailed years down the road, how closer would that put us to monetizing Pt. Thompson resources? RDC applauds the administration and the leaseholders for forging this agreement so Alaska can move forward in the shared goal of monetizing North Slope gas. Many technical, economic and regulatory challenges remain, but at least now we have alignment on the disposition of the Pt. Thompson leases and a way forward.

Thank-you for your public service and for the opportunity to comment.