THE BLOG

Big Oil: Ballyhooed Alaska tax cut may not yield new production

08/20/2013 01:07 am ET | Updated Oct 19, 2013

The tax cut that was supposed to yield increased oil production may not.

Alaska Senate Bill 21 -- the controversial tax break for oil companies doing business in Alaska -- passed the Legislature months ago and was signed into law this summer by Gov. Sean Parnell. But oil producers and the state are still wrangling over details in a little-watched debate with potentially enormous outcomes.

At issue is a key question left unresolved by the powerful Republican majority that powered the massive oil-tax cut through the Alaska Legislature: How to accurately determine and measure new oil?

It's a critical matter for Alaska, which in recent months has begun dipping into its savings. Senate Bill 21, set to become effective Jan. 1, gives hundreds of millions of dollars a year back to the producers -- primarily BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp.