what’s the deal w/ Palin taxing the crap out of the oil co’s to drill in Alaska? Anyone have the skinny on that?
Yeah that is a bit troubling. It's not so much a tax as it is a "cut" in the deal. I think the rumor is that Alaksa takes 75% of the value of a barrel of oil. Don't take my word on it. I am not sure.
FWIW this is from an article on the new Alaska windfall profits taxes on oil production, which is forcing oil and gas companies (according to the companies) to cut back on new exploration in Alaska:
Things worked out far differently in the GOP stronghold of Alaska, a state whose economic fate is closely tied to the oil industry. Over the opposition of oil companies, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Alaska’s Legislature last year approved a major increase in taxes on the oil industry - a step that has generated stunning new wealth for the state as oil prices soared.
At a time when Americans are feeling the pinch at the gasoline pump and oil companies are racking up record profits, Alaska’s choice foreshadows one of the sharpest debates in the upcoming presidential election.
Democrat Barack Obama supports a national windfall-profits tax, while Republican John McCain opposes it.
Alaska collected an estimated $6 billion from the new tax during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. That helped push the state’s total oil revenue - from new and existing taxes, as well as royalties - to more than $10 billion, double the amount received last year.
While many other states are confronting big budget deficits because of the troubled economy, Alaska officials are in the enviable position of exploring new ways to spend the state’s multibillion-dollar budget surplus.
Some of that new cash will end up in the wallets of Alaska’s residents.
Palin’s administration this week gained legislative approval for a special $1,200 payment to every Alaskan to help cope with gas prices, which are among the highest in the country.
That check will come on top of the annual dividend of about $2,000 that each resident could receive this year from an oil- wealth savings account.
State Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat who supported the windfall tax, said the oil companies “ ... were literally printing money on the North Slope. We decided to strike the balance a little bit more on our side.”
The industry, however, warns new taxes are already discouraging future exploration and development in newer, more expensive projects needed to boost waning production in Alaska’s oil patches. “Clearly, from the investor standpoint, Alaska has become a less attractive place to invest exploration and production dollars,” said Marilyn Crockett, executive director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.
The Alaska tax is imposed on the net profit earned on each barrel of oil pumped from state-owned land, after deducting costs for production and transportation, which are currently estimated at just under $25 a barrel.
The tax is set at its highest rate in Prudhoe Bay, where the state takes 25 percent of the net profit of a barrel when its price is at or below $52.
The percentage then escalates as oil prices rise over that benchmark. Alaska gets about $49 of a $120 barrel, not counting other fees.
ConocoPhillips said that in total, once royalty payments and other taxes are added in, the state captures about 75 percent of the value of a barrel.
An accounting benefit eases the sting for oil companies. They get a huge deduction on their state taxes when calculating their federal taxes.
Still, oil-industry officials contend the tax already has affected investment decisions.
BP Alaska, which runs Prudhoe Bay, said earlier this year that it had delayed the development in the western region of the North Slope as a result of the tax. ConocoPhillips cited the same reason for scrapping a $300 million refinery project.
“What the tax has done is take away all the upside,” said Doug Suttles, president of BP Alaska. The U.K.-based oil company paid more than $500 million in taxes to Alaska last quarter - far more than it earned in profits from Alaskan oil, according to Suttles.
Investment dollars are flowing instead to places that have a better return, like the massive deep-water projects offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where ConocoPhillips said the government take equals less than 50 percent of the barrel.