Thursday, April 24, 2014

Norway, Petoro and this summer ...

As some readers know, for the past two summers the Institute of the North (ION) has sponsored policy-oriented "fact finding" missions to other Arctic nations in order to take a deeper dive into how they are addressing energy, economic and other issues commonly faced by northern countries.  The first year (2012), ION sponsored a mission to Norway, the second year (2013) to Iceland.

This year ION is sponsoring a mission to Finland, which promises to hi-light different issues and the approach being taken in other norther nations to address them.  The mission is June 15-20; ION explains the purpose this way:
In Finland, Alaska business, policy and community leaders will spend four days exploring Finland’s economic and resource development agenda, better understanding its position in the Arctic, and learning more about issues ranging from icebreakers to education. Not only will Alaska leaders have an opportunity to learn about what Finland is doing right, but the group will be able to share Alaska’s lessons with those they meet along the way and bring back to the state the results of those conversations.
I participated in the first mission, to Norway, and can personally attest to the value the insights from these missions bring.

In light of recent events in Alaska, ION recently has enhanced this year's tour even further, by adding an additional stop back in Norway on June 20, the last day of the mission.  The purpose of this stop is to meet with Petoro, the Norwegian state owned oil company that participates as a co-working interest owner/investor in all of the country's oil and gas fields.

As readers of these pages will know I believe strongly that Petoro's success offers significant lessons of use to Alaska.  Those potential lessons have been made even more relevant with the passage this year of SB 138, the Governor's proposal for the state to participate as an owner (well, at least an owner of parts) of the Alaska LNG project.  As did the meetings with other parts of the Norwegian oil and gas sector (state and private) during the first mission to Norway, I anticipate the meeting with Petoro will provide significant insights into the manner in which a government which owns the resource can play a significant and helpful role in the development of that resource.

I understand from Nils Andreassen, ION's Executive Director, that some slots remain for those interested on the Finland mission.  Nils' contact information is here.  I have a preexisting commitment earlier in the week, but believe that this opportunity is so important I will be joining for the meeting with Petoro.