The two-day Industry Outlook Forum wrapped up Friday in Homer but not without a “virtual” visit from Alaska’s Congressional delegation. All three members of the delegation recorded video messages to be played Thursday at the forum– and all three had messages focused on energy development.
Congressman Don Young told forum attendees that most important issue they would face in the coming years is the development of oil and gas in and around Cook Inlet.
"I know there's a lot more energy ... in the area," said Young. "We have to ... continue to encourage and provide incentives to develop it for the good of all Alaska."
Young said he is concerned by recent reports of a looming shortage of Cook Inlet gas and the effect that might have on the broader gas network in Southcentral Alaska.
On a national level, Young said he could use some help from Alaskans convincing the rest of the country – including President Barack Obama – that fossil fuels are still important.
Senator Lisa Murkowski focused her remarks on the long-sought possibility of a large-diameter natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater. Murkowski said she had just returned from a visit to Japan and Taiwan, where she encountered support for the concept of shipping Alaska gas to the Asian markets.
"I think we all recognize that ... an LNG project would be the most economic way to meet Southcentral Alaska's energy needs."
Murkowski reminded forum-goers that she is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and natural Resources Committee and was thus in a position to make sure Washington is “ready to move” on an LNG export project in Alaska.
Senator Mark Begich also taped a video message for the forum, although technical problems prevented it from being played.
In his message, Begich also focused on Alaska’s oil and gas industry. He said he was frustrated by the recent grounding of the Shell drilling rig Kulluk but is still confident that drilling in Alaska’s Arctic could still be done responsibly.
The two-day Industry Oultlook Forum – held at Lands End Resort in Homer – concluded Friday.