Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during an interview with the Juneau Empire at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during an interview with the Juneau Empire at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy hopes to promote state’s resources at major oil conference

Trip fits with governor’s business-minded priorities

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Friday that he doesn’t travel out of state often, but he’s willing to make an exception if he can potentially help Alaska’s economy.

Next week, Dunleavy is heading to a major oil conference called CERA (which stands for Cambridge Energy Research Associates) Week, he announced in a press conference Friday. There, he and other high-ranking state officials will meet with oil executives, experts and government officials to stoke interest in Alaska’s oil fields.

“This is where Alaska should be,” Dunleavy said. “At this table.”

Dunleavy said the conference, which takes place in Houston, will allow him to discuss Alaska’s oil fields, pipeline, proximity to Asia and other aspects of the state’s potential to still be a power in the oil world.

“We were once the supergiant in this part of the world and we want to let folks know that we still have tremendous opportunities in Alaska,” Dunleavy said. “This is part of my thrust to make Alaska open for business. Oil certainly is a bedrock, a cornerstone of our economy and I think this is a real opportunity.”

This will be Dunleavy’s second out-of-state trip while in office, as he went to Washington, D.C. in December.

[Volatile oil market prompts conservative forecasts]

Along with Dunleavy will be Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources Corri Feige, the governor’s Senior Policy Advisor Brett Huber and DNR Deputy Commissioner Sara Longan, according to a press release Friday.

Some oil experts are optimistic about Alaska’s oil future.

In August 2018, research firm IHS Markit labeled Alaska’s North Slope as a “super basin,” and estimated that crude oil output could increase by as much as 40 percent in the next eight years. Even before that, bullish ConocoPhillips officials were declaring an “exploration renaissance” for North Slope oil.

He said he hopes the Alaska Legislature makes progress in analyzing and taking action on his proposed budget and bills while he’s gone. One of the aspects of the state he hopes to market in Houston, he said, is the fiscal plan he’s proposed for the state.

Dunleavy said he didn’t take a trip with state money while he was a state senator, and that he’d prefer to remain here in the state.

“I don’t really like to travel,” Dunleavy said. “I’d rather be home here in Alaska, but this is an opportunity that we can’t pass up.”

A social media post with a picture of Dunleavy traveling first class on a flight made the rounds this past weekend, but it’s not clear how Dunleavy will travel as he goes to Houston. When asked about the post and Dunleavy’s travel arrangements, Dunleavy Press Secretary Matt Shuckerow said via email Friday that for security reasons, the governor’s specific travel plans would not be made public.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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