BLUE CREST WAITING ON $90 MILLION
By ELWOOD BREHMER
ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE
A pair of small companies working in Cook Inlet are trying to overcome funding shortfalls stemming from the State of Alaska not yet making good on promised tax credit refunds.
BlueCrest CEO Benjamin Johnson said in a prior interview with the Journal that the state owes his company roughly $90 million in tax credits for drilling and development work done at its Cosmopolitan oil project before legislation passed to kill the tax credit program July 1. The state has paid BlueCrest $27 million for its refundable tax credits since the company purchased the “Cosmo” project in 2012, according to Johnson.
BlueCrest is the sole owner and operator of the Cosmo oil project on the edge of the Inlet near Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula.
He said in August the company hoped it would have to pause its drilling program only for a month or two after a well was finished in September, if private financing could be secured.
Oil industry backers have roundly criticized Gov. Bill Walker for vetoing $630 million worth of appropriations in 2015 and 2016 to pay the industry tax credits. Walker has been steadfast in his assertion that the state cannot afford to make the large credit payments while still in the midst of $2.5 billion-plus annual budget deficits.
On the other hand, the governor has also insisted he would like to see the state pay down on the obligation as soon as the Legislature passes fiscal reforms to balance the state budget. Walker’s original fiscal plan proposed in early 2016 included $1 billion to pay off the credits entirely.