Production off; price better than forecast

Alaska oil and gas production averaged 502,000 barrels per day in Fiscal Year 2015, the state’s budget year that ended June 30, according to preliminary data compiled by the state Department of Revenue.

That is less than the 508,000 barrels per day average predicted in the spring, 2015 production forecast update but Revenue officials expect the average to be adjusted upward in mid-August when the final numbers are calculated, according to Ken Alper, director of the department’s Tax Division.

“Historically, our average production adjusts upwards by a few thousand barrels (per day) over the preliminary estimate, so I would be reluctant to read anything into the difference with the spring forecast at this point. We will have final figures in about a month,” Alper said.

Meanwhile, the average price paid for North Slope oil was $72.90 per barrel for the fiscal year ending June 30, greater than the estimate of $67.49 per barrel in the spring revenue forecast update, he said.

The state finished the 2015 fiscal year with a deficit of $2.7 billion.

“We’re more certain about the preliminary price figures (for the fiscal year average) at this early date. We believe the final average price, once we have all the details, will be within a few cents,” of the preliminary average of $72.90 per barrel, Alper said.