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Oil and Gas Production Tax
Historical Overview

AS 43.55


Alaska levies an annual tax on oil and gas produced in the state. The tax is based on the net value of oil and gas, which is the value at the point of production multiplied by the taxable volume, less all lease expenditures allowed under AS 43.55.165. Lease expenditures include certain qualified capital and operating expenditures. The most recent major change to the tax was in Senate Bill 21, passed in 2013 and effective Jan. 1, 2014.

For fiscal year 2015, the production tax rate as revised by SB 21, was 35% of the production tax value of the oil and gas. Tax rates for oil and gas produced from the Cook Inlet are effectively capped at the rate that was imposed on oil and gas produced from each lease or property during the period April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006. Tax rates for North Slope Gas Used in State are capped at 17.7 cents per Mcf.


Taxpayers are required to report all values, volumes, transportation costs, expenditures, and credits used to calculate their estimated monthly installment payments in the monthly report. The monthly reports are due the last day of the month following the month of activity. Annually, on March 31, taxpayers submit an annual tax return that also “trues up” any tax liabilities or overpayments made throughout the year.


The tax on oil and gas is levied on all production except for state and federal royalty production. Oil and gas used on a lease or property for drilling, production, or repressuring is not taxed.


The following credits are available for use against the liability of this specific tax: Exploration Incentive, Assignable Exploration Incentive, Education, Qualified Capital Expenditure, Well Lease Expenditure, Carried-Forward Annual Loss, Transitional Investment Expenditure, New Area Development, Small Producer, Alternative Credit for Exploration, and Cook Inlet Jack-Up Rig Tax Credits. Some of these credits may also be redeemed by the State of Alaska for cash. For specific information concerning these credits, see the Description of Credits section.

Disposition of Revenue

All revenue derived from the oil and gas production tax is deposited in the General Fund, except that payments received as a consequence of an assessment or litigation are deposited in the Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund (CBRF).


1955 – The Territorial Legislature enacts an oil and gas production tax of 1% of production value.

1967 – A 1% disaster production tax is enacted to provide relief after the Fairbanks flood.

1968 – The Alaska Legislature increases oil and gas production tax from 1% to 3% of production value.

1970 – The Legislature repealed the disaster oil and gas production tax. The Legislature changes the oil production tax to a graduated tax with rates of 3% on the first 300 barrels per day per well, 5% on the next 700 barrels per day per well, 6% on the next 1,500 barrels per day per well and 8% on production exceeding 2,500 barrels per day per well.

1972 – The Legislature establishes a minimum oil production tax based on “cents per barrel” equivalent to percent of value tax on oil with wellhead value of $2.65 per barrel.

1973 – The Legislature revises the “stair step” rate schedule to lower production levels. The Legislature indexes the cents per barrel minimum to the wholesale price index for crude oil published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1977 – The Legislature raises the nominal gas production tax rate to 10%. The Legislature raises the nominal oil production tax rate to 12.25% and adopts the oil and gas economic limit factors.

1981 – As part of legislation that repealed the separate accounting oil and gas corporation income tax, the nominal tax rate on oil produced prior to 1981 was raised to 15% and fields coming into production after 1981 are taxed at 12.25% for five years after which the rate increases to 15%. The oil economic limit factor is now subject to a rounding rule so that if the calculated factor is greater than or equal to 0.7 during the first 10 years of production, the factor is set to 1.0.

1989 – The Legislature changes the economic limit factor for oil production taxes to include a field size factor in the formula, fixes the production at the economic limit (not rebuttable) at 300 barrels per well per day, and drops the rounding rule. The Legislature fixes production at the economic limit for gas production at 3,000 mcf per well per day.

2002 – The Legislature authorized credits of up to 50% for contributions of not more than $100,000 and 75% of the next $100,000 in contributions made to the Alaska Veterans’ Memorial Endowment Fund. The tax credit expired July 1, 2003.

2003 – To encourage drilling for oil and gas within the state, AS 43.55.025 provided a new tax credit for exploration costs. The minimum credit is 20% and the maximum 40% for qualified expenditures.

2005 – Prudhoe Bay area oil fields are aggregated for purposes of calculating the economic limit factor, effective Feb. 1, 2005.

To expand the tax credit for exploration enacted the previous year, the deadline was extended until July 1, 2010, for qualifying work south of the Brooks Range (for instance, non-North Slope). New rules also changed the 3-mile and 25-mile rules for the Cook Inlet allowing closer distances between potential exploration targets and existing wells and production units.

The Legislature extended and amended the requirements applicable to the credit that may be claimed for certain oil and gas exploration expenses incurred in Cook Inlet against oil and gas production taxes. This legislation also amended the credit against those taxes for certain exploration expenditures from leases or properties in the state. The legislation was signed into law July 21, 2005, with an immediate effective date.

2006 – In August 2006, legislation was passed during a special session that made sweeping revisions to the oil and gas production tax. The Petroleum Production Tax (PPT) established new tax rates on oil and gas production; repealed the economic limit factor; and provided numerous credits for certain qualifying expenditures and taxpayers.

2007 – The Legislature amended PPT legislation in a special session that ended in November 2007. Like the PPT legislation enacted in 2006, the ACES tax is levied on the production tax value of oil and gas produced in the state. The base tax rate under ACES is 25% (it was 22.5% under PPT) and the progressive surcharge tax rate under ACES is 0.4% for every dollar the production tax value per barrel exceeds $30 (it was 0.25% on production tax values exceeding $40 per barrel under PPT). For production tax values greater than $92.50 per barrel, the progressivity rate changes to 0.1% for every additional dollar of production tax value.

2008 – The Legislature amended the Education Credit provisions to include cash contributions accepted for secondary-level vocational courses and programs by a school district in Alaska and by a state-operated vocational technical education and training school.

The Alternative Credit for Exploration was increased from 20% to 30% for certain projects, and an oil and gas tax credit fund was established for the cash purchases of tax credit certificates.

2010 – The Legislature amended the alternative tax credit provisions to add tax credits for drilling exploration wells using a jack-up rig in the Cook Inlet. The first three unaffiliated persons drilling wells that penetrate and evaluate prospects in the pre-Tertiary zone are entitled to credits of 100%, 90% or 80%, respectively, of the first $25 million of exploration expenditures. Other changes include a new 40% tax credit for well lease expenditures incurred south of 68 degrees north latitude, elimination of the splitting of tax credits for lease expenditures incurred in the state south of 68 degrees north latitude after June 30, 2010, and elimination of the future investment requirement for the purchase of transferable tax credit certificates by the state.

The Legislature amended the Education Credit by increasing the maximum credit allowed from $150,000 to $5 million effective Jan. 1, 2011. In addition, the Legislature expanded contributions eligible for the credit to include contributions made for construction and maintenance of facilities by state-operated vocational education schools and two- or four-year colleges. The increase in the credit from $150,000 to $5 million expires Dec. 31, 2013. The maximum credit allowed was to revert to $150,000 on Jan. 1, 2014. That date was extended in 2011 (see below).

2011 – The Legislature enacted legislation extending the date that the $5 million annual Education Credit limit expires from Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2021. It is then scheduled to return to $150,000. In addition, the Legislature expanded contributions eligible for the credit to include contributions made after June 30, 2011, to annual intercollegiate sports tournaments, Alaska Native cultural or heritage programs for public school staff and students, and a facility in the state that qualifies as a coastal ecosystem learning center under the Coastal American Partnership.

2012 – The Legislature enacted legislation that established a Corporate Income Tax Credit for a liquefied natural gas storage facility to be paid out of the Oil and Gas Credit fund. Also, it established a limitation on tax for oil and gas produced from leases or properties outside the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin that do not include land north of 68 degrees north latitude. The tax limitation is set to expire in 2022. Further, Exploration Tax Credits were established for drilling of exploration wells and seismic exploration expenditures in specific areas. These are referred to as the Middle Earth Basin Credits.

2013 – On May 21, 2013, SB 21 was signed into law. Major provisions of this law are:

  • The production tax rate amended to 35% of the annual PTV in AS 43.55.011(e), and eliminates the progressivity index under AS 43.55.011(g) effective Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Established AS 43.55.160(f), which defined production subject to the grow value reduction (GVR). The GVR is 20% of the Gross Value at the Point of Production (GVPP) for production that qualifies.

  • Establishes AS 43.55.160(g), which is an additional 10% reduction in GVPP for lease or properties qualifying under AS 43.55.160(f), which all leases have greater than a 12.5% royalty.

  • Amends Qualified Capital Expenditure (QCE) Credits for the area north of 68 degrees north latitude. The law eliminates credits for QCEs incurred after Dec. 21, 2013; however, QCE Credits for expenditures incurred south of 68 degrees north latitude remain. Amends qualified capital expenditures incurred south of 68 degrees north latitude are allowed to remain.

  • Changed the timing of applicability of credits so that 100% of credits based on expenditures incurred north of 68 degrees north latitude after Jan. 1, 2013, are available for immediate use.

  • Carry-Forward Annual Loss Credits incurred north of 68 degrees north latitude increase to 45% of excess lease expenditures beginning Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2015, and decrease to 35% of excess lease expenditures beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The credit for annual losses incurred south of 68 degrees north latitude remains at 25%.

  • Establishes new non-transferable tax credits based on oil production for lease or properties north of 68 degrees north latitude beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Under AS 43.55.024(i), established a $5 per barrel credit for oil that qualifies for the GVR under AS 43.55.160(f). The credit ranges from $8 to $0 based on the average GVPP per barrel each month.

  • Extended the sunset date for the Alternative Tax Credit for Oil and Gas Exploration from July 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2022, in AS 43.55.025(b) for exploration wells drilled outside of the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin and south of 68 degrees north latitude. This extension does not apply to the Basin Credits for exploration wells in AS 43.55.025(m) or the Basin Credits for seismic exploration in AS 43.55.025(n).

  • Extends the sunset of the tax limitation on production from leases or properties outside of the Cook Inlet Sedimentary Basin and do not include land that is north of 68 degrees north latitude in AS 43.55.011(p) from 2022 to 2027.

  • Reduces the interest on delinquent tax liabilities from 11 percentage points above to 3 percentage points above the rate charged member banks in the 12th Federal Reserve District, and interest is no longer compounded quarterly.

2014 – The Legislature passed SB 138, which is the enabling legislation to allow the State of Alaska to participate as an equity owner in the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (AKLNG) project. The goal of AKLNG is to commercialize North Slope natural gas reserves from the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson fields. Among the goals of AKLNG is for the state to receive its royalty gas in kind (RIK) and production tax as gas (TAG) in lieu of receiving royalty and tax payments from the producers supplying the gas to the project. The determination to receive the gas molecules in lieu of cash is subject to a best interest finding. The intent is that the state will receive an amount of gas that is commensurate with its equity ownership in AKLNG infrastructure. AKLNG infrastructure includes a gas treatment plant (GTP) located on the North Slope, an 800-mile natural gas pipeline and a natural gas liquefaction facility located in Nikiski. As an equity owner, and a recipient of the RIK and TAG, the State of Alaska will bear the burden of marketing and monetizing its portion of the gas. The legislation includes several changes to the oil and gas production tax statutes, which take effect on and after Jan. 1, 2022. A summary of the significant changes are:

  • The production tax for gas produced on and after Jan. 1, 2022, is equal to 13% of the gross value at the point of production of the taxable gas.

  • The production tax on oil produced on and after Jan. 1, 2022, is 35% of the annual production tax value of the taxable oil. The production tax value of the oil taxable under AS 43.55.011(e)(3) includes the producer’s lease expenditures under AS 43.55.165 for the calendar year incurred to explore for, develop, or produce oil and gas deposits in the state that includes land north of 68 degrees north latitude as adjusted under AS 43.55.170.

  • The minimum tax will only be applicable to oil produced on and after Jan. 1, 2022, from leases or properties that include land north of 68 degrees north latitude.

  • For gas produced on and after Jan. 1, 2022, a producer may make an election to pay the production tax as gas (TAG) for gas produced from oil and gas leases modified under AS 38.05.180(hh) in lieu of the tax otherwise levied for the gas by AS 43.55.011(e).