By Gretchen Wehmhoff

Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed Skagway resident Sam Bass to the Alaska Royalty Oil & Gas Development Advisory Board earlier this month. Bass is a current member of the Skagway Assembly.

Bass spent 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard (USGS), many of them managing operations from Ketchikan to Yakutat, specifically rescue operations. He served with the as an operations manager in Valdez at the terminus of the TransAlaska Pipeline where his job working with maritime groups in the area included riding oil tankers in and out of the harbor to better understand the transit operations for the ships.

“We were trying to get a really good picture of what we were trying to support,” Bass said.

It was during this time in Valdez he became intrigued with the system of oil as a unique funding process for Alaska. When the vacancy appeared on the state board, he applied.

The advisory board reviews contracts for bids in the royalty in kind process where oil companies present the oil to the state and the state sells the oil. The panel is considered the citizens advisory step between the Department of Natural Resources Commissioner and the legislature. 

“The advisory board looks at the contracts and tries to determine what’s the best for Alaska.  Who should we sell this oil to,” Bass said.  

His five-year term will expire in 2027. By that time, he hopes to have become more experienced and proficient in the oil royalty processes and related areas. He says he continues to learn about how Alaska runs – his time on the assembly included.

“I’ve learned so much on the assembly in Skagway, and I hope to learn more.”