The Alaska Supreme Court has reaffirmed a lower court ruling that set the 2006 value of the Trans-Alaska pipeline for tax purposes at nearly $10 billion.
Oil companies had argued the 800-mile pipeline and terminal facilities should be assessed at $850 million, based on the tariffs collected. At the lower value, the property taxes that producers pay to cities like Fairbanks and Valdez would be dramatically reduced.
The Supreme Court found that tariff income isn’t the only value derived from the pipeline. The court says the pipeline’s worth also comes from its ability to transport billions of barrels of oil from the North Slope.
While Wednesday’s decision concerns only the 2006 assessment, oil companies have made similar arguments over the pipeline’s worth for other tax years.