The warmest winter on record in Arctic Alaska has hit local oil production, said officials from the U.S. state, as temperatures hampered industrial machinery designed to optimize output when conditions are most frigid. Production of the North Slope grade of crude oil has averaged about 518,000 barrels per day (bpd) through the current fiscal year, down from the approximately 533,000 bpd predicted last fall, state Revenue Commissioner Sheldon Fisher told state lawmakers on Monday. Warmer temperatures are largely to blame for that drop, Fisher said. “Overall the weather has been warmer in this winter,” Fisher told the state Senate’s finance committee. “We actually do better when the winter is colder. The equipment operates better and they’re able to accomplish more with colder weather.” Temperature-related declines in production were most pronounced at the giant Prudhoe Bay field, which is particularly sensitive to temperature changes, Dan Stickel, […]