Survey shows significant increase in Alaska’s energy resources

By Staff | January 02, 2018

A new resource assessment for the state of Alaska shows a major increase in the state’s recoverable energy resources from onshore and offshore federal, state and native lands.

The undiscovered and technically recoverable resources include 17.6 billion barrels of oil and more than 50 trillion cubic feet of gas. The assessment was conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “New discoveries have changed our geologic knowledge of the area—and these assessments show that the North Slope will remain an important energy hub for decades to come in order to meet the energy needs of our nation."

Onshore, USGS estimates a mean of 8.7 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of gas. This is a significant increase from the 2010 resource assessment, which estimated a mean of 1.5 billion barrels of oil.

Offshore, BOEM’s revised estimates of mean undiscovered technically recoverable resources in the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf Planning Area are 8.9 billion barrels of oil and 27.7 trillion cubic feet of gas. BOEM’s updated assessment resulted in a net increase of nearly 700 million barrels of oil equivalent over BOEM’s 2016 Beaufort Sea Planning Area assessment.

The latest Alaska assessment is for undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources. Undiscovered resources are those that are estimated to exist based on geologic knowledge and theory, while technically recoverable resources are those that can be produced using currently available technology and industry practices.

Zinke called the new Alaska assessment a major step toward achieving American energy dominance, a goal of the Trump administration.

“Thanks to the incredible work of scientists at the USGS and BOEM, we know what’s available and what our potential is,” Zinke said. “That’s important because with the scientific knowledge, industry partners are more willing to explore the area.”

The USGS, BLM and BOEM conducted the assessments in compliance with Secretarial Order 3352 and as part of a program directed at estimating the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins in the U.S.