The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Salazar: Energy Development Studies in Alaskan Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 14, 2010

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that government scientists have until Oct. 1 to gather environmental, ecological and technical data to inform decisions on oil and natural gas development in the Alaskan Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

This news comes after the administration announced that many Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease sales under the current (2007-2012) five-year plan will be canceled and no additional leases will be offered until additional scientific data is collected.

This summer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists will complete a review of Beaufort and Chukchi Sea information and look for knowledge gaps. Three exploratory wells expected to be drilled by Shell on existing Chukchi Sea leases will provide additional data.

Meanwhile, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) will hold public meetings on potential leasing of Arctic offshore areas under a new leasing program expected to start in 2012.

According to an Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) alert, increased energy development in Alaska could trigger very significant economic benefits:

  • Full development of Alaska's offshore resources could increase economic output (GSP) by $3.3 billion annually.
  • Offshore drilling could create 11,242 long-term, well paying Alaskan jobs over the next seven years - every job associated with offshore drilling earns above average wages, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
  • Investment in oil exploration could generate $292 million in additional tax revenue annually, which could be used to pay down Alaska's $1.3 billion deficit.

The oil and natural gas industry has a proven track record of developing energy resources in an environmental sound way. Read more information about how the industry works to achieve a harmonious relationship with the environment and surrounding wildlife.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.