The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing Alaska

Reid Porter

Reid Porter
Posted July 30, 2015

Our series highlighting the economic and jobs impact of energy in each of the 50 states continues today with Alaska. We started the week with a look at North Dakota. All information covered in this series can be found online here, arranged on an interactive map of the United States. State-specific information across the country will be populated on this map as the series continues.

As we can see with Alaska, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.

Alaska state energy informationClick on the thumbnail to bring up a two-page snapshot of energy’s benefits to Alaska.

Looking at the topline numbers over the years, energy is critically important to Alaska, serving as a key engine for the state economy – expanding job opportunities and offering the hope of prosperity to individual Alaskans and their families.

More than 100,000 jobs in Alaska, 33 percent of employment in the state, were supported by the oil and natural gas industry as of 2013 and more than $6 billion was contributed to the state’s labor income in 2013, according to a McDowell Group study issued in 2014 published by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. In 2011, more than $19 billion was added to the state economy, according to a PwC study issued in 2013.

Page 2 of the document highlights that, as Alaska did in during the nation’s time of need in the 1970s, the state’s energy resources offer the U.S. an opportunity to increase our domestic oil supply. Given the global market opportunities for the future, the value of the possible contribution to enhancing U.S. energy security is extraordinary. But today the opportunity is not being seized, but forgone.

No other undeveloped energy basin in the U.S. can match the amount of oil and natural gas we can produce in the Arctic. Government estimates of economically recoverable oil and natural gas in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf and in unexplored portions of Alaska are 35-36 billion barrels of oil and 137 trillion cubic feet of gas. The Chukchi Sea was last estimated by the federal government in 2006 to contain 15.38 billion barrels of oil, 76.77 trillion cubic feet of gas, or a total of 29.04 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Development of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas could generate as many as 50,000 jobs, according to a 2011 study by the Anchorage firm Northern Economics. Industry has the experience and knowhow to responsibly develop these resources. The long lead times for exploration and development work coupled with the time required for government approvals mean we must start working now to realize the benefits of Arctic energy in decades to come.

For more information, please visit the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas website that includes maps of operating areas, production and revenue data, leasing requirements, oil and gas regulations, and other information.

The future benefits of energy for Alaska – and the rest of the country – largely depend on national decisions on the country’s energy path. A new Wood Mackenzie study contrasts the benefits that a set of pro-development policies could have on energy supplies, jobs, the economy and American households with the likely negative effects on energy of regulatory constrained policies. The key comparisons are found on the first page of the linked document.

Energy is essential for all facets of our daily lives, from powering national, state and local economies to powering the family vehicle. Safe, responsible development of domestic oil and natural gas resources is linked to individual prosperity, energy security and basic liberties.


Reid Porter is a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute. Before joining API, he worked as Account Supervisor at Edelman. Porter double majored in English Literature and the Spanish language at Middlebury College in Vermont. He enjoys traveling, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, soccer, rereading Hemingway novels and spending time with family.