The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing Alaska

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 31, 2016

Alaska represents a major part of America’s energy past, present and future. North Slope oil production – accounting for more than 95 percent of Alaska’s overall output – and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that connects the oil fields with Valdez in the south were and are critically important to our country’s energy security.

alaskaClick on the thumbnail to view a two-page energy infographic for the state known as The Last Frontier.

To ensure America’s future energy security, it’s imperative that Arctic oil and natural gas production in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska’s northern coast be included in the United States’ strategic energy planning.

According to federal estimates, economically recoverable oil and gas in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf and in unexplored portions of Alaska could total more than 35 billion barrels of oil and 137 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That energy is vital to future U.S. security and prosperity. From a 2015 National Petroleum Council report:

The United States has large offshore oil potential, similar to Russia and larger than Canada and Norway. Facilitating exploration in the U.S. Arctic would enhance national, economic, and energy security, benefit the people of the north and the United States as a whole, and position the United States to exercise global leadership.

Currently, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is in the final stages of preparing the next five-year offshore leasing program that will be the blueprint for offshore development in the 2017-2022 time frame. Arctic lease sales, which were contained in the program’s draft version, should be included in the final version as well.

As for Alaska’s energy use, natural gas accounted for 55 percent of the energy the state consumed in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last year, natural gas was the state’s leading fuel for net electricity generation, accounting for 48 percent of power generation.

For decades Alaskans have seen their state grow along with energy production. They know the importance of pro-growth energy policies – 73 percent supported Arctic offshore development in a 2014 survey.

Nationally, we need policies that foster oil and natural gas development, policies that are consistent with America’s global leadership in oil and gas production. Page 2 of the Alaska infographic contains a chart showing the benefits of a pro-development approach – energy, jobs, economic growth and household savings – as well as the potential negative impacts of policies characterized by regulatory constraints.

Energy is essential for virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It powers national, state and local economies, gets us to work and goes into products we rely on for health and comfort. Safe, responsible energy development here at home is linked to national security as well as Americans’ individual prosperity and liberty – in Alaska and all the 50 states of energy.


Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.