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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.