The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

100 Days: Access to Arctic Energy Key to U.S. Security

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 20, 2017

The enormity of Alaska’s energy potential – onshore and offshore – may be difficult for most Americans to fully grasp. Consider:


Two points. First, by their sheer size, Alaska’s oil and natural gas reserves are strategically vital to U.S. energy security. Second, all of the above is just an academic exercise without access to develop those reserves. With new leadership and a new view of U.S. energy in Washington, there is great opportunity. It will require changing a number of policies and clearing away obstacles to safe and technologically sound development. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska:

“To forsake Alaska oil and gas will be to forsake America’s energy security in a world that is using more energy, not less. It will leave us an economic and environmental disadvantage. … It will result in fewer jobs created here at home, fewer dollars staying within our economy, less affordable energy for our families and businesses and less influence for our nation on the world stage.”

Alaskans overwhelmingly support Arctic development (76 percent), according to a survey conducted last fall. Among self-identified Native respondents, 72 percent said they support offshore resource development, and 79 percent said they believe their opinions on the issue should matter most. Richard Glenn, executive vice president for Lands and Natural Resources of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which represents the business interests of about 12,000 Arctic Slope Iñupiat, in congressional testimony:

“The development of Arctic oil and gas resources provides our communities with the means to preserve our traditional way of life and culture while also allowing our residents to enjoy a greater quality of life. Put another way, our communities cannot survive without continued resource development in our region.”

Time must not be wasted. Offshore development in the Arctic has a long timeline, and other nations, including Russia, Canada and Norway, already are actively exploring the Arctic. Military leaders urge Arctic development:

“Arctic offshore energy development will occur, whether or not the U.S. participates, as other countries pursue the Arctic’s large energy resources to meet long-term energy needs.”

As we say, there’s great opportunity to responsibly develop Alaska’s great oil and natural gas resources. This should be guided by a forward-thinking regulatory framework that prioritizes regularly scheduled lease sales as necessary to enhance U.S. energy security and maintain America’s position as a global energy superpower.

The “100 Days” series of posts.


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.