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New Details on Alaska Energy Policy

Gov and DNR Commissioner Address U.S. Chamber

June 30, 2011, Washington, D.C. – Governor Sean Parnell and Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan met with national reporters today to share the state’s plan to offer additional lands and offshore waters for oil and gas exploration.

The briefing with national media is part of the Parnell administration’s wide-ranging efforts to generate national awareness and support for the state’s goal to boost the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to 1 million barrels of oil within a decade.

“By reaching this goal we will strengthen Alaska’s contribution to U.S. energy security and we will create tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in payroll,” Parnell said after the briefing.

President Obama recently announced that he will release 30 million barrels of oil in the coming month from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address supply disruptions from Libya.

“Releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is bad policy,” Governor Parnell said. “This decision only provides the nation with 30 days of additional oil supply. It will have no long term impact. The real Strategic Petroleum Reserve is Alaska, which has the potential to provide more than 30 billion barrels of oil over three decades. Developing Alaska’s vast hydrocarbon resources will supply the nation with billions of barrels of domestic crude. It will provide tens of thousands of high paying jobs and it will generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for the federal government. The right policy call for the nation is to develop Alaska’s resources.”

Parnell also described his actions in recent months to reach out to President Obama, members of Congress and other U.S. governors to encourage broad cooperation on boosting energy production from all states.

Commissioner Sullivan laid out for reporters the state’s plan to boost development on its land and in state waters. He also discussed the stringent environmental protection measures in place that protect the sensitive tundra and the North Slope’s wildlife populations.

“For nearly 35 years, Alaska has been one of the most critical sources of domestic energy for American citizens, via the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline. More than 15 billion barrels of oil from Alaska’s North Slope have been produced for the Lower 48 since TAPS’ creation. We are laying out a plan to enhance America’s energy security by aggressively marketing additional state lands for development,” Sullivan said following the briefing.

The Central North Slope undeveloped acreage, much of which will be available for lease in the upcoming lease sale, still holds 3 to 6 billion barrels of oil and 24 to 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to federal estimates of the region’s undiscovered, technically-recoverable resources. The undiscovered resources on state land include dozens of pools of conventional oil that range in size from 50 to 150 million barrels, tens of billions of barrels of heavy and viscous oil, and potentially enormous shale oil deposits.

These estimates do not include the more than 5 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves that lie under producing fields or fields that are close to being placed into production.

Importantly, some of the known oil and gas plays on state land straddle highly prospective federal lands, including the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By drilling on state land and waters adjacent to NPR-A and ANWR, developers may end up drawing untapped oil that lies beneath these federal lands.

“I applaud Governor Parnell and Commissioner Sullivan for stepping up to the plate to help deliver American energy that we so clearly need,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “Alaska is acting to address our supply problems because the federal government has not. I hope that policymakers in Washington will take notice of the example set by Alaska’s leaders by allowing more access to our oil and gas resources which will create jobs and improve our energy security.”

The press conference was hosted by the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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