A little slice of Alaskan tundra is finally open for drilling

CFP: Way back in 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, establishing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and making numerous other land use decisions for our 49th state. Section 1002 of the act postponed a decision on managing ANWR’s 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, which has enormous oil and gas potential and is important summertime wildlife habitat.

For four decades, environmentalists blocked legislation that would have opened the coastal plain to leasing and drilling. In 1995 President Clinton vetoed a pro-drilling bill that had passed both houses.

After the IRS, oil company oil and gas royalty payments represent the single largest contribution to the U.S. treasury

At long last, the tax-cut legislation just passed by Congress allows America to benefit from the petroleum resources that experts predict will be found in a small section of the plain, along Alaska’s northern coast. The legislation directs the Interior Department to hold at least two lease sales over the next 10 years, for a maximum of 2,000 acres opened to drilling. Analysts say the sales could fetch as much as $2.2 billion.

The area contains an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil, says Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Others put the petroleum potential even higher.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Congressional Research Service say it’s 95% likely that there are 15.6 billion barrels of oil beneath ANWR. With today’s exploration, drilling, fracking and other technology, up to 60% of that may ultimately be recoverable.

At $50 a barrel, that represents $460 billion that the USA would not have to send overseas; tens of billions in Alaskan and United States royalty and tax revenues; and thousands of jobs in oilfield, manufacturing and many other sectors.

After the IRS, oil company oil and gas royalty payments represent the single largest contribution to the U.S. treasury. Companies that produce from federal onshore and offshore leases pay royalties of up to 18% of wellhead prices, and then pay corporate taxes on profits and sales taxes at the pump. Workers pay income taxes, instead of receiving unemployment and welfare checks.

Every step in the leasing, drilling, production and pipeline process will require extensive environmental reviews. Unfortunately, each step will likely generate lawsuits and delays.

Alaska alone has 57 million acres (more than all of Utah) set aside as wilderness

As they have since long before 1980, activists continue to claim that any drilling would destroy the entire ANWR area’s wilderness character and threaten its caribou, polar bears, birds and other wildlife. In all too typical hyperbole, League of Conservation Voters president Gene Karpinski claimed the tax law provision will “turn one of our last remaining wild places into an industrial oilfield.” That’s absurd.  read more

13 Comments on A little slice of Alaskan tundra is finally open for drilling

  1. Now let’s start building more much needed refineries and keeping our resources instead of importing them. Hit the muzzies in their pocketbooks and they might sit at the table for some serious discussion.




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  2. that’s good news but good luck in getting any new west coast refineries built. Might as well put the oil in the Alaskan pipeline and bring it down here to Texas for processing. Best check the cost effectiveness before getting too excited.




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  3. @moochoman – only reason to have coastal refineries is for export purposes. I’m thinking more northern and central. Keep them spread out. Clustered in one area is just a real bad idea for security and logistics.




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  4. Yesterday I had an hour-long phone conversation with my friend who just retired from BP having worked on the northern slope for the last 20 years. He says BP, if anything, is overly protective of the environment and when one flies over northern Alaska there is barely a sign of oil drilling. The pictures of ANWR the environmentalists always show of is of pristine mountains near the coast but in fact 95% is vast open tundra, in otherwords WASTELAND.




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  5. @ Different Tim. We still import crude oil, although I assume it’s not as much as we used too. It’s not unusual to go to the Galveston beach and see ten to twenty heavy loaded tankers waiting for Coast guard inspections or pilots to take them into the Houston Ship Canal. There’s always someone somewhere that will sell a product cheaper than we can produce at home.




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  6. All those opposed turn in your cars, heaters, furnaces, all things plastic, and everything delivered to your stores via trucks using fuel. Go sit under a windmill and feast yourselves on rare and endangered birds. If you get cold, belly up to those like Al Gore. As soon as they start talking they expel a lot of hot air.




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  7. That little plot of land was all the original legislation allowed for drilling, but according to the tree huggers, it was going to be the size of Texas.




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  8. MAD-LIBS!

    Insert all the bad things that are going to happen, and how many things are going to die.

    If we drill in ANWR, the _____________(noun) will be forever contaminated by oil. __________(#) of ___________(species) will die over __________(# of years). We will not recover _____________(# of barrels of oil) because ____________________ (excuse).
    Furthermore, ___________________(a right) will be taken away because ________________ (link to negative ANWR talking point).
    Burning more fossil fuels will ____________________ (# of people that will die) by way of _____________(some horrible disease).

    Your template is all done!
    1. Find something people like.
    2. Say ANWR will remove that thing.
    3. Therefore ANWR is bad.
    4. And 10 billion people a day will die.




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  9. 2000 acres is miniscule in the Alaskan tundra.
    I used to hunt on 2300 acres of southern Wisconsin farm land and that was no gigantic feat for six guys. The tree huggers are out of control. The Alaskan tundra is nearly void of wildlife except for ground squirrels and fox. It is simply too brutal for most wild life. It is infested with mosquitos.




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  10. The greenies are right about pipelines affecting the caribou. The caribou like using the supports for scratching posts. Not many trees out there in the tundra.




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  11. “The U.S. Geological Survey and Congressional Research Service say it’s 95% likely that there are 15.6 billion barrels of oil beneath ANWR.”

    “Coupled with the ability to fracture rock formations and stimulate them to produce far more oil and natural gas liquids than previously possible, this accuracy means a series of small sites totaling less than 2,000 acres could produce up to 15 billion gallons of petroleum annually.”

    At fifty gallons per barrel, there’s maybe 50 year’s worth of production available.




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