Alaska’s Arctic oil resources require tech investment now

By Gary Gentile

The Barrel

The technology underlying the US shale revolution was largely developed and funded by government laboratories working in conjunction with the private sector. Could the same formula be the key to unlocking the oil and gas riches offshore Alaska?

That’s one of the intriguing possibilities to come from a nearly two-year study of the arctic potential commissioned by the US Department of Energy.

The National Petroleum Council’s report contains a number of recommendations aimed at developing the massive energy resources presumed to be in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. A key takeaway is the need to boost public confidence in the need for and safety of Arctic exploration.

The potential is enormous.

The total Arctic, spread across five countries, is estimated to contain 525 billion barrels of oil equivalent of resource potential, 426 billion boe of which is undiscovered.

Alaska’s share is estimated at more than 100 billion boe, over 75% of which is undiscovered.

Of Alaska’s undiscovered portion, 32 billion barrels is believed to be crude oil, according to figures cited in the NPC report.

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