USGS report reduces estimate of oil in Alaska  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Anchorage Daily News reports that oil reserve numbers in Alaska have been reduced by the USGS - USGS report reduces estimate of oil in petroleum reserve.

Recent drilling results indicate that the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska contains roughly a tenth of the oil that federal scientists had previously estimated, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday.

Instead, the federal agency said, natural gas is the dominant energy resource in the 23 million-acre reserve across northern Alaska, and in nearby state waters. The findings are based on more than 30 wells drilled and other exploration in the NPRA over the past decade.

The agency's findings are in sync with declining investment by some oil companies, which have shed more than a million acres of leases in the reserve and are spending much less money on purchasing new ones.

And yet, the agency scientist who published the new estimates cautioned against overreacting. He stressed on Tuesday that the reserve does hold some decent-sized accumulations of oil -- particularly in the northeast, near Teshekpuk Lake -- and its potential for gas is "just phenomenal."

But until a North Slope gas pipeline is built, "a gas discovery is not a lot better than a dry hole," said the scientist, David Houseknecht.

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