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Page added on August 22, 2018

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Alaska’s North Slope ‘Super-Basin’ Still Holds 28 Billion Barrels of Oil


Since its discovery in 1968, Alaska’s North Slope (ANS) basin has produced nearly 17 billion barrels of oil. Since hitting a peak of 2 million barrels of oil a day in the late 1980s, production has fallen to around 400,000 barrels a day as of last week.

But a lot more North Slope oil remains to be recovered, according to analysts at IHS Markit. According to the firm’s latest estimates, there are 38 billion barrels of oil equivalent of remaining recoverable resources in the North Slope “super-basin,” defined as one that holds at least 5 billion barrels of oil and that already has produced at least 5 billion more.

Of that total 38 billion barrels, 28 billion are crude oil and 50 trillion cubic feet are natural gas. IHS Market sets the basin’s estimated ultimate recovery at nearly 55 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the sum of the 17 billion already produced and the 38 billion recoverable barrels remaining.

IHS Markit noted that the ANS has reached a late-emerging phase because the basin offers such a significant amount of remaining resources. The massive Prudhoe Bay and Endicott fields continue to produce as they have for nearly 40 years, but the added resources have been located in geologic formations that have been only lightly explored and developed.

Kareemah Mohamed, lead author of the IHS Markit report, warned, however:

[D]espite the geologic potential of the ANS, potential investment risks include needed service-sector expansion to support expected production growth, uncertainty over whether the state of Alaska will maintain its tax-incentive program, infrastructure access for new entrants, and the potential application of unconventional technology in a complex operating environment.

Here’s a map showing the basin as it extends beyond Alaska’s northern coast into the Beaufort Sea. Late last year the Trump administration opened up a portion of the National Petroleum Reserve to development. Area 1002 (the green area on the map) is included in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). IHS Markit estimates that Area 1002 contains 9.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent in “yet-to-find” resources.

Source: IHS Markit


Last month the U.S. Department of the Interior ordered an expedited environmental review of the impact of leasing part of ANWR for drilling. A lease auction could occur as soon as next summer. Such environmental reviews typically require two to three years of work, according to a report last month in The Washington Post. However the review turns out, court challenges are sure to follow.






7 Comments on "Alaska’s North Slope ‘Super-Basin’ Still Holds 28 Billion Barrels of Oil"

  1. twocats on Wed, 22nd Aug 2018 10:20 am 

    any and all “nature preserves” will be violated by the time this is done. once you see humans has just an evolutionary dead end – like the panda or the dodo – you won’t feel so bad about it. mushrooms will hopefully survive and the earth will come back around.

  2. Boat on Wed, 22nd Aug 2018 12:36 pm 


    Without humans the earth doesn’t matter.

  3. GregT on Wed, 22nd Aug 2018 12:55 pm 


    Without humans the earth doesn’t matter, to humans.

    Just like the Earth doesn’t matter anymore, to dinosaurs.

  4. Tipping Point Next Stop on Wed, 22nd Aug 2018 1:57 pm 

    I really hope I live to see the day these oil people and their sock puppets get lined up against the wall.

  5. bob on Wed, 22nd Aug 2018 2:51 pm 

    Shell and all the oil majors have given up exploring these areas. They found the costs too daunting and the drilling conditions overwhelming. They have no desire to go back. And they finally decided that there isn’t any oil there, anyway. Remember pictures of that big Shell oil drilling rig that got grounded? Well, all the majors are grounded now as far as drilling in the North goes. Let’s be glad they are gone; 1 less thing to worry about.

  6. duh on Thu, 23rd Aug 2018 4:18 pm 

    Global warming is good. Global cooling caused by less active sun is not good- you liberal nazi faggots.

  7. a on Thu, 23rd Aug 2018 9:01 pm 

    280 days of oil is a “super basin” now?

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