WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study to be released Friday.
The U.S. has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world's biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations. But the government predicts that the shale boom won't last much beyond the next decade.
In order for the U.S. to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Artic now because it takes 10 to 30 years of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market, according to a draft of the study's executive summary obtained by the Associated Press.
"To remain globally competitive and to be positioned to provide global leadership and influence in the Arctic, the U.S. should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic now," the study's authors wrote.
The study, produced by the National Petroleum Council at the request of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, comes at a time when many argue the world needs less oil, not more. U.S. oil storage facilities are filling up, the price of oil has collapsed from over $100 a barrel to around $50, and prices are expected to stay relatively low for years to come. At the same time, scientists say the world needs to drastically reduce the amount of fossil fuels it is burning in order to avoid catastrophic changes to the earth's climate.
The push to make the Arctic waters off of Alaska more accessible to drillers comes just as Royal Dutch Shell is poised to restart its troubled drilling program there. The company has little to show after spending years and more than $5 billion preparing for work, waiting for regulatory approval, and early-stage drilling. After assuring regulators it was prepared for the harsh conditions, one of its drill ships ran aground in heavy seas near Kodiak Island in 2012. Its drilling contractor, Noble Drilling, was convicted of violating environmental and safety rules.
Environmental advocates say the Arctic ecosystem is too fragile to risk a spill, and cleanup would be difficult or perhaps even impossible because of weather and ice.
View Full Article
Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Click on the button below to add a comment.
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
More from this Author
Most Popular Articles
From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you