How does the 2017 National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska assessment compare to the nation’s energy needs?

In the 2017 assessment, USGS estimates a mean of 8.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States consumed 7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2018.

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Can the resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska be produced today?

USGS oil and gas assessments are for technically recoverable resources, meaning they can be produced using today’s technology and standard industry practices. However, our assessment does not look at what infrastructure would be required to produce these resources, nor does it look at whether it would be profitable to produce them. Learn more:...

Does the assessment of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska mean there should or should not be oil and gas production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

The USGS is an unbiased, non-regulatory science agency, and therefore we do not advocate for or against oil and gas development in any location. The USGS role is to provide scientifically robust, publicly available estimates of potential resources so decision-makers have the best possible information to manage the Nation’s resources. Learn more:...

How did USGS and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) divide up the area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to be assessed?

The USGS is responsible for oil and gas assessments onshore and in state waters, while the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) assesses energy resources in the Federal offshore waters and the outer continental shelf. Learn more: Alaska Petroleum Systems

What is the difference between the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) is a roughly 23.4 million acre area of Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It lies in northwest Alaska and borders both the Chukchi Sea to the west and the Beaufort Sea to the north. The NPR-A was originally established in 1923 as a petroleum reserve for the U.S. Navy, then...

How does the 2017 National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska assessment compare to other assessments USGS has done?

The 2017 National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska assessment estimated a mean of 8.7 billion barrels of oil and a mean of 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The largest assessment of oil performed by the USGS to date is the 2016 USGS Assessment of the Wolfcamp Shale in Texas’ Midland Basin , which estimated a mean of 20 billion barrels of oil. The...

Why did the oil and gas numbers in the 2017 assessment change from the last National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska assessment completed in 2010?

Assessments regularly change based on our understanding of geology, as well as advances in technology. In this case, three new discoveries by industry drove much of the change in numbers. Learn more: Alaska Petroleum Systems U.S. Assessments of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources

Is there any oil and gas production currently going on in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska?

Yes, but not from any of the three new discoveries that spurred our 2017 reassessment. Learn more: Alaska Petroleum Systems

Why did USGS decide to reassess the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska?

USGS regularly re-examines our assessments to see if updated information warrants a reassessment. In this case, three discoveries by industry in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) indicated that there was sufficient reason to reassess. In addition, Secretarial Order 3352 then directed USGS to perform a reassessment of the NPR-A. In a...
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Date published: December 22, 2017

Re-Assessing Alaska's Energy Frontier

Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Date published: February 2, 2017

Forecasting the World’s Energy Resources

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported.

Date published: May 4, 2011

USGS Economic Analysis Updated for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska [NPRA]

The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered, conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available online.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Date published: October 26, 2010

USGS Oil and Gas Resource Estimates Updated for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA)

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas within NPRA and adjacent state waters.

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Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Fish Creek wanders through the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Orthoimage of a four-way interchange, Los Angeles, CA
October 31, 2016

Orthoimage, traffic interchange, LA CA

Orthoimage of a four-way interchange, Los Angeles, CA

Oil and Gas 4
December 31, 2015

Oil Well being Drilled into the Bakken Formation

Oil well being drilled into the Bakken Formation in North Dakota in 2015.

Oil and Gas Resources of the Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province
December 31, 2006

Oil and Gas Resources of the Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province

Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province, showing locations of principal geologic features. AF, Alpine oil field; ANWR, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; NPRA, National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska; PB, Prudhoe Bay oil field

Image shows a map of the Alaska North Slope with the assessment units in various colors

NPR-A Assessment Map

This map shows the assessment units of the USGS assessment of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent state and Tribal lands and waters.