New Interior Department Survey Shows Significant Increase in Recoverable Energy Resources in Federal, State and Tribal Lands and Waters in Alaska

Release Date:

The Department of the Interior has announced petroleum assessments from the 

(WASHINGTON) Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke  released an updated resource assessment for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), the Western Beaufort Sea, adjacent State and Native lands, and State waters , which estimates the mean undiscovered, technically recoverable resources both on and offshore to include 17.6 billion barrels of oil and more than 50 trillion cubic feet of gas.

“Earlier this year I visited the North Slope to talk with Alaska Natives and elected officials about what responsible energy development means for the communities and the state. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the message was clear: the path to American Energy Dominance starts in Alaska,” said Secretary Zinke. “Today’s updated assessment is a big step toward that goal. Thanks to the incredible work of scientists at the USGS and BOEM, we know what’s available and what our potential is. That’s important because with the scientific knowledge, industry partners are more willing to explore the area. New discoveries have changed our geologic knowledge of the area - and these assessments show that the North Slope will remain an important energy hub for decades to come in order to meet the energy needs of our nation."

Image shows a map of the Alaska North Slope with the assessment units in various colors
This map shows the assessment units of the USGS assessment of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent state and Tribal lands and waters. (Public domain.)

The assessment was conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) which are all bureaus under the management of the Department. USGS led onshore efforts and BOEM led offshore efforts with data contributed by BLM. Additional information was provided by state and industry partners.

Onshore, USGS estimates a mean of 8.7 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of gas. This is a significant increase from the 2010 resource assessment which estimated a mean of 1.5 billion barrels of oil. 

Offshore, BOEM’s revised estimates of mean undiscovered technically recoverable resources in the Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf  Planning Area are 8.9 billion barrels of oil and 27.7 trillion cubic feet of gas.

BOEM’s updated assessment resulted in a net increase of nearly 700 million barrels of oil equivalent over BOEM’s 2016 Beaufort Sea Planning Area assessment. 

The rest of the news release can be found at the Department of the Interior's Newsroom.

Image shows squares of permafrost
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(Credit: David Houseknecht, USGS. Public domain.)