The Arctic is Essential to Interior’s Oil and Gas Program

The Hill-01The Hill | June 16, 2016 | Kara Moriarty

In recent years, Alaska’s role in the emerging Arctic has taken center stage, and for good reason: It is a place of boundless beauty and tremendous opportunity.  For those that appreciate the challenges of what makes our Alaskan homes comfortable and secure, one need to look no further than the great energy developments that have powered Alaska’s economy and America’s energy security for almost a half century.  Unfortunately, that energy security is at risk if we forgo the foresight that past leaders envisioned for the great expanse of America’s largest state.

Currently, our nation is realizing the benefits that come from the bountiful supplies born from domestic oil and gas production.  We often realize this value when we fill our cars with fuel and heat our homes through the winter.  What may be less obvious are the geopolitical implications of our domestic energy production, or what made our current energy situation possible.  America now has the flexibility to not import energy from countries which do not share our values on environmental protection or our belief in democracy.

Moving forward, Alaska is the most significant and important resource in creating a safer and more secure nation. How? By unleashing the vast energy resources found in our immense state. Alaska’s energy potential is absolutely staggering. The size of just the oil and gas resources alone is hard even to fathom: a full one-third of the United States’ oil and gas reserves sit off Alaska’s northern coast in a basin that can only be described as an elephant field.

To illustrate its size, think of the 17 billion barrels of oil that have moved down the Trans Alaska Pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to Valdez in its almost forty years of operation. Now, compare that with the 27 billion barrels estimated in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Add the 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and anyone can see why Alaska’s mammoth energy reserves are a strategic asset to the United States.

Read the full op-ed here.

Kara Moriarty is the president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, or AOGA. AOGA is a professional trade association whose mission is to foster the long-term viability of the oil and gas industry in Alaska for the benefit of all Alaskans.