The U.S. imports over 65% of the nation's needed petroleum. These oil imports cost more than $55.1 billion a year. This figure does not include the military costs of imported oil. These figures are rising and could exceed 80% imports by the year 2010.
Beneath a 1.5 million acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska is estimated to be between 3 and 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This area is a specially designated area within the 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Known as the "Coastal Plain", this area was designated by Congress in 1981 as requiring special study to determine its oil and gas potential and the effects of development on the environment. In 1987, the Department of Interior recommended development. Congressional authorization is required for the Coastal Plain to be open.
North Slope Production in Decline
Prudhoe Bay, located 60 miles to the west of ANWR, has been operating for nearly 20 years and has produced in excess of 10 billion barrels of oil during that time. It is among the most environmentally sensitive oil operations in the world. Present output at Prudhoe Bay has declined to 1.4 million barrels per day, and is continuing to decline.
Positive Economic Impact
The Coastal Plain of ANWR is America's best bet for the discovery of another giant "Prudhoe Bay-sized" ail and gas field in North America. Many economic benefits would result:
The Coastal Plain could produce up to 1.5 million barrels per day for at least 25 years - nearly 25% of current daily U.S. production.
The U.S. would save $14 billion per year in oil imports.
Between 250,000 and 735,000 jobs are estimated to be created by development of the Coastal Plain.
Federal revenues would be enhanced by billions of dollars from bonus bids, lease rentals, royalties, and taxes.
Advancing technology has greatly reduced the "footprint" of Arctic oil development. If Prudhoe Bay were built today, the footprint would be 1,526 acres, 64% smaller.
Oil and gas development and wildlife are successfully coexisting in Alaska's Arctic. For example, the Central Arctic caribou herd at Prudhoe Bay has grown from 3,000 to as high as 23,400 during the last 20 years.
More than 75 percent of the citizens of Alaska, the Alaska legislature, the governor, the congressional delegation, and the residents of the North Slope Borough ( including those who live in the only village in the refuge ), support Coastal Plain oil and gas development All necessary government resource evaluations have been completed. It is time far Congress to authorize this exploration and development.
Where is ANWR?
ANWR, established by Congress, covers 19 million acres, more than half of which are designated as wilderness. The refuge lies in the northeastern corner of Alaska, edged by the Arctic Ocean on the north, the Prudhoe Bay oil field on the west and Canada on the east. The northern rim of ANWR, 1.2 million acres, was segregated by Congress for resource evaluation because of the potential for crude oil deposits beneath its surface. This area is called the Coastal Plain.