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Geological Survey (USGS) assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the central part of the Alaska North Slope and the adjacent state offshore area finds that there is a significant amount of oil and a large amount of gas that remains to be discovered.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment of undiscovered
oil and gas resources of the central part of the Alaska North Slope and
the adjacent state offshore area finds that there is a significant amount
of oil and a large amount of gas that remains to be discovered. The assessment
estimates that there are 4.0 billion barrels of oil (BBO), 37.5 trillion
cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, and 478 million barrels of natural gas liquids
that are undiscovered and technically recoverable. Technically recoverable
resources are the amount of petroleum that may be recovered using current
technology.

False-color infrared satellite image of central
North Slope assessment area. (Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey)

The central North Slope contains most of the commercial
oil fields and virtually all of the petroleum-producing infrastructure and
pipelines in northern Alaska, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
To date, 15 billion barrels of oil have been produced from this area, and
remaining reserves include 7 BBO of oil and 35 TCF of gas. USGS estimates
that there are 4.0 BBO of oil resources that remain to be discovered, most
in the northern part of the assessment area. For comparison, recent USGS estimates
of undiscovered oil in adjacent areas include 10.6 BBO in the National Petroleum
Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and 10.4 BBO in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
(ANWR) 1002 area. Most undiscovered oil accumulations in the central North
Slope assessment area are expected to be relatively small in comparison to
those already discovered.

There is estimated to be 37 TCF of undiscovered natural
gas in the central North Slope, with the majority located in the southern
half of the assessment area in the foothills of the Brooks Range. This is
about half of what has been estimated to occur in NPRA (73 TCF of natural
gas) and significantly more than has been estimated to occur in ANWR 1002
area (9 TCF of natural gas). The natural gas resources in the central North
Slope are accessible to existing infrastructure and to the route of the proposed
gas pipeline. Although large quantities of gas are estimated to be present,
there is still a lot to learn about the geology of the foothills.

The central North Slope lies between the NPRA and ANWR,
and extends from the Brooks Range northward to the State-Federal offshore
boundary. The assessment area consists mostly of State and Native lands, covering
about 23,000 square miles (about one-half the size of New York). The population
in the area is limited to Prudhoe Bay and other oil-production facilities.

The assessment was based on a comprehensive review of all
available geological, geophysical, and geochemical evidence; including hydrocarbon
source rocks, reservoir rocks, and traps. The minimum accumulation sizes
considered in this assessment are 5 million barrels of technically recoverable
oil and 100 billion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas.

Source : www.sciencedaily.com

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