Alaska test drills show (over) 90% less oil

An update by the US Geological Survey of the estimated fossil fuel reserves in Alaska’s 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve, situated on the wildlife harbouring North Slope, shows these dramatically reduced.

The oil reserves are now thought to be only 10 percent of what they were supposed during the last survey, ordered by the Bush administration in 2002. The natural gas reserves also seem to be lower than previously estimated – although the decline is smaller: 13 percent.

The USGS reaches the conclusion after test drills show that presumed mixed oil and gas fields in fact contain natural gas only.

The Alaska Petroleum Reserve is now thought to contain 896 million barrels of conventional crude oil. Just eight years ago some 10.6 billion barrels were presumed.

[The USGS report does not explain why we calculate this difference to be an ever worse decline of 91.5 percent. Presumably it is to with the decimals – the new survey being more accurate than in 2002. USGS speaks of ‘roughly ten percent’ of oil remaining.]

Alaska gas reserves are now supposed to be at ‘53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas’. To place this in perspective: the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2009 estimate states total world gas reserve at 6,254 trillion cubic feet. The Alaska National Petroleum Reserve would contain less than one percent of that.

Not a lot of oil, not a lot of gas.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm |

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