Source: Office of Governor Sean Parnell
Governor Sean Parnell sent a letter asking President Barack Obama to support the state’s goal to increase the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to one million barrels per day in the next ten years. Governor Parnell announced the new TAPS throughput goal on March 30, the same day President Obama announced his goal to reduce foreign oil imports by one third by 2025.
Parnell expressed full support for the president’s goal to reduce oil imports and he wrote the president that Alaska can play a crucial role by boosting oil production from the North Slope. However, Parnell wrote, the state needs federal movement to access federal lands that hold some of Alaska’s most promising oil fields.
“More specifically, I am respectfully requesting that you direct your Secretaries of Interior and Energy, as well as your EPA Administrator, to work with our Alaska administration and the rest of the country to achieve the goals established,” Parnell wrote.
Alaska remains a world-class hydrocarbon basin. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska’s Arctic is estimated to hold 40 billion barrels of oil and 236 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Also, Alaska is a storehouse for billions of barrels of undeveloped heavy, viscous and shale oil. Yet the flow of oil through TAPS has declined and the development of many of Alaska’s promising oil prospects, many of which are located on federal land or in offshore waters, have been delayed by federal agencies. TAPS is declining at a rate of about six percent annually, with throughput currently at about 640,000 barrels per day, down from two million barrels per day 20 years ago.
“TAPS is a critical component of our nation’s energy infrastructure. As throughput declines, pipeline operational challenges increase, particularly during winter. Our goal of one million barrels a day through TAPS within a decade is vitally important,” Governor Parnell wrote.