Overnight 2.6 million Alaskan acres open for oil exploration

Posted on July 18, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

NY – Times:
The Interior Department on Wednesday made 2.6 million acres of potentially oil-rich territory in northern Alaska available for energy exploration. At the same time, it deferred for a decade any decision to open 600,000 acres of land north of Teshekpuk Lake that is the summer home of thousands of migrating caribou and millions of waterfowl.
The bureau has already leased out 965,000 acres of the petroleum reserve lands.
Stan Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska, applauded the decision not to drill north of Teshekpuk, near Beaufort Sea, saying that it “acknowledges the international importance of the Teshekpuk wetlands, which have been protected by every federal administration since Jimmy Carter.” Ideally, he added, these areas will be permanently protected.
Aside from the prospect of expanding domestic oil supplies, the new production would help alleviate worries about the viability of the Alaska pipeline system.
The pipeline is transporting 700,000 barrels of oil daily, down from 2.1 million when the Prudhoe Bay fields were at peak production in 1988. If the amount of oil in the pipeline falls too low in the bitter Arctic climate, it is no longer able to flow south to the tankers that take it to California for processing.
Read more by Felicity Barringer New York Times


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