Report Contents
[Report #. SR/O&G/2000-02]


Executive Summary

1. Overview of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Geographic Setting

2. Analysis Discussion

Resource Assessment
Method of Analysis
ANWR Coastal Plain Assessment

3. Summary













Potential Oil Production from the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Updated Assessment

3.  Summary

The 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest unexplored, potentially productive geologic onshore basin in the United States. The primary area of the coastal plain is the 1002 Area of ANWR established when ANWR was created. A decision on permitting the exploration and development of the 1002 Area is up to Congress and has not been approved to date. Also included in the Coastal Plain are State lands to the 3-mile offshore limit and Native Inupiat land near the village of Kaktovik.

The USGS estimated:

  • a 95 percent probability that at least 5.7 billion barrels of technically recoverable undiscovered oil are in the ANWR coastal plain,
  • a 5 percent probability that at least 16 billion barrels of technically recoverable undiscovered oil are in the ANWR coastal plain, and
  • a mean or expected value of 10.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable undiscovered oil in the ANWR coastal plain.

EIA postulates two development rates for each of the three USPS probability estimates without specifying the effect of various levels of oil prices and technology advancements, ranging from 250 to 800 million barrels developed per year. EIA projects peak production rates from 600,000 to 1.9 million barrels per day over the six cases, with peak production estimated to occur 20 - 30 years after the onset of production.

Seven to 12 years are estimated to be required from an approval to explore and develop to first production from the ANWR Area. This study uses 9 years, to 2010. The time to first production could vary significantly based on time required for leasing after approval to develop is given. Environmental considerations and the possibility of drilling restrictions would directly impact the time interval to reach first production.

The USGS economic analysis of the ANWR 1002 Area calculates that once oil has been discovered, more than 80 percent of the technically recoverable oil is commercially developable at an oil price of $25 per barrel. The imported refiner acquisition cost in 2020 is projected in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2000 reference case at $22.04 (1998 dollars). At this price, the potential ANWR oil recovered would have a value between $125 and $350 billion (in 1998 dollars.)