NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Importance of ANWR's Oil

October 22, 2001

The recent terrorist events have highlighted to an even greater extent than before the critically important need to utilize oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Energy analysts contend it would be irresponsible not to utilize that resource in order to lessen our dependence on oil imports from Arab nations.

  • The U.S. Geological Survey states there is a 95 percent probability that at least 5.7 billion barrels of oil can be recovered from Alaska's ANWR -- but it has also estimated that figure at 10.3 billion barrels, and others put it as high as 16 billion barrels.
  • We currently consumer about 20 million barrels a day -- with about one-quarter of that being supplied by OPEC.
  • At peak production, ANWR could supply almost one-tenth of our needs -- and we could cut our OPEC dependence by more than one-third, based on today's numbers.
  • Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham believes "average estimates" of ANWR's reserves indicate there's enough there "to replace oil imports from the Persian Gulf region for 10 years; or from Iraq for 50 years."

Utilizing this resource would affect only about 12,000 of the wildlife refuge's 19 million acres.

Stated another way, the area being considered for drilling constitutes only 0.00003 percent of the State of Alaska.

Source: Editorial, "ANWR's Answers," Investor's Business Daily, October 22, 2001.


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