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Moriarty: Alaska has ample oil reserves

Alaska Oil and Gas Association President Kara Moriarty addresses the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. (KCAW photo/by Emily Forman)

Alaska Oil and Gas Association President Kara Moriarty addresses the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. (KCAW photo/by Emily Forman)

Alaska Oil and Gas Association President Kara Moriarty addresses the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. (KCAW photo/by Emily Forman)[/caption]Alaska Oil and Gas Association President Kara Moriarty traveled from Anchorage this week(2-19-14) to speak to Sitka’s Chamber of Commerce about the state of the oil and gas industry in Alaska.

She started her talk by highlighting AOGA’s connection to the Permanent Fund Dividends Alaskans have received since 1982.

Moriarty: So, how many of you received every single permanent fund check since 1982? So, about half of the room. Quiz question, because I am a former school teacher that’s how I got to Alaska I should have said, so what’s the total number, in real dollars, how much have you received as an Alaskan since 1982?
Audience member: A little over 35,000.
Moriarty: You are right!
Audience member: I’m good, aren’t I?
Moriarty: Yes that is very good! So it’s 35,143 to be exact.

Moriarty explained how almost all oil and gas production occurs on state land, AOGA negotiates a royalty with the state on land leased for production. She says about 25% of those royalties that the state collects goes into the Permanent Fund.

Moriarty also spoke to the future of Alaska’s oil and gas industry. She says maintaining the current infrastructure, and keeping oil fields healthy is the key to making way for future development.

Listen to iFriendly audio.

If you hear that Alaska is running out of oil, I’m just here to tell you that it is not true. The good news is Alaska is very rich in resources and again a lot of it is a long ways away from here and some of it is a long ways away from Anchorage where I currently live. We think there is just around 600 million barrels left in Cook Inlet, about five billion barrels in the known fields. Prudhoe and Kuparuk, we think there’s a lot of heavy and viscous oil. But, if you look at that all together, and not including heavy and viscous where we don’t have the technology today to produce that oil, we have about 45-50 billion barrels of potential. And if you compare that to what we produced to date since the 70s, we produced just over 17 billion. So we have several generations of oil and gas left if we have the ability to produce it. We can control our competitiveness here. The major prize is the Chukchi Sea off the west coast of the North Slope… It’s a about 50-60 miles offshore. We think there’s about 27 billion barrels of oil potential out there, and remember I said we produced how many to date? 17 to date. So for me this is the next generation of oil and gas.

Moriarty says that production in this region is still 12-15 years away when factoring in the time it takes to test what’s there, clear legal hurdles, and secure development permits.

At the end of her presentation, Moriarty said she would be remiss if she did not mention AOGA’s opposition to Ballot Proposition 1 repealing Senate Bill 21. The Republican majority in 2013 passed a measure known as SB21, restructuring Alaska’s system of taxing oil profits. She echoed the points raised by First Bank mortgage manager Rocky Elerding when he addressed Sitka’s Chamber last month (January).

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