The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (1980) established
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In section 1002 of that
act, Congress deferred a decision regarding future management of the 1.5-million-acre
coastal plain ("1002 area") in recognition of the area’s potentially
enormous oil and gas resources and its importance as wildlife habitat. A
report on the resources (including petroleum) of the 1002 area was submitted
in 1987 to Congress by the Department of the Interior (DOI). Since completion
of that report, numerous wells have been drilled and oil fields discovered
near ANWR, new geologic and geophysical data have become available,
seismic processing and interpretation capabilities have improved, and the
economics of North Slope oil development have changed significantly.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) commonly is asked to provide
the Federal Government with timely scientific information in support of decisions
regarding land management, environmental quality, and economic and strategic
policy. To do so, the USGS must anticipate issues most likely to be the focus
of policymakers in the future. Anticipating the need for scientific information
and considering the decade-old perspective of the petroleum resource estimates
included in the 1987 Report to Congress, the USGS has reexamined the geology
of the ANWR 1002 area and has prepared a new petroleum resource assessment.
|Posted April 2001
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