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Open–File Report 2009–1112

Economics of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the North Slope of Alaska: Economic Update and Synthesis

By Emil D. Attanasi and Philip A. Freeman

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has published assessments by geologists of undiscovered conventional oil and gas accumulations in the North Slope of Alaska; these assessments contain a set of scientifically based estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable quantities of oil and gas in discrete oil and gas accumulations that can be produced with conventional recovery technology. The assessments do not incorporate economic factors such as recovery costs and product prices. The assessors considered undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in four areas of the North Slope: (1) the central North Slope, (2) the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), (3) the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and (4) the area west of the NPRA, called in this report the “western North Slope.” These analyses were prepared at different times with various minimum assessed oil and gas accumulation sizes and with slightly different assumptions. Results of these past studies were recently supplemented with information by the assessment geologists that allowed adjustments for uniform minimum assessed accumulation sizes and a consistent set of assumptions. The effort permitted the statistical aggregation of the assessments of the four areas composing the study area.

This economic analysis is based on undiscovered assessed accumulation distributions represented by the four-area aggregation and incorporates updates of costs and technological and fiscal assumptions used in the initial economic analysis that accompanied the geologic assessment of each study area.

Posted August 2009

For more information, please contact the author.

For additional information, contact:

Science Center Director
USGS Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 956
Reston, Virginia 20192

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Suggested citation:

Attanasi, E.D., and Freeman, P.A., 2009, Economics of undiscovered oil and gas in the North Slope of Alaska; Economic update and synthesis: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1112, 59 p., available only online at

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