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article imageFracking comes to Alaska, triggering new oil boom

By Karen Graham     Apr 16, 2017 in Technology
Prudhoe Bay - The Arctic region hold great allure for global oil companies, despite opposition from green groups and Obama's 2016 ban on drilling in federal Arctic waters. However, over the past year, huge oil reserves have been found on Alaska's North Slope.
In the last year, alone, companies have discovered over 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil on Alaska’s North Slope, a 14 percent increase in the proven oil reserves of the U.S. and that's not small potatoes. This has come at a time when oil prices are still low and many people thought the Arctic would continue to be off-limits for drilling.
As for Alaska, they aren't stopping foreign companies from coming in and doing exploration, and actually seem to be encouraging this. Foreign companies are partnering with American companies in order to pursue these business opportunities. Interestingly, the mainstream media has not been too interested in the story.
However, Dr. Scott L. Montgomery, a professor of international relations at the University of Washington, writing in an op-ed for The Conversation, says he thinks hydraulic fracturing in the Arctic could change global politics in favor of U.S. interests.
Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas  from Pennsylvani...
Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 87 in southern Upper Fairfield Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
This is, indeed a global political and environmental story, fueled by the world's continuing demand for oil, especially in Asia. Added to the story is President Trump's agenda to make America the leading exporter of gas and oil despite opposition from environmental groups and the science behind climate change.
Fracking comes to the Arctic
The untapped oil found in the North Slope could be fracked, according to major oil companies like ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips has already been buying up Alaska land and developing cost effective methods of fracking in the remote region. And as oil prices rise, fracking in Alaska would probably accelerate.
The Daily Caller is reporting that it would be profitable for companies to drill at $50 a barrel, which is just under current crude prices. Additionally, Trump is planning on opening up the Beaufort and Chukchi seas to offshore drilling, reversing President Obama's ban on drilling in those areas.
In January this year, ConocoPhillips made a find called the “Willow,” estimated at 300 million barrels. Then a little later, the Spanish company Repsol, in partnership with Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas, discovered the “Horseshoe,” estimated at 1.2 billion barrels of oil.
However, the two discoveries pale in comparison to “Tulimaniq,” an extraordinary discovery drilled by Dallas-based Caelus Energy in the state waters of Smith Bay, about 120 miles northwest of Prudhoe Bay, in October 2016. Caelus is confirming there is a total accumulation of over 10 billion of barrels of light and mobile oil, with at least 3-4 billion barrels recoverable at $50 a barrel, reports Newsweek.
Caelus Energy Alaska
Quite a number of the new wells will have to be fracked - the first use of fracking in the Arctic, by the way. This will present a dilemma for the oil companies because the logistics in getting enough sand and water to the remote region will be challenging and expensive. Then there is the possibility that cleaning, reusing and taking care to contain fracked water will not be adhered to when the sites are so far from public scrutiny.
Like the story reported in Digital Journal last night concerning the BP oil well leak on the North Slope, which by the way, is still spewing natural gas into the air, the mainstream media is so tied up with reporting the latest goings-on with the Trump Administration that leaking oil wells and quite possibly, further damage to the environment is taking a back seat.
More about Alaska, Oil boom, North slope, Fracking, Environment
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