Some interesting oil industry statistics - Alaska

1997-2009 Gibson Consulting

Perspective US Gov't
Index US imports - from where? US imports - volume US exports Largest exporters Largest importers Iraq By company
Costs Largest refiners US Capacity Capacity by state Product imports Market share Transportation
Leading countries US Production Leading US States Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields US Production Peak Production Peak Number of wells US - Wells drilled/producing US - shut-in wells
How many gallons? How much gasoline? How much plastic? Production costs Finding costs US Gov't profits Uses of oil
US - oil US - gasoline World Changes By sector US vs China
World US US - Bakken US - shut-in wells Peak Oil Drill Baby Drill Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields
Largest that don't use imported oil Profits Seven Sisters
Who sets the price? Price history Factors Why so high? Gasoline price breakdown Historic change in pricing basis
How much in a barrel? Retailer Profits No. of stations US Price breakdown Sales per station No Middle East oil Price in other countries
Producers Importers Companies Oil Fields Gas Fields Reserves Profits
Exports to Japan ANWR
Drill Baby Drill Salvation in Canada? US - Bakken Essay
Made of dinosaurs? Why so much in the Mid East? Who owns it? Abiotic oil
Miscellaneous Myths Alternatives
Finding costs Hot areas Bakken Time to bring onstream
How many gallons in a barrel? How much gasoline from a barrel? Where to buy gas not from Mid East? Who sets the price of oil? Why does Alaska export oil to Japan?

By Richard Gibson:
What Things Are Made Of
The story of America's dependency
on mineral commodities (including oil) in everyday life.
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Link for an interesting book, The Last Alaskan Barrel

Q: I have read that most of Alaska's oil is exported to Japan. Is this true?

A: No. Since 1996, from 5% to 7% of Alaska North Slope (map, left, from USGS) oil was exported, about half of it to South Korea and the rest to China and Japan. Those exports ceased in 2000, and since then all Alaskan crude has gone to the US, mostly through Washington and California refineries. See the following sites for more information: NCSE State of Alaska

Q: I think the U.S. should produce more oil, such as from ANWAR and elsewhere so that we can achieve energy independence and not import oil from the Middle East. How do you think we should go about this?

A: Sorry to say this, but I think the idea of "energy independence" for the United States is a completely fictional concept, at least in terms of petroleum independence. We currently (2007) import around 63% of our requirements and we do not do that because there is a bazillion barrels of oil hidden somewhere in the US just waiting to be produced. The US is probably the most thoroughly explored large nation on Earth, and all the ANWRs and other possibles out there are tiny drops in the bucket of our gas-guzzling habits. It MIGHT be possible to achieve a modicum of "independence" through rigorous conservation, but that cannot happen in any short time frame (like a few years). To do so, EVERY person in the US would have to reduce their consumption by 60%. Are you willing to refrain from heating your home on 4 out of 7 days per week, all year long? Or not drive at all on 4 out of 7 days per week, forever more? Or cease buying products whose manufacture, packaging, and distribution are gasoline-intensive such as all imported foods, or vegetables from California in winter that are hauled further than a few hundred miles, or a thousand other things. It's simply not gonna happen.

We might BEGIN to approach the idea of working toward reducing our consumption by applying a big federal gasoline tax - like 50 or $1.00 per gallon. But that's not gonna happen either - there would be so many bureaucratic "exceptions," "exemptions," special cases, that it would fall on its face. And no Congressman would do something so politically distasteful, even if the good of the country were at stake as I personally believe it is.

Q: I would like to talk about drilling in ANWR. Have you also heard that there is only enough oil approximated to last us 6 months?

A: The amount of known oil in ANWR is precisely zero (see essay here) - many different entities make many different estimates of how much there may be in the ground there, but until reasonable amounts of exploration are done, those estimates are nothing but guesses. A few of them are educated guesses, many of them are as educated as saying the moon is made of green cheese. Reasonable (as in US Geological Survey - see This Link) estimates are of 7.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Figuring one way, using US consumption at 20 million barrels per day, divided into that 7.7 billion, equals 385 days of supply. In reality, it will take years for the infrastructure to be built (pipelines, drilling facilities, production facilities, etc) even if there is any oil there at all - remember, the proved amount as of right now is zero barrels. Then, the production would take many years - you don't just produce it in a whoosh. Prudhoe bay, at around 13 billion barrels, has been producing for nearly 30 years. So rather than viewing it as so many days of supply, it might be more reasonable to view it as contributing to a lesser need for imports. The amount that would come over 20 years or so might be as much as a million barrels a day -- 5% of current US needs (remember too that US consumption is increasing by 2 to 4% per year). Not trivial, but also no panacea.

Compiled by Dick Gibson, Gibson Consulting, 301 N. Crystal St., Butte, MT 59701

Want to know more?
Gibson Consulting recommends: Read The Prize, by Daniel Yergin.

1997-2007 Gibson Consulting
Background image of drilling well in Utah in 1981 2000 by Dick Gibson