Seismic deniability in ANWR debate: Fuel for Thought

Mar 14 00:03 2018 Print This Article

Alaska wants to update decades-old seismic surveys of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to boost exploration. But in a twist, some officials feel that ignorance in this case may be better for the state’s coffers.

Alaska officials hope to jump-start exploration in ANWR with $10 million in “seed money” toward the cost of a 3-D seismic program to gather new information on oil and gas prospects.

ANWR is estimated to hold as much as 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil. But that estimate, compiled by the US Geological Survey, is years old and based mainly on results shared from one group-sponsored seismic survey in the 1980s that relied on older 2-D geophysical profiling.

The new plan involves modern 3-D seismic that would present a much more detailed picture of potential reservoirs, says Andy Mack, the state’s Commissioner of Natural Resources.

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