The Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas has released its annual production forecast for the North Slope. Estimates begin at 1,070,371 barrels a day in calendar year 2000, rise to 1,088,026 barrels a day in 2002 and drop to 408,110 barrels a day in 2021.
Average daily production is expected to drop below the 1 million barrel a day mark in 2008, averaging just 946,314 barrels a day for that year, and dropping below the 500,000 barrel a day mark in 2018, at an estimated 496,500 barrels a day.
Division of Oil and Gas Petroleum Manager Bill Van Dyke said April 10 that the numbers are about the same as last year's forecast from 2000 through 2005, but that there is an increase of about 100,000 barrels a day now forecast for 2006-2020.
Van Dyke said that a variety of things are causing the 100,000 barrel a day increase from last year's forecast beginning in about 2006. It assumes, he said, favorable performance from some new fields such as Alpine and Northstar, with production beginning as planned and production rates that are quite favorable.
And, he said, it assumes some additional heavy oil production from West Sak and Schrader Bluff requiring a fair amount of new development at those fields.
It also assumes pretty intense development at the west end of Prudhoe Bay, the west end Eileen field, and includes projected production from other Prudhoe Bay satellites such as Aurora and Midnight Sun.
NPR-A, ANWR not included
The increase does not, Van Dyke said, include any production from either the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (where ARCO Alaska Inc. is drilling exploration wells this winter) or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where any work would have to be authorized by act of Congress.
The state figures do include production from the Liberty field, even though that will come from federal leases, because the oil will flow down the pipeline.
The increase from last year's production includes what the division calls one yet-to-be identified field which would peak at about 50,000 barrels a day. That could actually be a conglomeration of yet-to-be-developed satellites or a new development between the Canning and Colville rivers on state lands, Van Dyke said.
Estimates from Prudhoe are also a little higher than they were last year, and the forecast assumes ongoing investment in existing fields, especially Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk and Milne Point. If that ongoing investment doesn't occur, Van Dyke said, then the rates will fall faster than the forecast shows, especially at Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk, which account, even in later years, for about half of the forecast North Slope production.