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NEWS BULLETIN

February 09, 2006 --- Vol. 12, No. 10February 2006

MMS publishes new resource assessment for Alaska OCS

In concert with its draft 2007-2012 leasing program, the Minerals Management Service has published a new oil and gas resource assessment for the 15 planning areas in the Alaska outer continental shelf. The previous assessment came out in 1995, with some amendments in 2002.

The new assessment for the Beaufort shelf has increased the mean estimate of technically recoverable undiscovered oil and condensate from 6.94 billion barrels to 8.22 billion barrels. The mean estimate of technically recoverable undiscovered gas has dropped from 32.07 trillion cubic feet to 27.65 tcf. For the Chukchi shelf the mean estimate of technically recoverable undiscovered oil and condensate has changed from 15.46 billion barrels to 15.38 billion barrels. The mean estimate of technically recoverable gas in the Chukchi has increased from 60.11 tcf to 76.77 tcf.

All of these estimates appear to include higher ranges of uncertainty than in previous assessments — for example, there is now thought to be a 5 percent chance of finding as much as 72.18 tcf of technically recoverable gas under the Beaufort shelf, as compared with 63.27 tcf previously.

The new assessment can be found at www.mms.gov/alaska/.

Watch for the full story in the Feb. 19 issue of Petroleum News.

Governor: ANS gas could be flowing by 2014

In an update on gas pipeline negotiations addressed to legislators, and released to the press this afternoon, Gov. Frank Murkowski reviewed progress to date and said the state “has reached agreement with ConocoPhillips on gas fiscal certainty terms and is nearing agreement on similar gas fiscal certainty terms with BP and ExxonMobil.”

He said the final contract is expected to contain the same terms for all three companies and that the Legislature is likely to pass a revision of Alaska’s existing oil tax system before it adjourns in May and those oil tax revisions will then need to be integrated into the proposed fiscal contract.

“Assuming the successful completion of contract negotiations in the first half of 2006 and their approval by the Alaska Legislature, the Producer Group will begin the planning and permitting activities necessary to commence actual construction. He noted that Canadian permitting and right-of-way issues still need to be resolved.

The governor concluded by saying: “Today’s best estimate is that the FERC ‘open season’ likely will take place in 2007, construction likely will commence in 2009-10, and the pipeline may well be in operation by 2014.”

North Slope, Beaufort sales set for fall

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas has tentatively scheduled North Slope Areawide 2006A and Beaufort Sea Areawide 2006A lease sales for October, and issued a call for new information.

This returns the sales to their original schedule. What would have been the North Slope and Beaufort Sea 2005 areawide sales, now North Slope Areawide 2006 and Beaufort Sea Areawide 2006, will be held March 1.

For additional information see the division’s Web site at www.dog.dnr.state.ak.us.

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