February 19, 2009 --- Vol. 15, No. 19February 2009

Murkowski to propose directional drilling for ANWR

Sen. Lisa Murkowski plans to introduce legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by drilling directionally from outside the boundaries of the area.

Alaska’s senior senator said the solution would provide access to at least some of the resources believed to be in refuge without disturbing the actual land in the coastal plain.

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said the refuge might be able to be taped from offshore state lands or waters.

“The Nation gets its oil. Those who are concerned about the loss of wilderness get to enjoy the refuge as it exists today. Impacts to subsistence are minimized, if not eliminated,” Murkowski told Alaska lawmakers in Juneau this morning.

Murkowski estimated that current directional drilling technology would only be able to tap around 10 percent of the oil and 80 percent of the natural gas in the coastal plain of ANWR.

Murkowski said that Alaska needs to unite around a single plan for a large diameter natural gas pipeline now, before a 2010 open season, and reach consensus on fiscal terms.

“This is one case where we cannot blame the federal government for delays in a major Alaska capital project. When the Federal Government has been asked to step up — whether it’s been to mitigate the financial risk of the project, to streamline permitting, or to open the federal coordinator’s office — it has,” Murkowski said.

She also endorsed a bullet line to alleviate Railbelt energy problems.

“As we think about our energy challenges it’s not the gas line or the bullet line. It’s the bullet line and the gas line. Both need to move forward with all deliberate speed,” she said.

Murkowski also discussed the high cost of energy in rural Alaska, increasing renewable energy, the delays in transferring land to Alaska as required by the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act and the increasing amount of natural gas supplies in the Lower 48.

See story in March 1 issue of Petroleum News, available online at noon, Friday, Feb. 27 at

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