Expanded Alaska drilling expected

Sam Eaton Aug 21, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Expanded Alaska drilling expected

Sam Eaton Aug 21, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

BRIAN WATT: We’ve all heard of ANWR, but just west of the reserve lies a vast area of unprotected wetlands that the Department of the Interior is expected to open to oil drilling this week. It’s one of the most easily accessible untapped oil reserves in the nation. But like ANWR, it’s also considered environmentally sensitive. Recent news of corroding pipelines in Prudhoe Bay have many questioning whether drilling there is worth the risk. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk Sam Eaton reports.


SAM EATON: The department of Interior estimates 8 million acres in and around Lake Teshekpuk could hold some two billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Oppenheimer and Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit doubts those figures, but he says with today’s technology and high oil prices it doesn’t take much to make a new drilling project worthwhile.

FADEL GHEIT: We don’t have to hit a grand slam first at bat. We can win the game winning singles and doubles.

But environmentalists say long term costs to the area’s rich ecosystem outweigh any short-term boost to domestic oil supplies.

Especially when you consider the track record for North Slope drilling says Alaska Coalition’s Aurah Landau.

AURAH LANDAU: There are chronic problems including well failures, oil spills, toxic dumping, air pollution, worker safety violations. And the BP shutdown, frankly, is just sort of the rest of the country realizing what’s happening up here.

Landau says there’s a reason that even the Reagan administration kept this area off limits.

I’m Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.