ANWR may gets some drilling rigs with Trump as President

Bloomberg:
Far above the Arctic Circle, one of the longest-running controversies in U.S. oil drilling is about to reignite.

Bouyed by Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are pushing to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the frigid wilderness in northern Alaska that’s been a political battleground for drillers and conservationists for decades. The prospects for industry look better than they have in years, with Republicans in control of Congress and Trump vowing to boost U.S. energy production.

There’s just one catch. No one really knows how much oil actually lies beneath the refuge, or how much producers like Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips care about it in a world awash in cheap oil, from Texas shale to offshore Africa. While the government estimates the area could hold 12 billion barrels of crude, making it one of the biggest untapped reserves in the U.S., no one’s sunk a well there since the 1980s.

“Its value is hard to gauge because it’s always been a bit theoretical,” said Andrew Slaughter, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions in Houston. “No administration has really wanted to take on the challenge of going for ANWR.”

That may be about to change. The aging Trans Alaska Pipeline, once the symbol of energy independence for an oil-strapped nation, is now on the verge of obsolescence. The 800-mile system links northern Alaska to the rest of the world, but its output has been falling as fields outside the refuge fade out and supplies from shale oil in the lower states grow.

While it may take a decade for ANWR to start producing oil, the new supply would go a long way toward ensuring the survival of the pipeline and the jobs that go with it, according to U.S. senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The two Alaska Republicans introduced legislation this month to allow development of as many as 2,000 acres in the refuge.
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I think their timeline is too pessimistic.  I don't underestimate the difficulties of getting equipment to the site in ANWR, but US producers have become much more efficient in the past few years and I expect they can be up and running pretty quicly once the get the go ahead.

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