The Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook on Tuesday. It shows oil production from Alaska dwindling to less than half its current level after 2030.
“Unless more oil is found in Alaska or along the pipeline right of way, it’s very possible that the Alaska pipeline itself … would end up shutting down,” says EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. The EIA is a federal agency that was established to be a source of unbiased data, independent of policymakers.
While the EIA baseline case shows Alaska contributing almost nothing to U.S. oil production in a few decades, that’s not the only scenario. If the EIA assumes advances in technology and more discovery, the forecast for Alaska production would bump along at about the current level and then rise a bit by 2040, the end of the forecast period.
What’s next for state?
The rosier scenario assumes oil production from federal waters off Alaska, starting in 2035.
As for prices, Sieminski wasn’t very specific, even over the short-term.
“If you use the current options prices, over the next year or so, what that says is oil prices could be anywhere between about $25 a barrel and $80 a barrel,” he said, summarizing data from the oil options market.
In the IEA’s baseline forecast, oil would fetch $100 a barrel by the late 2020s. But don’t bank on it: Sieminski warns that volatility is too high to forecast with much certainty what the price in a given year.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Energy challenges in Canada’s North, Eye on the Arctic
China: Chinese mega-deals in Yamal LNG, The Independent Barents Observer
Norway: OMV finds more oil in Barents Sea, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Big interest in new Arctic LNG: Novatek, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, Radio Sweden
United States: Governor fends off criticism over Alaska LNG, Alaska Dispatch News