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Sen. Murkowski: Directional Drilling Provides Compromise to Safely and Quickly Tap ANWR’s Oil Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today heard testimony about advances in exploration and drilling technologies that have dramatically reduced the costs and greatly reduce the environmental footprint of oil and natural gas production. These advances could significantly increase domestic production once applied in areas like the non-wilderness portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

"Advances in how we find and develop our vast natural resources have made production in Alaska and elsewhere both safer and more economical," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. "With oil prices soaring above $100 a barrel and our nation more than 50 percent dependent on foreign imports, we must take steps today to increase domestic production and take responsibility for our energy needs."

Directional drilling and other technological advances hold great promise for creating new jobs, generating new federal revenues and meeting the president's own goal of reducing oil imports by a third by 2025.

Through the use of directional drilling, it's possible to tap the vast oil resources beneath ANWR from state lands with minimal disturbance to the surface of the refuge.

The ANWR coastal plain holds America's greatest potential for a major oil and natural gas discovery. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain has a 50 percent chance of containing 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Recent polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Alaskans support development in the area.

The Congressional Research Service estimates federal revenues from ANWR development could total $152.9 billion if the price of oil stays at $100 per barrel.

"The Energy Committee has now heard expert testimony that reinforces how we can use our technology to access the tremendous resources in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR," said Murkowski, the ranking member of the Energy Committee. "Especially in light of today's hearing, I hope my colleagues will help advance the legislation that I've introduced to ensure a stable supply of the energy resources that America will depend on for decades to come."

Murkowski has introduced two bills this Congress that would increase domestic oil production by tapping the energy resources in the non-wilderness section of ANWR.

"As our nation grapples with a $1 trillion budget deficit, $14 trillion in national debt and a lack of capital to incentivize renewable and alternative energy, it is folly for us to further delay new onshore oil development from Alaska," Murkowski said. "Production from ANWR will lower our unsustainable debt; improve our national security; reduce our trade deficit; create well-paying American jobs; and provide a long-lasting source of funds that can help us develop the next generation of energy technologies." 

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