Murkowski Commemorates 30th Anniversary of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today spoke on the floor of the United States Senate to commemorate the 30th anniversary of oil flowing through the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline System (TAPS). “At peak production, TAPS provided the United States with 2 million barrels of oil a day, or 30 percent more oil than Saudi Arabia provides our nation today and nearly as much oil as the entire Persian Gulf provides the United States,” said Senator Murkowski. “And Alaskan oil, unlike Middle Eastern oil, does not come from unstable regimes, does not hinder our foreign policy options by bonding us and our allies to such regimes, and is not at risk of being cut off due to political instability. We have been a stable domestic supplier of the United States’ oil needs for 30 years.” TAPS has transported far more oil from Prudhoe Bay than originally anticipated. The largest field in our nation has produced 15 billion barrels of oil, and will most likely produce 18 billion barrels in its lifetime – double the amount originally forecast. Output from Prudhoe Bay, however, has fallen by more than seven percent a year recently. According to the Energy Information Administration, Prudhoe Bay production will be down to 270,000 barrels per day by 2030, a level so low that the pipeline likely will not be able to function in winter’s cold and may become completely inoperable. That could “shut-in” billions of barrels of future heavy oil deposits in the Greater Prudhoe Bay area and perhaps hamper oil recoveries from elsewhere in northern Alaska and the OCS off the state’s coast. While Prudhoe Bay has declined, U.S. oil imports have grown to account for 58 percent of our current net oil consumption. Twenty years from now that number is forecast to climb to 68 percent. “So, I ask that my colleagues and the American people, as we remember today what Alaska and the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System have given to our country, to also consider what Alaska could provide for America’s future if given the chance,” Murkowski concluded.