Murkowski Highlights Need, Opportunity to Boost American Oil and Gas Development in Low Price Environment

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today called the current low price environment surrounding oil and gas development an opportunity to pursue federal reforms that will boost energy production and provide economic benefits across the nation. Murkowski pointed to state-level efforts in Alaska as an example of how timely policies can encourage investment and noted a range of actions that should be taken at the federal level.

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“Oil and gas prices are low today, but they won’t be low forever. As oil and gas production is heavily capital intensive, investments must be made well in advance for projects to come online when increased production is needed,” Murkowski said. “When oil prices reached all-time lows in Alaska, the state worked diligently to ensure that our public policy remained attractive to resource investment. That should be our goal across the nation: to ensure that America remains an attractive place to produce the resources we need, and will use, right here at home.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the case for modernizing federal policies related to access, leasing, and permitting to encourage investment in oil and gas development at all price levels. Current policy often serves as a disincentive to domestic production, leaving the resources produced in foreign nations more attractive for energy consumption. Murkowski noted that making American oil and gas production more competitive would boost job creation and revenue generation, even as it protects national security and provides greater leverage on the international stage.  

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“We need to provide new access, we need to establish reasonable systems for leasing and development, and we need to reform what is often an overly cumbersome permitting process,” Murkowski said. “Right now, we do not have that system at the federal level, but with policy improvements, we can get there.  And we should be tackling this right now – not the next time oil is at $100 a barrel, or even more.”

Murkowski at Tuesday’s hearing released a report entitled The Alaska Exception: Energy and the FrontierIt is the first in a series of forthcoming staff reports entitled Alaska: First in Energy that will detail a pathway forward to ensure that Alaska remains first in energy throughout the nation and the world.

Alaska holds an estimated 37.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable conventional oil, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. Much of that resource base is located beneath federal lands and waters, however, and the federal government has chosen to restrict development, against the wishes of the vast majority of Alaskans, rather than facilitate responsible development. Alaska’s oil and gas as well as its condensate and methane hydrate resources hold great benefits for the state.

Witness testimony and archive video of Tuesday’s hearing is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.

Related Issues: Energy