Alaska Business Monthly
Offshore drilling in Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf became a reality when Royal Dutch Shell began drilling exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in summer 2012.
In 2009, the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy released an addendum to “Alaska North Slope Oil and Gas: A Promising Future or an Area in Decline?” that was released in 2007.
Infrastructure to Support the Growth
“Arctic development is going to require ports and infrastructure statewide,” says Sen. Mark Begich. “Development on this scale will have substantial impacts on Arctic communities and the whole state.”
This infrastructure—airports, roads, ports, pipelines and facilities—presents some unique challenges in the Arctic. “There is a lot of shallow water along the Arctic coastline,” says Henry Huntington, Arctic science director of Pew Environment Group, a nonprofit organization that works to establish science-based policies. “This presents some serious limitations on what kind of vessels can be used.”
Deepwater ports, while clearly a necessity, aren’t ideally suited for the soft shorelines in the Arctic, he says. “There are no areas along the Arctic Coast that are suitable for a real harbor or port,” says Huntington. “Everything is exposed and shallow.”
Read the full article, Arctic Infrastructure Needed for Resource Development and Delivery, on the Alaska Business Monthly website.