Morning Headlamp — ConocoPhillips Finds 300 Million Barrels on North Slope

Another home run. According to multiple reports, ConocoPhillips has a new 300 million-barrel oil discovery in the federal National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the company’s Alaska President Joe Marushack said Friday morning at the Alaska Support Industry Alliance’s annual Meet Alaska. While still an early stage find, Willow could produce up to 100,000 barrels per day of light oil, according to Marushack.

“This discovery is tremendously exciting not only for ConocoPhillips, but also for the state of Alaska. Willow’s proximity to existing infrastructure improves the economic viability of the discovery,” Marushack said. He said the estimated size of the discovery is “respectable,” with Conoco saying it may contain more than 300 million barrels of recoverable oil. Conoco holds a 78 percent working interest in the Willow leases; Anadarko Petroleum Corp. holds the remaining 22 percent ownership share. The two are partners in much of the western North Slope acreage Conoco operates.

Headlamp applauds the great news from the North Slope! Follow major discoveries like Caelus’ this summer, this is a major find that should not be squandered.

A new 90-day legislative session begins tomorrow, with many lawmakers citing a sense of urgency amid the continued drawdown of state savings. Last year’s regular and special sessions were snarled by gridlock ahead of a heated election season. “What is needed is for everyone to recognize they’re not going to get everything that they want, that the solution here is truly going to be, I guess, Alaska’s great compromise,” Rep. Lance Pruitt said. Meanwhile, while this year’s losses in many industries across the state are not predicted to be as tremendous as they were in 2016, the state’s economy is still far from being out of the woods. “Simply put, Alaska’s economic health is in peril and will be catastrophic if the Alaska Legislature fails to pass a sustainable budget,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas in an economic trends report released last week. “In the absence of a fiscal plan, job losses will continue, population loss is inevitable, and the weak job market will have negative ripple effects on real estate.”

Global oil prices will witness “much more volatility” in 2017 even though markets may rebalance in the first half of the year if output cuts pledged by producers are implemented, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Sunday. “I would expect that we will see a rebalancing of the markets within the first half of this year,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of IEA, the Paris-based global energy watchdog.


First Reads

ConocoPhillips announces big find on North Slope

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, January 13, 2017

ConocoPhillips announces Alaska discovery with daily production potential of 100,000 barrels

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, January 14, 2017

Alaska legislators see urgency in budget work but face rifts

Associated Press, Becky Bohrer, January 15, 2017

Economic forecast in Alaska grim for 2017

The Bristol Bay Times, January 13, 2017

Oil Prices Will Be Much More Volatile in 2017

Fortune, January 15, 2017