Alaska Looks for Secure Energy Source
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce works on small details for the big picture
When it comes to Alaska’s oil and gas industry, the small details are just as important as the big picture.
That was the message at a forum of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Monday, where local business leaders and energy companies said Southcentral gas production boils down to one thing – the difference between light and darkness.
“What we have to keep in mind, especially in the Cook Inlet basin, is that it’s a source of energy first and foremost,” said president of Cook Inlet Energy and Anchorage Chamber board member J.R. Wilcox.
Chamber President Sami Glascott said it hits close to home for Anchorage businesses.
“We are facing a critical situation,” Glascott said. “We need to make sure that we have a secure energy source.”
That situation includes steadily declining gas reserves, and Wilcox said producers would need to construct 185 new wells over the next ten years in order to keep up with current demands.
“That oil and gas is used for transportation, for heat, for light and it needs to be supported,” Wilcox said.
According to Wilcox, there are several solutions to the region’s main impediments – supply and deliverability. With several significant new finds in the inlet and an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet in remaining conventional gas reserves, he said the former is a simple matter of continued exploration.
When it comes to deliverability, producers said a new storage facility on the Kenai Peninsula would temporarily alleviate energy concerns during the winter months –when demand spikes and supply remains flat.
“We don’t have a crisis until the point where we can’t meet our minimum annual demand anymore,” Wilcox said. “Then, at minimum, you’re going to need to bring in some liquefied natural gas.”
Local utility officials and energy companies said that could become reality as soon as 2013.