ConocoPhillips just wrapped up what the company says was its best exploration season in more than a decade, a development that could put more oil into the trans-Alaska pipeline system. 

In the next five years, ConocoPhillips is on track to add 100,000 barrels a day to the pipeline's current 550,000 barrels a day -- an 18 percent increase in a state where oil revenue is the main source of government income.

ConocoPhillips' plan was to drill five wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska this winter. However, the company says thanks to improved drilling efficiencies, they drilled six wells: three exploration and three appraisal. All of them encountered oil.

The oil and gas company wouldn't say how much oil was found with the discoveries, but it expects another strong season next year. The new discoveries are fueling optimism about new development on the North Slope.

ConocoPhillips Alaska's president, Joe Marushack, said in a statement that if the state maintains its fiscal policies, the winter work could lead to billions of dollars of new investment in Alaska including “significant new revenue for the state, the federal government and the North Slope Borough and villages; and the creation of hundreds of new direct jobs.”

Gov. Bill Walker visited NPR-A last month to see ConocoPhillips' exploration program. On Facebook he said that he is proud of the role his administration played in resolving significant challenges that had hindered exploration. The governor said the results confirm the area's incredible oil potential, and gets the state closer to securing significant volumes of oil for TAPS.

Last year was the second in a row during which the amount of oil flowing through the pipeline system increased. Last year it went up about 10,000 barrels a day, or 1.5 percent. At its peak, about 2 million barrels a day ran through TAPS.

In 2017, the average was 527,000 barrels a day.

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