2023 Could Be Both Amazing and Frustrating for Alaska Energy Projects

2023 Could Be Both Amazing and Frustrating for Alaska Energy Projects

December 29, 2022

With 2022 nearly in the rear-view mirror, it is time to look ahead to what could be the headline energy stories in 2023.

For starters, Alaska should know the fate of the Willow oil and gas project sometime in March, according to the Department of Interior. If you believe their timelines they promised Alaska’s Congressional delegation (color us somewhat skeptical, as Interior hasn’t shown itself to be able to follow-through on its commitments), a final review and revised Environmental Impact Statement will be done by then. Interior’s slow-rolling the review has caused a winter’s worth of delay for ConocoPhillips Alaska, making the project’s first oil delayed by a year. Assuming the go-ahead is ultimately given, production in excess of 150,000 barrels a day will flow down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline system in a few years. That’s fantastic news!

Another massive field on the Slope, Santos’ Pikka project, was given investment go-ahead in 2022, and is moving forward, with its first of what should ramp up to 80,000 barrels a day of production coming in 2026. This is an outstanding development, and should lead to additional exploration and discovery opportunities in the Nanushuk formation in coming years.

Will 2023 bring an EPA veto of the Pebble project? While nearly everyone expects that decision to come down soon after the new year, it won’t be the death of the project that ENGOs and some in the media would like everyone to believe. The project, on State of Alaska land, contains nearly a trillion dollars of known copper, gold, molybdenum, rhenium and other minerals. It would be wise of the State to aggressively fight for this project in the courts of law and public opinion, and we’ll continue to assert that Pebble is both good for Alaska – with its jobs and revenue potential – and good for those who preach an energy transition. Build Pebble!

Other factors that could harm our state’s development opportunities in 2023 include the federal government’s continued regulatory attacks, delays and overreaches, as well as over-aggressive and politically-charged ESG initiatives, backed by extremist environmentalists who hate any type of development in Alaska. We’ll continue to fight back against both, lending our support to the men and women in the Great Land who work every day to power Alaska’s future.