The only way Arctic Alaska oil exploration is going to happen again is with very strong Government commitment to success and active support. This will require a pro-business, pro-energy security Republican Administration to be in place for a number of years.
We should move ahead with building a fleet of new icebreakers that are also capable of doing the most advanced 3D seismic surveys. We should do a thorough survey of the Arctic Alaska shelf and nearby Deepwater, and publish that data. We should build an Arctic port at Point Hope and a sub-Arctic port at Port Clarence that will be ready to support oil drilling next time. The Government should retain a 12 percent royalty interest but award the leases for free to oil companies with state of the art equipment and exploration plans that are ready to drill. The next time drilling begins, there should be a minimum of five oil companies drilling with at least 10 rigs to reach critical mass and find oil the first season.
There should be no more stupid whales and walrus “protection” rules, or other intentional obstacles. If whales are scared off (very doubtful) so that Natives cannot hunt and kill them, that’s a good thing. Same with the walruses. Our Arctic drilling rules should be at least as stringent as Norway’s, but any additional rules should be subjected to a serious cost benefit analysis before adoption.
We need to show that we are open for business and an active partner with a stake in a successful outcome, or no one should ever drill in the Arctic again.