Alaska News

After a decade, oil begins flowing from National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Commercial oil production has begun in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

ConocoPhillips Alaska made that announcement on Tuesday, saying oil has begun flowing at its CD5 drill site, part of the Alpine field on the North Slope. The production is coming from Alaska Native lands within the boundaries of the Indiana-sized reserve, created as a naval petroleum reserve after World War I.

The oil giant is also pursuing other development in the reserve, including Greater Moose's Tooth 1 where the Bureau of Land Management recently approved a drilling permit. If funding is approved by ConocoPhillips, a decision is expected later this year, the $900 million project is expected to result in the first production from federal land in the reserve.

CD5 is located eight miles east of Greater Moose's Tooth 1. ConocoPhillips said in a statement that peak production at the $1 billion CD5 project could reach 16,000 barrels of oil daily.

"First oil at CD5 is a landmark for our company, Kuukpik Corporation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and for Alaska," said Joe Marushack, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska. "This announcement is the culmination of more than 10 years of work and collaboration with key stakeholders, including the residents of the nearby village of Nuiqsut."

CD5 sits on land owned by the Kuukpik Corporation, the village corporation for Nuiqsut. Mineral rights are owned largely by ASRC, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the North Slope.

ConocoPhillips also announced earlier this month that oil began flowing at the Kuparuk Drill Site 2S, where peak production is expected to reach up to 8,000 barrels daily.


A statement from the company said its "continued focus on investment in Alaska is due in part to tax reform passed in 2013."

The trans-Alaska pipeline system moved 525,000 barrels on Monday, one-fourth of the amount moved in the late 1980s.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or