America’s oil boom has the Texas tea flowing, whole new towns being built in North Dakota and, for the first time in decades, the U.S. producing more crude than it imports. But Alaska, a state known for its vast oil resources and pro-drilling politics, is being left in the dust of this new oil surge.
The state, with its 800-mile pipeline running from the North Slope to Valdez, has fallen to fourth among oil-producing states, now trailing Texas, North Dakota and California. It’s not sitting well with many there.
“There’s definitely a hit to the state pride,” said Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash. “There’s a certain amount of embarrassment that a place as over-regulated and over-taxed as California is eclipsing Alaska.”
Production in Alaska peaked in 1988 when companies sent 2.1 million barrels of oil per day down the pipeline. Declining ever since, last year production hit a low of 526,000 barrels per day.