Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:

An Assessment of Interior's Estimate of an Economically Viable Oil Field

RCED-93-130: Published: Jul 9, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the accuracy of the Department of the Interior's 1991 estimate of potential oil resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), focusing on whether: (1) economically viable quantities exist; (2) Interior used an adequate methodology; and (3) Interior's geologic and economic assumptions were reasonable.

GAO found that: (1) although the extent of ANWR oil resources is not known, Interior used the best available geologic and geophysical data in developing its estimate; (2) Interior used generally accepted methodologies to determine that substantial oil reserves could be contained in the ANWR coastal plain; (3) Interior's estimate did not fully account for how future oil prices will affect economically viable quantities of oil; and (4) additional cost factors including oil field size, pipeline transportation, and preventative environmental measures could also affect Interior's estimate.

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