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ESSAY: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR-Alaska)

On 16 March 2005, Congress gave its approval to begin oil exploration/drilling in The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR-Alaska). This is a controversial decision, as some believe there should be no drilling in ANWR while others believe that we must explore/drill/produce oil in ANWR to relieve some of the pressure to buy foreign oil. This DB is intended to make you aware of the region, paying particular attention to the geology of the area. The DB will require some searching on the Internet. If you can begin by doing a Google search using ANWR.

Where and how large is ANWR; when did ANWR come into existence?
What is the geological setting of the region; terrain; rock type(s); geological age of the region; other special geological features;
Depth of the oil reserve;
Estimated total amount of oil to be recovered; then annualize the value (barrels per year). How does the annualized ANWR rate compare with current amount total imported oil per year;
Provide a short discussion on whether or not you feel that the USA should be drilling for oil in ANWR.

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ANSWER

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The US prides itself on being a respected producer, supplier, and consumer of energy. There exist many U.S companies that undertake the exploration of different forms of energy with fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy being the main energy sources.  Even though oil exploration has also been an option, some regions such as The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) were initially never explored owing to their utility in preserving the national wildlife.

Location and Size of ANWR

The ANWR can be said to be a national refuge for wildlife and is located in the Northeastern sides of Alaska – United States. Its approximate area is 78,051 km2 that translates to about 19,286,722 acres of land. It is also the largest refuge of national wildlife in the country (Freudenrich, 2018).

When ANWR Came into Existence

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960, with its initial name being the Arctic National Refuge Range. Its initial size was close to 36,000km2 before it was expanded, and its name changed to the current one in 1980.

Geological Setting of ANWR

The topography of ANWR slopes from Brooks mountain range on the higher side and then to the coastal plain that follows the Beaufort Sea. The region is also dominated by the igneous and metamorphic rocks that were formed within the offshore terrains. It is estimated that the geology of the area has been in existence for more than 200 million years (Environmental and Energy Law Program, 2018).

Depth of the Oil Reserve

The exact depth of the oil reserve is not clear, but it is estimated to be 2,600 square miles as per the seismic tests done.

Estimated Amount of Oil to Be Recovered

According to the 1998 geological survey of the area, it was projected that the area could be able to produce an average of 10.4 billion barrels of oil per year. Of the total potential amount, 74% could be found on federal lands while the rest could be recovered in the state or native lands (Van, 2018).

How The Annualized Value Compares with The Current Amount That Is Imported In 2019, it is estimated that the US imported 9.1 million barrels of oil per day. This translates to 3.322 billion barrels per year. This implies that the exploration of oil in ANWR could solve the countries oil deficit and have a surplus…

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