By Ilya Kharlamov
The American authorities have issued a permit to ConocoPhillips to develop the National Petroleum Reserves in Alaska.
The production of oil could start in 2015, and in the beginning, it will be up to 18,000 barrels per day. ConocoPhillips plan to invest over half a billion dollars in the project. The reserves at the field are estimated at about one billion barrels. The lack of infrastructure and complicated natural conditions increase the cost of production, but the company is ready to bear these additional costs. In fact, ConocoPhillips is not the only company that will develop natural resources in Alaska. According to President Barack Obama, auctions to sell licenses to develop the National Petroleum Reserve will be held annually.
The question why the U.S. has decided to issue permits to develop National Petroleum Reserves at the present moment worries experts across the world. According to director of the Energy Development Fund, Sergei Pikin, there are no objective reasons.
“There is a sufficient volume of reserves abroad which can be developed, and oil can be delivered to America. There is no pressure on oil prices which are not critical for the U.S. The oil price has recently remained stable at the level of less the one hundred dollars a barrel. Consequently, I believe that America is eyeing at the Arctic shelf,” Sergei Pikin said.
The U.S. Energy Security Council was set up late last month. This move also puzzled experts. At present, a sharp rise in the oil price cannot be seen and natural gas is getting cheaper owing to a growth in domestic production. Most likely, American politicians and businessmen who initiated the creation of the council are worried by the country’s dependence on oil imports. They believe that oil supplies from the Middle East countries strengthen the financial basis of international terrorists who continue to pose a basic threat to the U.S.
The former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan has warned that subversive actions against oil facilities in the Middle East and a growth in China’s demand could sharply increase oil prices. American analysts insist that the price of a barrel could reach up to 150 dollars in a couple of years, says an expert at the Energy Development Fund, Alexander Pacechnik.
“The Americans are acting with a view to the future. They buy oil from other countries while keeping their own oil in reserves intact. The U.S. wants to get rid of this dependence. In fact, the situation on the market is such that it is advantageous to produce oil even under difficult conditions,” Alexander Pacechnik said.
Notably, the entire transport infrastructure in the U.S. works on fuel. Any disruption in oil imports might cause serious damage to the American economy. This is the reason why the lion’s share of the American Defence budget has been directed to guarantee the safety of oil shipping routes. In fact, the U.S. Defence Department is also trying to reduce its dependence on oil imports. It has recently bought 450,000 gallons of bio-fuel to meet the demands of the U.S. Navy at a price five times higher than that of ordinary fuel.
In the light of this situation, Conoco Phillips will be the first in line for the development of the country’s strategic reserves.