Oil field data worth millions of dollars is about to be made public

September 7, 2017

[Alaska] - The state is planning to release a trove of seismic data from oil exploration surveys as early as mid-September that cost many millions of dollars to collect in an unusual step aimed at attracting new exploration on the North Slope.

The release of the seven seismic reports, associated primarily with past North Slope exploration, is required for projects that benefited from Alaska tax credits. The requirement was created in 2003, but seismic information can't be released under the program until 10 years have passed since its collection.

The first-ever release under the program came in November. It included publication of a single seismic survey from the North Slope, known as Storms 3D, and covering a large area south of Prudhoe Bay.

The state hopes the information, including the upcoming release, leads to strong bidding at the state's next lease auctions for Cook Inlet and the North Slope, said Mark Wiggin, deputy commissioner of the state's Natural Resources Department.

The annual lease sales are expected to be held before year's end.

"Some of these data sets are extraordinarily expensive to shoot" and companies will be anxious to get their hands on them, said Wiggin.

The information can expedite project development, potentially shaving off years because a key and costly step, collecting seismic information, has already been completed, he said.

Additional seismic surveys will be released in the future, after the 10-year deadline is triggered. The state subsidy in tax credits totals about $400 million for about 50 surveys over the years, Wiggin said.

The state, through the tax-credit program, often reimbursed companies for two thirds of their exploration costs.

The already released Storms 3D data covered a 400-square-mile area at a decade-old project that had involved ConocoPhillips...

Read entire story at Alaska Dispatch.

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