| ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 5
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 5 Oil production from
Alaska's North Slope has fallen faster than expected, even
though the fiscal impact was offset by higher prices, according
to a semiannual forecast released on Friday by the Alaska
Department of Revenue.
The forecast puts average North Slope production at 538,300
barrels per day over the current fiscal year, 14,500 bpd lower
than the average the department predicted in December.
State Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher said maintenance
problems took a toll on oil output, which had totaled 579,100
bpd in fiscal 2012.
"The flow was a lot lower than we had anticipated," Butcher
said in an interview. State officials had hoped production would
rebound significantly later in the fiscal year that runs through
the end of June 2013, but "it did not," Butcher added.
The effect on state coffers was limited, however, because
North Slope (ANS) prices wound up higher than the department
expected, Butcher said. State revenues this fiscal year will
wind up only about $35 million lower than anticipated, despite
the steeper-than-expected drop in production, he said. That
compares with total expected oil revenues of $6.87 billion.
ANS prices are expected to average $109.21 per barrel in
fiscal 2013, according to the forecast.
North Slope production will continue its steady decline
through the foreseeable future, dropping to 526,600 bpd in
fiscal 2014, before sliding to 344,500 by fiscal 2022, according
to the forecast. North Slope oil output is far below peak
production of about 2.1 million bpd reached in 1988.
BP Plc, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp
are among the largest oil producers in the state.
The only new production predicted in the forecast period is
from the Point Thomson field, expected to come on line in 2016,
and fields in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, expected to
come on line in 2018.
ANS spot prices are expected to average $109.61 a barrel in
fiscal 2014 and rise to an average of $123.34 a barrel in fiscal
2022, according to the forecast.
Oil output in southern Alaska's Cook Inlet, a mature basin
that began producing in the 1950s, is also expected to continue
its decline, from 10,400 bpd this fiscal year to an expected
average 5,600 bpd in fiscal 2022, according to the forecast.
About 90 percent of the state government's unrestricted
revenues come from oil taxes, royalties and fees. Alaska has no
personal income tax and no statewide sales tax.