Timeline of Industry in Alaska

1902
First Commercial Production
First commercial oil production occurs on private land near Katalla, a remote settlement along Alaska’s southern coast (47 miles southeast of Cordova). This small oilfield also led to construction of Alaska Territory’s first refinery, which produced a total of 6.5 million gallons of distillates in its short lifetime.
1923
President Harding creates Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, setting aside 23 million acres in the northern tip of Alaska to provide an emergency oil supply for the U.S. Navy. Later named the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) in 1976.
1957
The True Beginning
On July 19, 1957, the Swanson River oil field in Kenai is discovered, after 165 consecutive unsuccessful wells had been drilled in Alaska. “The timing and significance of this discovery sparked an Alaskan industry and demonstrated the territory’s ability to develop its own mineral resources and helped pave the way to Alaskan statehood in 1959.” (Kevin R. Eastham, 2013)

Wellhead price of U.S. crude oil is $3.09 per barrel.
1959
Statehood
Alaska becomes 49th state.


First offshore Cook Inlet lease sale.


Kenai gas field discovered (production begins 1961).


First oil and gas revenues in Alaska total $3 million, 12% of unrestricted general fund.
1960
President Eisenhower establishes the 8.9 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Range, later renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
1961
Sterling gas field discovered in Cook Inlet.


Production begins at Swanson River oil field.


State petroleum revenues increase from $10 million in 1960 to $26 million in 1961.
1962
Beluga River gas field discovered on Kenai Peninsula.
1963
Middle Ground Shoal, the first offshore field in Cook Inlet, discovered (production begins 1965).


Cook Inlet natural gas becomes the major fuel source for power generation to Southcentral Alaska communities.
1964
State holds first North Slope lease sale.


9.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Alaska.


First of 16 offshore platforms installed in Cook Inlet.
1965
Granite Point, McArthur River, Trading Bay are discovered in Cook Inlet (production begins 1967).
1966
Alaska Oil and Gas Association established.
1967
Beaver Creek gas field discovered on Kenai Peninsula.
1968
Prudhoe Bay, largest oil field in North America, discovered (production begins 1977).


Largest fertilizer plant on the West Coast opens in Kenai using Cook Inlet gas.


State petroleum revenues increase to $52 million; 46% of unrestricted general fund.
1969
State receives a record $900 million from North Slope lease sale.


America’s second largest oil field, Kuparuk, discovered (production begins 1981).


Tesoro’s Kenai refinery at Nikiski comes on-line.


Milne Point discovered (production begins 1985).


Congress passes National Environmental Policy Act; U.S. enters new era of environmental awareness.


Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Nikiski, only one of its type in North America, begins exporting to Japan.


Oil companies announce plans to build an 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline system, referred to as TAPS.
1970
State petroleum revenues leap to 88% of unrestricted general fund.


Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. is incorporated.


Cook Inlet oil production peaks at 225,000 barrels per day (bpd).
1971
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) passed by Congress; clears way for authorization of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).
1973
Trans Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act becomes law, authorizing construction of the 800-mile pipeline.


Arab oil embargo reduces America’s oil supply causing gasoline shortages.
1974
Construction begins on TAPS; estimated cost $900 million.


Dalton Highway (The Ice road) is built connecting Fairbanks and Prudhoe bay

1975
TAPS 50% complete, employing a peak work force of 28,072.


Wellhead price of U.S. crude oil more than doubles in three years to $7.56 per barrel.
1976
Alaskans pass constitutional amendment creating the Alaska Permanent Fund, funded by 25 percent of annual state oil and gas royalties and other income.


First federal offshore lease sale (OCS) held in Alaska (Gulf of Alaska).
1977
TAPS complete; largest project ever constructed with total workforce of 70,000, final costs of $8 billion.


First oil flows from TAPS Pump Station 1, June 20, 1977 about 10 a.m.


Prudhoe Bay production begins; originally projected 9.6 billion total recoverable reserves.


Earth Resources Co. (later Flint Hills) refinery comes on-line in North Pole.


The Alaska Permanent Fund receives its first deposit of dedicated oil revenues totally $734,000.
1978
Endicott discovered; first offshore oil field in the U.S. Arctic (production begins 1987).
1979
Iranian revolution causes second oil embargo and oil supply shortage.


Wellhead price of U.S. crude oil exceeds $10 per barrel.


Joint Federal/State Beaufort Sea lease sale receives bids totaling more than $1 billion.
1,000th tanker leaves Valdez.


Petroleum revenue doubles in one year ($821 million); 73% of unrestricted general fund, which exceeds $1 billion for first time.
1980
One billionth barrel flows through TAPS.


Congress passes Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).


President Jimmy Carter sets aside eight percent of ANWR for oil and gas development, known as the 1002 Area.


The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. is established. Legislature makes first special appropriation of $900 million of oil revenues to the Permanent Fund.


Legislature establishes the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) program.


Wellhead price of U.S. crude oil – $21.59 per barrel.


State petroleum revenue triples in one year; 90% of $2.5 billion unrestricted general fund.
1981
First Kuparuk oil delivered to pipeline.


State petroleum revenue exceeds $3 billion, 90% of unrestricted general fund.
1982
Beaufort Sea OCS lease sale generates more than $2 billion.


Oil prices rise to $34 per barrel.


469,740 Alaskans receive first PFD of $1,000 each.


State petroleum revenue exceeds $3.5 billion, 87% of the record high $4.1 billion unrestricted general fund.
1983
$2 billion water flood project adds 1 billion barrels to expected Prudhoe Bay recovery.
1985
Petro Star begins second North Pole refinery.
1986
5 billionth barrel arrives in Valdez through TAPS.


Saudi Arabia increases oil export—wellhead price of U.S. crude falls from $24 to $12.


Central Gas Facility (CGF), world’s largest miscible gas recovery project, constructed to handle up to 3.8 bcf/d at Prudhoe Bay.


First new platform in 18 years in Cook Inlet – Steelhead.


Alaska receives $2.7 billion in petroleum revenues, 86% of unrestricted general fund.
1987
10th anniversary of the Prudhoe Bay field and trans-Alaska pipeline.


Oil prices collapse; state petroleum revenue and general fund are half of previous year.
1988
North Slope production peaks at 2 million bpd.


Pt. McIntyre oil field discovered (production begins 1993).
1989
Permanent Fund assets reach $10 billion.


Exxon Valdez oil spill occurs.


Ship Escort Response Vessel System (SERVS) established for oil spill prevention and response in Prince William Sound.
1990
GHX I gas handling expansion of CGF (3.8 to 5.2 bcf/d), increasing daily oil production by 100,000 barrels.


Persian Gulf War starts; oil prices increase to more than $20 per barrel.


Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund (CBR) created by constitutional amendment.
1991
Natural gas prices average $1.46 per btu.
1992
Kuparuk production peaks at 322,000 bpd.


Petro Star builds Valdez refinery, last all-new refinery in the U.S.
1994
10 billionth barrel arrives Valdez.


Alpine oil field, largest onshore oilfield discovered in North America in the past decade, discovered on the North Slope (production begins 2000).


U.S. imports exceed 50% of petroleum supply.


CBR receives first deposit; over the next 13 years, CBR will be used 9 times to make up state budget shortfalls.
1995
GHX II gas handling expansion at CGF (5.2 to 7.5 bcf/d), increasing ultimate recovery by 400,000 barrels.


$175 million investment in Kuparuk enhanced recovery project; recovery increased by 200 million barrels.
1996
Gas production in Cook Inlet peaks at 223 bcf/year.
1998
State institutes Areawide leasing program.
1999
Miscible Injectant “MIX” project adds to the Prudhoe Bay’s gas handling capacity (7.5 to 9 bcf/d).


First BLM lease sale in the NPR-A since the 1980’s.


Continued technological advancements lead to 80% reduction in environmental footprint.


Oil prices fall to $12 per barrel; unrestricted general fund falls to 20-year low of $1.3 billion.


Petroleum revenue drops to under $1 billion for first time since 1979; record CBR draw of over $1 billion to balance state budget.
2000
Alpine begins production.
2001
First new platform in 15 years, Ospery, installed.


Polar Endeavor, first Millennium class double-hull tanker arrives Valdez Marine Terminal.


Northstar begins production, first production from an offshore island with no road access to shore.


Kenai gas-to-liquids demonstration plant opens ($86 million investment).


$125 million invested by Producers Study Team to evaluate feasibility of construction of natural gas pipeline.


Natural gas prices increase almost 300% over a ten-year period to $5.47 per btu.
2002
Alaska renews TAPS right-of-way for 30 years.


Ninilchik – largest Cook Inlet gas discovery in 20 years.
2004
State petroleum revenue exceeds $2 billion for the first time since 1997.


First new double hull “Alaska Class” tanker begins service.


Application filed by Producer Sponsor Group under the Alaska Stranded Gas Act to negotiate terms for development of $20+ billion natural gas pipeline.
2005
15 billionth barrel of oil transported through TAPS.


Oil prices reach all-time high of $70 per barrel.


Alaska Permanent Fund Value reaches $32 billion.
2006
State petroleum revenues projected to reach a record high of $4 billion.


Some 600,000 Alaskans to receive 25th consecutive PFD. Alaskans receiving dividends since 1982 will have received more than $25,000.
Legislature signs into law the Petroleum Profits Tax, a new method of determining oil taxes.

2007
Gov. Sarah Palin signs the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
2008
The Ooguruk oil field begins production operated by Pioneer


The second most successful oil and gas lease in the history of the United States takes place covering millions of acres in the Chukchi Sea
2010
The Alaska Legisalture passes HB 280, also called the Cook Inlet Recovery Act
2012
Kara Moriarty becomes the CEO of AOGA


Apache Corporation drills their first well in Alaska


The Alaska Permanent fund increases to 41 billion dollars


Chevron sells the Cook Inlet drilling site to Hillcorp
2013
Over 22,500 jobs created in the Oil and Gas community
2014
Cook Inlet oil production increases by 80 percent after the recovery act is passed


Hillcorp becomes a North Slope operator with the purchase of BP’s intrest in Endicott and North Star Oilfields
2015
CD5 Alpine West oilfield begins production operated by ConocoPhillips
2016
Point Thompson oil field begins production operated by ExonMobil
2017
Congress approves coastal plain drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve


Prudhoe bay reachs 40 years of driling


Oil production begins in Nuna operated by ConocoPhillips
2018
Prudhoe bay celebrates 50 years after its first discovery of oil
2019
Alaska reachs over 18 billion gallons of oil


Kenai oil refinery celebrates its 50 year of operation


50 years ago Kuparuk discovers oil
2020
COVID-19 spreads to Alaska causing the lost gas prices in history
2021
The Bureau of Land Management conducts the firts approval in the coastal plain of ANWR