Timeline of Industry in Alaska

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.
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.
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.
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.
President Eisenhower establishes the 8.9 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Range, later renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
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.
Beluga River gas field discovered on Kenai Peninsula.
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.
State holds first North Slope lease sale.

9.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Alaska.

First of 16 offshore platforms installed in Cook Inlet.
Granite Point, McArthur River, Trading Bay are discovered in Cook Inlet (production begins 1967).
Alaska Oil and Gas Association established.
Beaver Creek gas field discovered on Kenai Peninsula.
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.
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.
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).
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) passed by Congress; clears way for authorization of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).
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.
Construction begins on TAPS; estimated cost $900 million.

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

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.
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).
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.
Endicott discovered; first offshore oil field in the U.S. Arctic (production begins 1987).
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.
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.
First Kuparuk oil delivered to pipeline.

State petroleum revenue exceeds $3 billion, 90% of unrestricted general fund.
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.
$2 billion water flood project adds 1 billion barrels to expected Prudhoe Bay recovery.
Petro Star begins second North Pole refinery.
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.
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.
North Slope production peaks at 2 million bpd.

Pt. McIntyre oil field discovered (production begins 1993).
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.
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.
Natural gas prices average $1.46 per btu.
Kuparuk production peaks at 322,000 bpd.

Petro Star builds Valdez refinery, last all-new refinery in the U.S.
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.
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.
Gas production in Cook Inlet peaks at 223 bcf/year.
State institutes Areawide leasing program.
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.
Alpine begins production.
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.
Alaska renews TAPS right-of-way for 30 years.

Ninilchik – largest Cook Inlet gas discovery in 20 years.
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.
15 billionth barrel of oil transported through TAPS.

Oil prices reach a record (at that time) high of $70 per barrel.

Alaska Permanent Fund Value reaches $32 billion.
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.
The Petroleum Profits Tax becomes law, a new method of determining oil taxes.

Gov. Sarah Palin signs the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
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
The Alaska Legislature passes HB 280, also called the Cook Inlet Recovery Act
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
Over 22,500 jobs created in the Oil and Gas community
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
CD5 Alpine West oilfield begins production operated by ConocoPhillips
Point Thompson oil field begins production operated by ExxonMobil
Congress approves coastal plain drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve

Prudhoe bay reachs 40 years of driling

Oil production begins in Nuna operated by ConocoPhillips
Prudhoe bay celebrates 50 years after its first discovery of oil
Alaska reaches over 18 billion barrels of oil

Kenai oil refinery celebrates its 50 year of operation

50 years ago Kuparuk oil was discovered
COVID-19 spreads to Alaska causing the lowest gas prices in history
The Bureau of Land Management conducts the first approval in the coastal plain of ANWR