This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Shale Oil: Geologist's Alaska Gamble Could Turn Into America's Next Big Shale Play

He added: "The rocks are going to tell us what we want to do."

Duncan predicts that the North Slope could see massive new unconventional oil development, beginning with the Great Bear prospect.

"I think a reasonable pace of development for a play like this for our company would be eight development pads per year with perhaps as many as 20 to 24 wells per pad," he explained. "So if everything goes well, 200 wells per year would be a meaningful number."

In 2011 testimony before the Alaska Legislature, Duncan boldly predicted that the unconventional oil fields on his leases could produce 200,000 barrels of crude per day by 2020. He expects production to peak at 600,000 bpd in 2056. If the North Slope shale oil fields are as rich as Duncan anticipates, Alaska could see decades of unconventional oil and gas development.

"Just as we're seeing with the Bakken and the Eagle Ford and the Marcellus in the lower 48, these are plays that will be actively drilled through the next 30 or 40 years," he predicted.

Those rosy forecasts are making state officials bullish on Alaska's unconventional oil and gas future. "We're really just starting to unlock the unconventional plays here," Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan said. "The key is the technology and the cost to unlock it."

'Seed kernel' planted in the '80's

Great Bear's Anchorage conference room is dominated by a massive canvas map of Alaska's North Slope, with ownership of the oil leases marked in bright squares of color across the terrain. The company's leases, designated in yellow, stretch across the state's transportation spine -- the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

The proximity is no accident. Great Bear officials recognize that the gravel Dalton Highway, the only road that runs from Fairbanks to the North Slope oil fields, would provide year-round access to their drilling sites. The pipeline would be the ideal vehicle to ship crude to market.

2 of 7

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs