ANCHORAGE - Kevin Meyers, ConocoPhillips' North American exploration and production senior vice president, told the Alaska World Trade Center annual conference that with no new oil discoveries, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which provides 90 percent of state revenues, could in a few years dry up to a minimum operating level of 500,000 b/d.
Small discoveries, efficiencies and new developments near known fields could perhaps stretch it to eight, he said.
Meyers says there is little oil exploration under way.
Almost any hope for a new discovery lies offshore, but the federal government has blocked drilling there while it reviews offshore safety in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Meyers says the industry knows where the onshore oil is in the Arctic and needs only the right fiscal structure to get the job done.
The TAPS line is currently operating two-thirds empty, and the flow is dropping by six percent a year.