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Alaska

Land ownership

Natural resource extraction varies widely from state to state. In Alaska, extractive industries accounted for 15.0% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, and jobs in the extractive industries made up 4.4% of statewide employment.

Alaska leads the nation in production of:

    Natural resource ownership in the U.S. is closely tied to land ownership. Land can be owned by citizens, corporations, Indian tribes or individuals, or governments (for instance, federal, state, or local governments). Much of the data on this site is limited to natural resource extraction on federal land, which represents 61.2% of all land in Alaska.

    Alaska also borders an offshore area with significant natural resource extraction, which may contribute to the state’s economy. For production and revenue data about offshore extraction near Alaska, see offshore Alaska.

    The state of Alaska chose to participate in an extended reporting process, so this page includes additional state revenue and disbursements data, as well as contextual information about state governance of natural resources.

    For a detailed view of how oil extraction affects communities in Alaska, read the North Slope Borough case study.

    Production

    Energy production: The U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes a profile of energy production and usage in Alaska.

    Alaska ranks among the top five states in the U.S. for production of:

    • Natural gas: #3 in the nation (9% of U.S. production)
    • Crude oil: #4 in the nation (5% of U.S. production)

    Nonenergy minerals: The U.S. Geological Survey publishes information about nonenergy mineral extraction in the USGS Minerals Yearbook for Alaska.

    The Energy Information Administration collects data about all energy-related natural resources produced on federal, state, and privately owned land.

    Downloads and documentation

    Coal

    932,122 tons of coal were produced in 2016.

    Hydroelectric

    1,659,152 Mwh of hydroelectric were produced in 2016.

    Crude oil

    179,169,000 barrels of crude oil were produced in 2016.

    Natural gas

    3,229,968,000 Mcf of natural gas were produced in 2016.

    Other biomass

    43,017 Mwh of other biomass were produced in 2016.

    Wind

    169,301 Mwh of wind were produced in 2016.

    Wood-derived fuel

    0 Mwh of wood-derived fuel were produced in 2016.

    The Office of Natural Resources Revenue collects detailed data about natural resource production on federal land in Alaska.

    Downloads and documentation

    Gas

    16,039,631 mcf of gas were produced on federal land in Alaska in 2017.

    Borough or census area production

    Kenai Peninsula BoroughNorth Slope BoroughKenai Peninsula BoroughNorth Slope Borough
    Borough or census area production of gas in 2017 (mcf)

    Oil

    993,798 barrels of oil were produced on federal land in Alaska in 2017.

    Borough or census area production

    Kenai Peninsula BoroughNorth Slope BoroughKenai Peninsula BoroughNorth Slope Borough
    Borough or census area production of oil in 2017 (bbl)

    Revenue

    Companies pay a wide range of fees, rates, and taxes to extract natural resources in the United States. What companies pay to federal, state, and local governments often depends on who owns the natural resources.

    Natural resource extraction can lead to federal revenue in two ways: non-tax revenue and tax revenue. Revenue data on this site primarily includes non-tax revenue from extractive industry activities on federal land.

    Downloads and documentation

    Revenue from production on federal land by resource

    When companies extract natural resources on federal lands and waters, they pay royalties, rents, bonuses, and other fees, much like they would to any landowner. This non-tax revenue is collected and reported by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR).

    For details about the laws and policies that govern how rights are awarded to companies and what they pay to extract natural resources on federal land: coal, oil and gas, renewable resources, and hardrock minerals.

    The federal government collects different kinds of fees at each phase of natural resource extraction. This chart shows how much federal revenue was collected in Calendar year (CY) 2017 for production or potential production of natural resources on federal land in Alaska, broken down by phase of production.

    Commodity1. Securing rights2. Before production3. During productionOther revenue
    Oil and Gas
    Oil & Gas
    $45,082,864
    $18,764,680$4,930,126Oil$12,775,823Gas$8,158,219NGL$85,174$368,842
    Geothermal
    Geothermal
    $7,680
    $0$7,680$0$0
    All commodities
    All commodities
    $45,090,545
    $18,764,680$4,937,806$21,019,216$368,842
    Commodity1. Securing rightsCompanies pay bonuses or other fees to secure rights to resources on federal land2. Before productionCompanies pay rent on federal land while exploring for resources3. During productionCompanies pay royalties after production beginsOther revenueMinimum or estimated royalties, settlements, and interest payments
    Oil and Gas
    Oil & Gas
    $45,082,864
    $18,764,680$4,930,126Oil$12,775,823Gas$8,158,219NGL$85,174$368,842
    OnshoreBonus: The amount offered by the highest bidder$1.50 annual rent per acre for 5 years
    $2 annual rent per acre thereafter
    12.5% of production value
    Geothermal
    Geothermal
    $7,680
    $0$7,680$0$0
    Competitive leasingNomination fee: $110 per nomination + $0.11 per acre
    Bonus: The amount offered by the highest bidder
    $160 processing fee
    $2 per acre for the first year
    $3 annual rent per acre for years 2-10
    $5 annual rent per acre thereafter
    Electricity sales: 1.75% of gross proceeds for 10 years, then 3.5%
    Arm’s length sales: 10% of gross proceeds from contract multiplied by lease royalty rate
    More about geothermal rates
    Noncompetitive leasingLease: $410 payment$1 annual rent per acre for 10 years
    $5 annual rent per acre thereafter
    All commodities
    All commodities
    $45,090,545
    $18,764,680$4,937,806$21,019,216$368,842
    Other revenue streams
    Hardrock mining on public domain landsFederal revenue from hardrock mining on public domain land occurs through the claim-staking process and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is not included here, because the dataset does not have state-level data. Learn more about hardrock mining on federal land.
    Onshore solar and wind energyFederal revenue from onshore renewable energy generation on federal land is not included here, because that dataset, from BLM, does not have state-level data. Learn more about onshore renewables on federal land.
    To see how much was collected nationwide for all revenue types, including BLM revenues, see federal revenue by company.

    Most non-tax revenue collected by ONRR comes from counties with significant natural resources on federal land.

    Downloads and documentation

    Federal tax revenue

    Individuals and corporations (specifically C-corporations) pay income taxes to the IRS. The federal corporate income tax rate tops out at 21%. Public policy provisions, such as tax expenditures, can decrease corporate income tax and other revenue payments in order to promote other policy goals.

    Learn more about revenue from extraction on all lands and waters.

    Alaska revenue streams (2016)

    In 2016, the state of Alaska collected $1,761,666,223 in state revenue from natural resource extraction (this includes both tax and non-tax revenue). Counties also collect and distribute their own revenue from natural resource extraction.

    Download: Alaska revenue streams (PDF)

    Revenue streamAmount collected
    Total$1,761,666,223
    Royalties, Rents and Bonuses$1,386,600,000
    Oil & Gas Production Tax$249,937,638
    Oil & Gas Property Tax$111,736,765
    Petroleum Corporate Income Tax$0
    Mining License Tax$11,137,900
    Mining Rents and Royalties$17,400,000
    Oil & Gas Conservation Surcharge$9,207,784
    Federal Royalties, Rents and Bonuses$1,800,000

    Disbursements

    After collecting revenue from natural resource extraction, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue distributes that money to different agencies, funds, and local governments for public use. This process is called “disbursement.”

    Most federal revenue disbursements go into national funds. For detailed data about which expenditures and projects from those national funds are in Alaska, see nationwide federal disbursements.

    ONRR also disburses some revenue from natural resource extraction to state governments. In 2017, ONRR disbursed $12,431,186 to Alaska.This included revenues from both onshore and offshore extraction in or near Alaska:

    • $11,184,062 was from onshore revenues
    • $1,247,124 was from offshore revenues

    Downloads and documentation

    Distribution of Alaska state revenues (2016)

    In 2016, the state of Alaska distributed $1,761,666,223 in state revenue from natural resource extraction to state and local funds.

    State fundDistribution
    Total$1,761,666,223
    General Fund$1,132,972,459
    Alaska Permanent Fund$390,500,000
    Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund$225,293,764
    Other Restricted$6,500,000
    Public School Trust Fund$6,400,000

    Economic impact

    This data covers gross domestic product and two different types of jobs data.

    To learn more about direct energy employment across all sectors of the U.S. economy, another useful resource is 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the Department of Energy. This report has a separate state-by-state analysis of energy employment.

    Data about each state’s gross domestic product comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Downloads and documentation

    GDP (dollars)

    In 2016, extractive industries accounted for $7,578,000,000 or 15.03% of Alaska’s GDP.

    The U.S. Census Bureau collects information about the top 25 exports in each state.

    Downloads and documentation

    Other nonenergy minerals

    $1,213,810,000worth of other nonenergy minerals was exported from Alaska in 2015.

    Oil

    $278,390,000worth of oil was exported from Alaska in 2015.

    Copper

    $98,970,000worth of copper was exported from Alaska in 2015.

    Gas

    $187,990,000worth of gas was exported from Alaska in 2015.

    Gold

    $154,120,000worth of gold was exported from Alaska in 2015.

    State governance

    The state of Alaska participated in additional reporting about state and local natural resource governance, revenues, and disbursements.

    Understanding land ownership

    Land ownership in Alaska is unique among states. When the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, the federal government initially owned all 375 million acres of the Alaska Territory. When Alaska became a state 92 years later, in 1959, the federal government granted 28% of the land to the state through a process that was unique to Alaska. The state selected 103 million acres of land and was granted an additional 1.2 million acres in trust lands; Alaska also owns all mineral rights in its acreage.

    The state of Alaska is the second largest landowner in the state (after the U.S. government). It received patent to 90 million of the acres it selected. Some of the areas the state selected have not yet been transferred from the federal government. Learn more about:

    The Alaska Mental Health Trust also owns and manages 1 million acres with significant timber, oil, gas, coal, or material resources. Revenues from lands managed by the Trust support mental health programs in the state.

    To explore a map of land ownership in Alaska, see the Alaska Department of Natural Resource’s mapping application.

    Alaska Native corporations

    In most states, American Indian land was taken by force, settled by treaty, or both — but in Alaska, Native claims to land were not settled or resolved until Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971. ANCSA granted 44 million acres (both surface and sub-surface) and 1 billion dollars to 12 regional native corporations and 220 village corporations. These village and regional corporations now own 12% of land in Alaska; non-native private lands in Alaska make up just 1% of the land in the state.

    These private, for-profit corporations belong to and benefit Alaska Natives in their region or village, but are distinct from tribes. Alaska Natives were allotted shares in Alaska Native corporations when the corporations were created. Unlike shares in a publicly traded corporation, however, Alaska Native corporation shares cannot be traded or sold.

    Alaska Native corporations have generated substantial revenues from resource development, though this exposes them to the same revenue sustainability questions that affect state revenues. ANCSA provides for natural revenue sharing among all ANCs, so ANCs may mutually support each other to help smooth revenue volatility: For example, the Red Dog zinc mine has generated $1.3 billion in net proceeds for NANA Regional Corporation since mining began. It has retained about $480 million and shared about $820 million with other ANCs. Of the $480 million retained, about $221 million has been paid out to individual shareholders as dividends.

    Separately from the Alaska Native corporations, there are 229 federally recognized tribal entities in Alaska. Until recently, they were viewed as landless (with the exception of one reservation, the Metlakatla Indian Community’s Annette Island Reserve). The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently changed this by establishing Rule 25 CFR Part 151, which allows Alaska tribes to apply to put land into trust.

    State agencies

    Alaska state agencies regulate extraction and interact with extractive industry companies in Alaska, particularly when they're operating on state or private land.

    The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission leads monitoring, enforcement, and restoration activities to support responsible stewardship of Alaska’s oil and gas resources. Its responsibilities include:

    • Evaluating and approving drilling operations
    • Preventing oil and gas waste at drill sites where the majority of natural gas extraction is flared
    • Preventing freshwater contamination throughout drilling
    • Administering Alaska’s Underground Injection Control Program
    • Inspecting oil field drilling, projecting, metering, and abandonment activities
    • Publishing a competitiveness report and annual reports

    The Alaska Department of Natural Resources manages Alaska's natural resources and extraction on state land.

    The Division of Oil and Gas is responsible for leasing state lands for oil, gas, and geothermal extraction. It publishes studies, and its activities include:

    • Identifying prospective lease areas; evaluating oil and gas resources; and performing geologic, economic, environmental, and social analyses
    • Fielding and issuing exploration permits, developing leasing schedules, and conducting public review of proposed sales
    • Conducting oil and gas lease sales, negotiating contracts, and conducting royalty audits
    • Decommissioning, removal, and restoration regulatory review
    • Publishing statutes and regulations governing oil and gas, and geothermal
    • Publishing data about oil and gas funds received and distributed

    The Mining, Land, and Water Division is the primary manager of Alaska’s land holdings, which are larger by area than any other state, and Alaska's mineral resources (excluding oil, gas, coalbed methane, and geothermal energy). It is responsible for:

    The Alaska Department of Revenue assesses, collects, manages, and distributes the majority of extractives revenues in Alaska.

    The Alaska Department of Revenue collects revenue from companies engaged in extraction, with verification from the Oil and Gas Division, and publishes an Annual Report and Revenue Sources Book (PDF).

    The Environmental Conservation’s Program Spill Prevention and Response Division (SPAR) prevents spills of oil, prepares for when a spill occurs, and responds rapidly to protect human health and the environment.

    Local governance in Alaska

    Alaska has two local government structures (PDF): cities and boroughs. All local governments in Alaska enjoy broad powers, but some cities and boroughs are home rule municipalities (PDF), which have the right to “exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by charter.”

    Fiscal costs of extractive activity

    In addition to generating revenue and economic activity, extractive industries can bring costs to state and local communities. Development and activity related to the extractive industries are concentrated on Alaska's northern coast, so attention to costs is concentrated in that part of the state.

    For a holistic look at how the North Slope Borough has met the transportation, water, emergency services, and reclamation needs of extractive industries, see the North Slope Borough case study.

    Multiple organizations in the Alaska state government work on the reclamation and remediation of sites related to extraction. The Alaska state government invests significant tax dollars to prevent and respond to oil and hazardous substance emergencies, including reclamation services such as managing contaminated drilling sites. The Oil and Hazardous Substance Release Prevention and Response Fund imposes a 4 cent surcharge per barrel of oil for prevention, and a 1 cent surcharge per barrel of oil for response. The Division of Spill Prevention and Response (SPAR) had a total operating budget of $19.9 million in fiscal year 2016. $12.3 million of that went to spill prevention and response in fiscal year 2016.

    The DNR Mining, Land, and Water’s Abandoned Mine Lands Program administers the federal AML program in Alaska for coal and select hard rock reclamation projects. The program estimated in May of 2014 that 15 coal projects and 8 non-coal projects remained to be reclaimed. Alaska is a Minimum Program state, meaning it receives $3 million a year from the federal Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation program, with the funds coming from fees paid by current coal mine operators. See examples of AML projects.