US Department of the Interior Natural Resources Revenue Data

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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.

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.

To understand the extractive industries in Alaska, learn about Alaska’s unique land ownership, trust funds, and revenue sustainability considerations.

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)

Most of Alaska’s crude oil production takes place in the North Slope Borough, where exploration, drilling, and transportation costs are high, but high volume and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline make commercial drilling feasible.

About three-fourths of Alaska’s natural gas withdrawals are consumed on site after extraction, because it is not commercially feasible to transport to distant markets. For more information about the Alaska Natural Gas pipeline, see the congressional report (PDF).

Nonenergy minerals: For details about nonenergy mineral extraction, see the USGS Minerals Yearbook for Alaska.

In 2013, Alaska’s nonenergy mineral production was valued at about $3.55 billion. Metals, including gold, made up 98% of Alaska’s nonenergy mineral production value in 2013. Alaska produces 14% of U.S. gold, with major gold mines in central Alaska, southern Alaska, and the Seward Peninsula. Learn more about gold exploration.

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

Data and documentation

Coal

932,122 tons of coal were produced in Alaska in 2016.

Hydroelectric

1,549,438 megawatt hours of hydroelectric energy were produced in Alaska in 2016.

Crude oil

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

Natural gas

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

Other biomass

51,498 megawatt hours of other biomass energy were produced in Alaska in 2016.

Wind

163,749 megawatt hours of wind energy were produced in Alaska in 2016.

Wood-derived fuel

0 megawatt hours of wood-derived fuel energy were produced in Alaska in 2016.

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

Data and documentation

Gas

14,661,247 mcf of gas were produced on federal land in Alaska in 2016.

Borough or census area production

Kenai Peninsula Borough North Slope Borough Kenai Peninsula Borough North Slope Borough
Borough or census area production of gas in 2016 (mcf)

Oil

805,789 barrels of oil were produced on federal land in Alaska in 2016.

Borough or census area production

Kenai Peninsula Borough North Slope Borough Kenai Peninsula Borough North Slope Borough
Borough or census area production of oil in 2016 (bbl)

We don’t have detailed data about production of natural resources on land owned by the state of Alaska. See state governance for information about governance of state land.

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.

Data 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 2016 for production or potential production of natural resources on federal land in Alaska, broken down by phase of production.

Commodity 1. Securing rights 2. Before production 3. During production Other revenue
Oil and Gas
Oil & Gas
$13,986,257
$788,680 $3,199,178 Oil $2,518,813 Gas $7,243,251 NGL $20,897 $215,439
Geothermal
Geothermal
$7,680
$0 $7,680 $0 $0
All commodities
All commodities
$13,993,938
$788,680 $3,206,858 $9,782,961 $215,439

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

Data and documentation

All commodities

Companies paid $13,993,938 to produce natural resources on federal land in Alaska in 2016.

Revenue collected by Borough or census area

Bristol Bay Kenai Peninsula North Slope Bristol Bay Kenai Peninsula North Slope
Borough or census area revenue in 2016

Federal tax revenue

Individuals and corporations (specifically C-corporations) pay income taxes to the IRS. Depending on company income, federal corporate income tax rates can range from 15–35%. 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 relies on revenue from natural resource extraction on federal, state, and private land as a primary source of income for the state.

Alaska collects oil and gas production taxes and royalties based on the assessed value of the gross product, resulting in revenues sensitive to price fluctuations.

Alaska deducts property taxes paid to municipalities from the amount owed in state taxes. The state collects and retains all property taxes assessed on unorganized lands. In 2016, unorganized territory petroleum property taxes totaled $60.4 million, or 54% of the total petroleum property taxes collected by the state.

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 stream Amount 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

Revenue sustainability

Alaska revenues compared to Alaska revenues from oil and gas for 2010-2018. 2016-18 figures are projected. Total state revenues were highest in 2011, at nearly $20 billion, and ranged from $13.5 billion to $19.5 billion between 2012 and 2014 before dropping to just under $9 billion in 2015. The total petroleum based revenue amount rose from just over $6 billion in 2010 to $10 billion in 2012, then fell steadily to under $3 billion in 2015. For 2016-2018, revenues from petroleum based revenue is projected to drop to about $1.5 billion, then rise to just under $2 billion, while total revenues are expected to rise steadily to just under $11 billion. The average price of oil is listed under the chart for context. The price of oil was highest in 2011 and 2012, at $99 per barrel, and lowest in 2015, when it dropped to just $41.

In 2016, oil and gas revenue streams contributed $1.6 billion to Alaska general fund revenues and accounted for 28% of Alaska’s total revenue.

Increased oil prices in the early 2010’s caused a spike in annual revenue in Alaska, and the drop in crude oil prices in late 2014 caused a significant decline in the state’s petroleum-related revenue streams. Oil and gas revenue declined by over 30% between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, and the Alaska tax division predicts that oil and gas revenue will continue to decline to between 15% and 17% of total state revenues in the coming years.

Between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, Alaska’s total revenue declined by more than 50% (from $17.2 billion to $8.6 billion), and between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, total revenue declined again by more than 30% (from $8.6 billion to $5.8 billion). Oil and gas revenues generally account for around 75% of the state’s unrestricted budget, so declining prices had an even greater impact on the state’s discretionary budget than on programs with dedicated funds from federal or other sources.

To learn more about Alaska’s recent budget shortfalls due to the decline in oil revenue:

Because this issue is shared by many parts of the world with significant natural resource revenues, the International Monetary Fund produced a report in 2015 called The Commodities Roller Coaster: A Fiscal Framework for Uncertain Times (PDF).

Tax expenditures

Tax expenditure programs are policy instruments that reduce state and local revenue through changes to the tax code (for example, tax credits, exemptions, preferential tax rates, or deferrals of tax liability).

Alaska had four tax expenditures claimed in 2016 that were directly related to oil and gas extraction and totaled at least $1 million each. Together, these four tax expenditures reduced state or local revenue by a total of $580 million. The expenditure credits and per taxable barrel credits each accounted for 95% of total expenditures, at $495 million and $56 million respectively. The Alaska Department of Revenue outlines tax expenditures in its Revenue Sources Book (PDF).

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

Data and documentation

State agencies distribute revenues according to Alaska law, which is defined by the legislature. For more information about state disbursements, see the following:

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 fund Distribution
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

Saving and spending revenue from extraction

Many states choose to establish permanent mineral trust funds, which can help governments dependent on revenue from natural resources smooth revenue and investments across boom and bust cycles.

The state of Alaska saves about 37% of royalties and 27% of production taxes. (Royalties, production taxes, and property taxes are Alaska’s three largest sources of revenue from natural resource extraction.) Most of Alaska’s saved revenue goes to one of these funds:

The Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) is a permanent natural resource trust fund used to pay citizen dividends, manage inflation, and support the general fund. The Alaska constitution requires that 25% of mineral-related income and any additional legislative appropriations be placed in the APF. In August 2017, the fund’s market value was $60 billion.

Alaska citizens receive annual dividends from the APF. In response to budget conditions, the Governor of Alaska exercised his line-item veto power to cut the total dividend payout to $650 million, which reduced individual checks to $1,022 for each of its 635,997 eligible residents in 2016. This is down from $2,072 in 2015, and also below the ten-year average payout of $1,424.

For 2016, in response to budget conditions, the Governor of Alaska exercised his line-item veto power to cut the total dividend payout to $696 million, which reduced individual checks to $1,000 per person. The Alaska state legislature is also considering two senate bills proposing changes to the APF: SB114 and SB128.

To learn more, see the APF Dividend Division’s annual reports or financial history and projections (PDF).

The Public School Trust Fund is worth $641 million (as of July 31, 2017), and funded by 0.5% of state receipts from the management of all state lands. The public school system has access to $8 million from the fund, while the fund retains the principal and some net income.

The Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund was created in 1990 to hold money received by the state from mineral disputes. It grew from $1.8 billion in 2006 to $10.1 billion in 2015. The fund is now worth $3.9 billion (as of July 31, 2017). Under certain conditions, the Alaska State Legislature may use it to fund state government operations.

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.

The extractive industries play an important role in Alaska’s economy. Pipeline transportation and construction also contribute significantly; in 2014, pipeline transportation contributed $4.1 billion to Alaska’s GDP.

Because of relatively high annual wages (compared to other industries), extractive industries contribute a greater percentage of personal income than jobs. In 2016, annual wages from extractive industries made up about 14% (or $1.8 billion) of total annual wages in the state. The average annual wage for extractive-industry jobs in Alaska in 2016 was $128,912, or more than twice the statewide average wage of $52,343.

In addition to generating economic activity, extractive industries can have fiscal costs for state and local communities.

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

Data and documentation

GDP (dollars)

In 2016, extractive industries accounted for $7,578,000,000 or 15.0% of Alaska’s GDP.

Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the number of people who receive wages or salaries from companies.

Data and documentation

Extractive industry jobs

In 2016, there were jobs in the extractive industries in Alaska, and they accounted for 4.4% of statewide employment.

Extractive industry jobs by county

Anchorage Borough Bethel Census Area Fairbanks North Star Borough Juneau Borough Kenai Peninsula Borough Ketchikan Gateway Borough Matanuska-Susitna Borough North Slope Borough Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area Valdez-Cordova Census Area Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area Anchorage Borough Bethel Census Area Fairbanks North Star Borough Juneau Borough Kenai Peninsula Borough Ketchikan Gateway Borough Matanuska-Susitna Borough North Slope Borough Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area Valdez-Cordova Census Area Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
Borough or census area employment in extractive industries (jobs, 2016)

Wage and salary jobs by commodity

Jobs are categorized according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). To learn more about how we grouped those categories, see data and documentation.

Geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy categories are limited to jobs directly related to electrical energy generation. To learn more about all energy-related employment, see the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the Department of Energy.

oil and gas

In 2016, there were 11,292 oil and gas jobs in Alaska.

nonenergy mineral

In 2016, there were 2,638 nonenergy mineral jobs in Alaska.

hydroelectric energy

In 2016, there were 244 hydroelectric energy jobs in Alaska.

Self-employment data, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, describes people who work in natural resource extraction, but don’t receive wages or salaries because they own their own companies.

Data and documentation

Self-employment

In 2015, there were self-employed people working in the extractive industries in Alaska.

The U.S. Census Bureau collects information about the top 25 exports in each state. In 2015, one or more natural resources ranked among the top 25 exports from Alaska.

Data and documentation

Other nonenergy minerals

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

Oil

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

Copper

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

Gas

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

Gold

$154,120,000 worth 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.