WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government agency released a report Tuesday that says the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain could contain as much as 16 billion barrels of oil.
Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, requested the report from the Energy Information Administration.
The report says the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain ''is the largest unexplored, potentially productive geologic onshore basin in the United States.''
The analysis, based on U.S. Geologic Survey information, says there's a 95 percent probability the coastal plain contains at least 5.7 billion barrels and a 5 percent probability it has at least 16 billion barrels.
The report says much of the oil would be recoverable for 30 years or more and has a value of between $125 billion and $350 billion.
Murkowski last week included a provision to open the coastal plain of the refuge to oil and gas leasing as part of a national energy policy bill.
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