Resource Development Council

RDC Comment Letter:
Support for CBM Exploration Drilling in Healy Valley

August 18, 2014

State of Alaska
Division of Oil and Gas
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1100
Anchorage, AK 99501

Via email to

Re: Comments on LO/AK 14-002 Gas Drilling at Healy Creek Prospect

To Whom It May Concern:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to comment in support of Usibelli Energy (UE) plans to drill up to four gas wells on an abandoned airstrip at the Healy Creek Prospect necessary to explore for shallow gas within the Healy Basin Exploration License Area.

RDC is an Alaskan business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

It is a policy of RDC to support efforts to diversity Alaska’s energy sources, as well as support utilization of Alaska's coal resources for value-added industries and power generation. Alaska’s coal resources are immense, and coal bed methane (CBM) is a clean and affordable alternative to traditional energy resources. Alaska’s CBM deposits are large enough to supply each household with gas for the 50 years.

The Healy Basin CBM exploration project is located on state lands within the Healy Exploration License, and has a high potential for shallow biogenic coal bed methane and shallow gas. The proposed exploration is compatible with the Yukon Tanana Area Plan, which designates the area for multiple-use and allows for oil and gas exploration.

If the CBM is ultimately utilized by Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc., it would provide power to the mine facilities resulting in reduced demand on the Alaska Intertie system. According to the UE, the drilling program will result in no new ground disturbance, and depending on the volume of the supply, could result in CBM in excess of UE’s needs for in-state use. Further, CBM production would provide other benefits, including new jobs in rural and urban areas, and additional tax income to the state.

Moreover, the permit applicant, Alaskan-owned Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. has been mining since 1943 and has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining and improving the environment through its environmental protections and reclamation processes. RDC believes that the aforementioned factors merit timely approval of the permit.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment of this important issue.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.