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Oil in Alaska refuge seen raising $111 bln for US

WASHINGTON, May 2 (Reuters) - Allowing energy companies to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would raise about $111 billion over 30 years in corporate income taxes and royalty fees, based on current prices, a congressional research report said on Tuesday.

Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to allow oil drilling in the refuge and give taxpayers a $100 rebate to help offset near-record gasoline prices.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service said that if 10.3 billion barrels of crude were drilled from ANWR over 30 years, the federal government would collect $76 billion in income taxes and $35 billion in royalties and bonus bids.

The Energy Department has estimated there is a 50 percent chance that 10.3 billion barrels oil could be recovered from the refuge.

If oil prices averaged $60 a barrel (in 2006 dollars), the government would raise $89 billion. If crude prices fell dramatically to $30 a barrel, about $45 billion would be collected in income taxes and royalties, the report said.

Tapping the refuge's billions of barrels of crude is a key part of the Bush administration's national energy plan to boost domestic oil supplies and reduce U.S. reliance on petroleum imports.

ANWR stretches across 19 million acres (7.7 million hectares) in the northeast corner of Alaska. The White House wants to offer 1.5 million acres (607,000 hectares) in the refuge's coastal plain for energy exploration leases.

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Permalink :: Posted by Clay Butcher on May 03, 2006 :: ::
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