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US—revival in the north

Drilling in Alaska is pricey compared with tight oil in the Lower 48. But the potential remains huge

At one point in the 1970s Alaska was home to some of the largest oilfields ever found in the world. The rise of lower cost tight oil in the Lower 48 may have eclipsed the North Slope—but, at the right price, much riches lie in wait. Still, the recent history has been about decline. Alaskan exploration in recent decades has dropped off and production of around 490,000 barrels a day is now barely a quarter of that heyday high. The major players—ConocoPhillips, BP and ExxonMobil—seemed content to milk their white elephants and skim the cash. That could change with some compelling new discoveries that have altered the landscape. In early 2016, Denver-based Armstrong Energy made a major strike at

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