March 13, 1968
On this day in 1968, oil was discovered on Alaska’s North Slope. The Atlantic Richfield Company and Humble Oil and Refining Company announce the discovery of oil on the North Slope of Alaska at Prudhoe Bay marking a turning point in the history of the state and the United States as a whole. The discovery of oil would transform Alaska’s economy, making it a major player in the oil industry and providing jobs and wealth for generations to come.
The discovery of oil on the North Slope was the result of decades of exploration and investment in the region. Beginning in the early 1900s, geologists recognized the potential for oil and gas reserves in the area, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that drilling technology advanced enough to make exploration feasible.
The discovery well, known as the Prudhoe Bay State No. 1 well, was drilled by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and its partners on Alaska’s North Slope. After drilling more than 10,000 feet into the earth, the drill bit struck oil, and a geyser of crude oil shot up from the well.
The discovery of oil on the North Slope was a game-changer for Alaska and the United States. The oil reserves in the area were estimated to be massive, and the potential for profits was enormous. The State of Alaska quickly became a major player in the oil industry, and the revenue generated by oil production helped to fuel the state’s economy for decades.
In addition to the economic benefits, the discovery of oil on the North Slope also had political and strategic implications. With the United States becoming increasingly dependent on foreign oil, the discovery of a major oil reserve within the country’s borders was seen as a major victory for energy independence. It also helped to strengthen the United States’ position in the Cold War, as the country’s ability to produce its own oil gave it a greater degree of strategic flexibility.
The discovery of oil on Alaska’s North Slope on March 13, 1968 was a momentous event that changed the course of Alaska’s history and had far-reaching implications for the United States. Today, the legacy of that discovery continues, as Alaska remains a significant producer of oil and a major player in the energy industry.