Lawmakers stake positions on oil credits amid news of North Slope find

According to commentators, the find could be a lifeline for the state that had seen oil revenues sink after prices crashed in 2014.

With 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable light oil, Repsol and its partner, Denver-based Armstrong Energy LLC, claim the discovery is the "largest USA onshore conventional hydrocarbons discovery in 30 years".

Members of the Alaska House used the announcement of a major oil find on the North Slope to stake out positions in the politically charged debate over oil taxes and credits.

The oil resources lie in a well, called Horseshoe, that's 75% owned by Denver-based Armstrong.

The discovery is 20 miles south of where the two companies have already found oil in a project known as Pikka.

The firm holds a 25 percent interest in the discovery, while Armstrong holds the rest. "But this is a significant emerging find", Repsol spokesman Kristian Rix told CNNMoney.

In an interview last week, petroleum expert David Houseknecht of the U.S. Geological survey said Armstrong's discovery is notable and could hint more oil discoveries in the area are possible. The North Slope of Alaska is the northernmost area of the state along the coasts of the Chukchi and the Beaufort Seas.

Repsol has been actively exploring Alaska since 2008, and since 2011 the company has drilled multiple consecutive discoveries on the North Slope along with partner Armstrong. Shares of the oil and gas company jumped almost 3% in Madrid trading on Friday. The state also needs new crude to keep oil flowing on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. "We must all pull together to fill an oil pipeline that's three-quarters empty-and today's announcement shows measurable results of that hard work".

  • Zachary Reyes