Armstrong Oil and Gas Chairman Bill Armstrong said smaller independent companies like his were eager to get to work on the North Slope.
"I'm really optimistic about the possibility of the North Slope and of Alaska," he was quoted by the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News Miner as saying at a recent seminar. "The below-ground opportunities in Alaska and in the North Slope are fantastic."
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell made trade-related trips to South Korea and Japan last month to tout Alaska's energy potential. There is an "enormous potential" for those countries to secure reserves on the North Slope.
Armstrong said debates over tax incentives for oil producers in the state might be the limiting factor in the area.
"The headaches are above ground," he was quoted as saying.
International energy major Shell last week said it wrapped up its drilling campaign in Alaskan waters for the season.
Shell drilled so-called top holes at wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas during its campaign. The company said those "will go a long way in positioning Shell for another successful drilling program in 2013."