Permitting discussions for National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska development are under way with agencies, says Kevin Meyers, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc.
Phillips Alaska announced discoveries in the NPR-A two years ago and has done some subsequent drilling, Meyers told PNA in an interview yesterday.
The next step is the permitting process.
"Since it sits in NPR-A, it's most likely that the permitting process will require an EIS," which generally takes a minimum of 18 months.
"And so we wouldn't be sanctioning anything until we got our permits in hand."
He said ConocoPhillips is talking "right now" with both federal and state government about the EIS process: how it would work and who would be the lead agencies.
"We're not going to go out there and pay for an EIS if we don't have a high probability that we move forward with development. Of course, moving forward with development would be dependent on large part" on the stipulations and regulations in an EIS, he said.
"And I would hope in the not-too-distant future we'd make a decision on whether we're going to kick off that process."
A decision has not been made yet, but the company is having serious discussions with the agencies, Meyers said, and "we wouldn't be taking up their time if we didn't think there was a reasonable chance that we're going to go forward with the EIS. And we wouldn't be doing the EIS if we didn't think there was a reasonable chance that we'd have an economic development … assuming stipulations come in acceptable fashion."