June 04, 2007 --- Vol. 13, No. 53June 2007

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposes Chukchi incidental take regs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published in the Federal Register a proposal to introduce new regulations for authorizing the incidental take of walrus and polar bears during oil and gas exploration activities in the Chukchi Sea and on the adjacent west coast of Alaska. Similar regulations already apply to the neighboring Beaufort Sea but have never been established for the Chukchi.

The proposed regulations specify a set of stipulations that oil and gas explorers need to work within to ensure compliance with the Marine Mammals Protection Act, when carrying out an operation that might incidentally harass walrus and polar bears. Stipulations include maximum seismic sound levels that the animals can be subjected to.

In the absence of regulations, FWS has to issue what is known as an Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, for each individual exploration project, such as a seismic survey. But the new regulations would specify a set of stipulations, standard over a five-year period, under which FWS could issue longer-term letters of authorization for exploration programs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service administers an incidental harassment program under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for other marine mammals, such as seals and whales.

May ANS production up 3%; Alpine hits new production high

Alaska North Slope production averaged 780,369 barrels per day in May, up 3 percent from an April average of 757,181 bpd.

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine field averaged 138,984 bpd in May, a new monthly high, up 7.2 percent from an April average of 129,682 bpd.

Production from BPís Milne Point field averaged 38,012 bpd in May, up 18.7 percent from an April average of 32,023 bpd. BP-operated Prudhoe Bay averaged 331,021 bpd in May, up 4.5 percent from an April average of 316,846 bpd. The BP-operated Lisburne field averaged 20,270 bpd in May, up 0.6 percent from an April average of 20,149 bpd.

The BP-operated Endicott field (whose current volumes include some 33,000 bpd of Flow Station 2 crude from Prudhoe Bay) averaged 48,941 bpd in May, down 1.5 percent from an April average of 49,670. Production at the ConocoPhillips-operated Kuparuk River field averaged 159,554 bpd in May, down 2.2 percent from an April average of 163,150 bpd. The BP-operated Northstar field averaged 43,587 bpd in May, down 4.5 percent from an April average of 45,661 bpd.

Editorís note: See full stories in the June 10 issue of Petroleum News, which will be released online this coming Friday at noon Alaska-time.

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