December 01, 2010 --- Vol. 16, No. 112December 2010

BOEMRE still reviewing Shell’s Beaufort Sea application to drill

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is still reviewing Shell’s application for a permit to drill in the company’s Beaufort Sea Sivulliq prospect in 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told a press briefing today when announcing the Department of the Interior’s new strategy for outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing.

Interior also announced that it is honoring all existing Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea oil and gas leases, but said it will prepare a new environmental impact statement to help inform Salazar’s decision on whether to include any of Alaska outer continental shelf regions within the next leasing program, the program that will span the years 2012-17.

“In the Arctic, which is a frontier area where leases have been issued but there is limited development, we will proceed with utmost caution,” Salazar said. “The challenges of operating in the Arctic are different than the Gulf of Mexico. In the Arctic oil and gas resources are under shallow waters, not deep waters, but there are issues we must address about spill response capabilities, environmental sensitivities and operations in often very harsh conditions.”

BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich confirmed that his agency is processing Shell’s drilling application.

“We are reviewing and processing Shell’s application to drill a single exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea,” Bromwich said. “We will move forward with a careful and complete review of Shell’s application to determine if the project meets all existing and new safety standards, has robust oil spill response capabilities in place and can move forward under strong oversight and inspection.”

And according to a Department of the Interior fact sheet, BOEMRE is preparing an additional environmental analysis of the area of Shell’s planned drilling.

Bromwich declined to commit to any specific time frame for processing Shell’s application — Shell has said that it needs a permit decision by December, to enable sufficient time to mobilize its drilling operation.

Governor names Fogels, Balash as DNR deputy commissioners

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said today that he has named Ed Fogels and Joe Balash as deputy commissioners for the Department of Natural Resources.

The governor earlier accepted the resignation of DNR Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford and named Dan Sullivan to replace Tom Irwin as DNR commissioner.

Fogels has worked for DNR for 24 years; he is currently director of the Office of Project Management and Permitting.

Joe Balash currently works in the Office of the Governor, serving as a special assistant to the governor for energy and natural resource development issues.

November ANS crude production down 2%

Alaska North Slope crude oil production averaged 631,537 barrels per day in November, down 1.9 percent from an October average of 644,022 bpd.

Department of Revenue data for November show the largest percentage decline at the BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Northstar field, a drop of 9.2 percent. Production averaged 15,434 bpd in November, compared to 16,996 bpd in October. The Kuparuk River field, operated by ConocoPhillips Alaska, had the largest month-over-month decline by volume, averaging 127,060 bpd in November, a drop of almost 12,000 barrels from an October average of 138,989 bpd — down 8.6 percent.

Production from the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay field averaged 326,630 bpd in November, a 1.2 percent drop from an October average of 330,582 bpd.

Production from the ConocoPhillips-operated Alpine field also declined, averaging 89,952 bpd in November, a drop of 0.9 percent from an October average of 90,762 bpd.

The largest month-over-month increase, both by percentage and in barrels, was at the BP-operated Endicott field, which averaged 13,665 bpd in November, up 24.6 percent from an October average of 10,965 bpd.

Production at the BP-operated Lisburne field averaged 31,837 bpd in November, up 6.2 percent from an October average of 29,993 bpd.

BP’s Milne Point field averaged 26,959 bpd in November, up 4.8 percent from an October average of 25,735 bpd.

See stories in Dec. 5 issue, available online for subscribers at noon, Friday, Dec. 3, at

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