A front page story in the May 16 edition of Petroleum News reported that BP had all of its permits for the Liberty field, which the company is developing in the federal outer continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska. That proved incorrect: BP does not have its Liberty MMS drilling permits.
The article, “A halt to OCS drilling,” was released online Friday, May 14. It was written by Petroleum News senior staff writer Alan Bailey, following Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s May 7 announcement that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service would not approve any new permits for U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling until Interior completed an offshore drilling safety review, as requested by President Obama.
Phil Cochrane, vice president of external affairs for BP Exploration (Alaska), told Bailey May 7 that BP does not expect the halt in new federal drilling permits to impact Liberty drilling.
“We have all of our permits in place for the Liberty project,” Cochrane said.
A May 13 article in the Alaska Dispatch reported “BP had not applied for drilling permits from … the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the agency that regulates offshore oil development in federal waters.”
Catching the discrepancy late May 14, Petroleum News emailed John Goll, regional director of MMS in Alaska, asking if BP had its drilling permits for Liberty.
Goll replied early today, May 15, by email: “MMS has not received an APD (application for permit to drill) from BP for Liberty. These are done individually for each well. Those permits would still be needed before any drilling of the production wells. We expect the first this summer.”
Goll did say that MMS had approved BP’s development production plan for Liberty.
—Kay Cashman, Petroleum News publisher and executive editor