U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said this morning that Interior has issued conditional approval to Hilcorp Alaska LLC for its Liberty project offshore the North Slope.
The proposal is for a 9-acre artificial gravel island in the shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea, some 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay and about 5 miles offshore. Interior said the facility would be similar to four production islands currently operating in state waters in the Beaufort - Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island and Oooguruk Island.
Zinke said if Hilcorp's Liberty project is completed it "will be the first production facility ever located in federal waters off Alaska."
The conditional approval is from Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which conditionally approved the project "only after incorporating input from the public, and from North Slope communicates and tribal organizations."
Interior said conditions in the approval include: drilling into the hydrocarbon-bearing zone only during solid ice conditions; seasonal restrictions on activities and vessel activities to reduce disturbance to Cross Island whaling; and obtaining other required permits from state and federal agencies.
"We are pleased with today's announcement," Hilcorp Alaska Senior Vice President David Wilkins said in a statement. "The Record of Decision is the result of years of study and due diligence by multiple federal, state and local agencies and the project team. If granted final approvals, the Liberty Project will provide decades of responsible resource development and strengthen the energy future of Alaska and the United States."
- Petroleum News
See story in Oct. 28 issue, available online Friday, Oct. 26 at www.PetroleumNews.com
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