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NEWS BULLETIN

November 08, 2011 --- Vol. 17, No. 98November 2011

Army Corps releases draft EIS for Point Thomson project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a draft environmental impact statement for ExxonMobil’s proposed Point Thomson natural gas condensate development on Alaska’s North Slope.

The EIS compares ExxonMobil’s project against four other alternatives: no action; inland work pads with gravel access road; inland pads with seasonal ice road access; and coastal pads with seasonal ice roads.

The no action alternative “would result from the Corps not issuing a permit for gravel fill and other construction activities,” the EIS executive summary says.

Point Thomson is a rich but undeveloped oil and gas field along the Beaufort Sea coastline, next to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Besides the operator, ExxonMobil, other major stakeholders in Point Thomson include BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

All the companies are involved in a court fight to maintain control of the Point Thomson acreage, which the state of Alaska has moved to reclaim due to lack of development from the field since its discovery in the 1970s.

The state and the oil companies are trying to settle the matter.

In response to the state’s pressure, ExxonMobil is proposing to begin production of 10,000 barrels a day of gas condensate from Point Thomson by year-end 2014. The company already has drilled a pair of wells at the remote site.

The draft EIS comes several months later than the Corps had originally planned. ExxonMobil put in its application for a wetlands permit in October 2009.

The EIS will be up for public comment until Jan. 3. The document is available online at www.pointthomsonprojecteis.com.

The Corps plans to publish a final EIS in early fall of 2012 and a record of decision in late 2012.

—Wesley Loy

See full story in Nov. 13 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 11 at www.PetroleumNews.com

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