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April 26, 2011 --- Vol. 17, No. 36April 2011

ExxonMobil says latest EIS schedule delay ‘will directly impact’ Point Thomson start-up

The latest slip in the federal schedule for completing an environmental impact statement for the Point Thomson project could hurt chances of meeting a 2014 goal for first production, ExxonMobil says.

“ExxonMobil can confirm that the revised schedule for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Record of Decision for the Point Thomson Project Environmental Impact Statement will directly impact timing of project site work and ultimately start-up,” company spokeswoman Margaret Ross said in an e-mail to Petroleum News.

This would appear to be the first time ExxonMobil has wavered on its stated goal of starting production of 10,000 barrels per day of natural gas condensate from Point Thomson by year-end 2014.

ExxonMobil is operator at Point Thomson, located adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Other major stakeholders include BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

To develop the production facilities necessary for its gas cycling project, ExxonMobil first needs a wetlands permit from the Corps of Engineers. The project would be a substantial construction job for contractors working on Alaska’s North Slope.

The agency in December 2009 gave notice of its intent to prepare an EIS for ExxonMobil’s permit application. Originally, the Corps projected issuing a record of decision in August 2011.

But a series of schedule extensions, the latest reported April 19, has pushed out the decision date to August 2012, a full year beyond the original estimate.

The Corps has attributed the schedule slips to such factors as the need to complete certain studies, and changes in the project design.

“ExxonMobil has worked collaboratively with the Corps to fully support the EIS process with timely submission of technical information,” the e-mail from ExxonMobil’s Ross said. “We will continue to work with the Corps, and the cooperating state and federal agencies, to seek EIS schedule improvement opportunities while maintaining the quality of the process.”

See more in May 1 issue, available online at 11 a.m. Friday, April 29, at www.PetroleumNews.com

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