The environmental assessment is out for Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s Altamura exploration prospect in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska approximately 19 miles southwest of Nuiqsut and four to six miles west of the Colville River.
The Bureau of Land Management released the environmental assessment Dec. 13; comments are due Jan. 16. BLM will then issue a decision.
Anadarko is proposing to drill two exploratory wells during the next two years at Altamura south of recent NPR-A discoveries where Anadarko is a partner to operator Phillips Alaska Inc.
BLM said that the purpose of the Altamura project is to delineate the potential southern extension of the oil and gas formation discovered on the nearby leases.
Anadarko had also proposed to drill the Kanna prospect east of Altamura, but BLM said that as the project was discussed with local communities, the North Slope Borough, the NPR-A Subsistence Advisory Panel and other agencies and entities, Anadarko eliminated drilling at Kanna, relocated the ice airstrip from lake to land-based and to added special provisions for spill response during spring operations.
BLM said Kanna was eliminated from the proposal because it is closer to the Colville River and its special resources, paleontological and subsistence, and farther from discoveries to the north. A world-class dinosaur paleontological site occurs approximately six miles east of Altamura — the northernmost occurrence of dinosaur fossils in North America — and that the Altamura area is used year round for hunting and gathering, but mostly in the winter, when hunters from Nuiqsut travel south to the hills approximately 20 miles south of Altamura.