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January 04, 2008 --- Vol. 14, No. 2January 2008

DNR calls for briefing on Point Thomson

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has called for briefing on an appropriate remedy following rejection of the proposed modified 22nd plan of development for the Point Thomson unit.

Alaska Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason’s Dec. 26 decision on the appeal by Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Exploration (Alaska), Chevron U.S.A. and ConocoPhillips Alaska affirmed DNR’s decision to reject the proposed plan but remanded the matter to DNR so that the appellants could be heard on an appropriate remedy (see story in Jan. 6 issue of Petroleum News available online at noon today).

In a Jan. 3 letter to attorneys for the appellants, DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin said the department is providing notice that it is considering an appropriate remedy for the failure to submit an acceptable plan and “is specifically considering the remedy of termination of the Point Thomson unit.”

He said the companies may submit briefing to DNR on whether unit termination is the appropriate remedy — and if unit termination is not appropriate, what remedy would be appropriate for the failure to submit an acceptable plan of development.

Briefings are due Feb. 4.

Upper Foothills open for tundra travel

The Department of Natural Resources Division of Mining, Land and Water said this morning that soil temperatures and snow cover within the Upper Foothills area have met the criteria for opening (9 inches of snow and colder than minus 5 degrees Celsius at 30 centimeters depth) for off-road travel.

The opening was effective at 9 a.m.

The division said the opening applies only to those operators with valid off-road vehicle travel permits to operate on state-owned lands on the North Slope.

DNR staff will continue to travel to the North Slope to determine when the Eastern Coastal and Lower Foothills areas can be opened.

The Western Coastal area was opened Dec. 28.

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