ExxonMobil yesterday held a meeting with officials from the Department of Natural Resources as a precursor to applying for permits for the company’s proposed drilling program at Point Thomson. The unit is in litigation following its termination by DNR.
The purpose of the meeting was to explain the proposed drilling program and obtain feedback from the regulators on finalizing permit applications, the company said.
At the start of the meeting DNR read a statement setting out DNR’s position with regard to the meeting, Nan Thompson, petroleum manager for DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas, told Petroleum News today.
“The purpose of this pre-application meeting is to listen to the applicant’s presentation, learn why the permits are needed and understand which leases would be impacted by issuance of permits,” the statement said. “The fact that DNR is holding this meeting should not be construed as meaning that DNR agrees with Exxon’s legal position with respect to the validity of the leases.”
The statement also warned Exxon that if DNR issued any of the requested permits, the litigation over the legal status of the leases would continue and that the issuance of any permits would not be considered “a waiver of DNR’s rights in any manner.”
Thompson told Petroleum News that DNR would evaluate the permit applications and might issue some permits, depending on what activities were being permitted, what leases were involved and the status of on-going litigation.
The program that Exxon wants to permit involves drilling a total of nine wells, with six wells from the Point Thomson unit No. 3 pad, two wells from an ice pad on the west side of the field and one well from the North Staines River No. 1 pad on the east side of the field. Exxon said that it plans to drill the first well in the Point Thomson unit No. 3 pad in the winter of 2008-09.