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March 20, 2007 --- Vol. 13, No. 28March 2007

Shell Beaufort Sea ACMP review period extended

Alaska’s Permitting.html'>Office of Project Management and Permitting has extended the Alaska Coastal Management Plan review period for Shell’s Beaufort Sea 2007 to 2009 drilling program. OPMP has not yet determined a revised deadline for comments on the plan, but does not anticipate a lengthy delay in the review process, Ben Greene, OPMP oil, gas and energy manager, told Petroleum News March 20.

The deadline for public comments had been March 19.

The extension will allow time for Shell, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation and OPMP to respond to questions from the North Slope Borough and from DEC.html'>ADEC, and is a routine procedure in processing an ACMP application, Greene said.

The postponement of the deadline will also enable the scheduling of two public hearings on the North Slope during the first week of April, Greene said.

“We received requests for a total of four public hearings,” Greene said — those requests came from the villages of Wainwright, Point Hope, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik.

OPMP elected to arrange hearings at Nuiqsut and Kaktovik, because those two villages are close to Shell’s operational area. But OPMP is making teleconference arrangements that will enable the communities at Wainwright and Point Hope to participate in the hearings, Greene said.

Shell is planning to use two drilling vessels to drill three or four wells in the Sivulliq prospect on the western side of Camden Bay in 2007, as part of a program to drill three to four Beaufort Sea wells per year between 2007 and 2009. The company’s ACMP application also talks about collecting data to evaluate a Sivulliq development that might include a buried subsea pipeline that would make landfall near Point Thompson.

The ACMP review does not include Shell’s planned seismic testing and data acquisition in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas — the seismic work comes under the U.S. Minerals Management Service geological and geophysical permitting procedures. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is also reviewing a proposal by Shell to test the feasibility of on-ice seismic data acquisition in the Beaufort.

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