The U.S. Minerals Management Service has confirmed that the suspension of Arctic drilling announced this morning does not include offshore drilling in state waters, but there is still no word on whether or not the suspension covers BP’s Liberty project.
“We will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska,” Pres. Obama said today, referring to Shell’s plans to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
That decision does not directly impact Pioneer Natural Resources’ Oooguruk project or Eni Petroleum’s Nikaitchuq project, both in the near shore waters of the Beaufort Sea.
Tadd Owens, a spokesman for Pioneer in Alaska, said in an e-mail to Petroleum News on May 27, “We do not anticipate any direct impact to our operations at Oooguruk.”
However, the MMS could not say whether the ruling impacts BP’s Liberty project, directing the question to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The DOI could not respond to questions immediately about the ruling, directing all questions to an e-mail account.
The DOI and BP did not respond to e-mails by press time.
BP plans to use ultra-extended reach wells at Liberty to tap federal reservoirs in the Outer Continental Shelf from state surface land on an artificial island at the Endicott field.
Editor’s note: See story in the May 30 issue, available online to subscribers at noon Alaska time on Friday, May 28.