Last Friday the U.S. Minerals Management Service published the final environmental impact statement for BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.'s Beaufort Sea Liberty project.
The EIS evaluates a development and production plan, an oil spill contingency plan and a pipeline right-of-way application submitted by BP in early 1998. The Liberty project was put on hold by BP in January pending an ongoing re-evaluation of its configuration and costs.
On March 5, BP asked MMS and other permitting agencies to consider permit applications incomplete and suspend processing them.
“BP indicated that submission of a modified DPP for the Liberty project would likely take 6 months or more,” MMS said in a written statement today.
The agency decided to publish the final EIS “because it documents the extensive analysis done for the project, and MMS expects to use it as a reference document for future projects.”
BP proposed to develop the Liberty Prospect from a gravel island
about five miles from shore, 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, and about 8 miles east of its Endicott development. The proposal includes a self-contained offshore drilling and production facility on a man-made gravel island and a sub-sea and onshore pipeline that would connect to the Badami oil pipeline.
BP estimates that Liberty contains 120 million barrels of recoverable oil. MMS said the state of Alaska would share 27 percent of the federal royalties.
The final EIS analyzes BP’s proposed development and production plan and a variety of alternatives, such island location and pipeline route, pipeline design and burial depth, island slope protection, and potential gravel sources.
The final EIS also examines the No Action alternative.
MMS said the EIS “contains a good deal of technical information beyond what is normal for an EIS.”