Go ahead on Nikaitchuq North plan
On July 12 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved Eni US Operating Co.’s plan for exploratory drilling into the Nikaitchuq North prospect in the federal outer continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea. The plan involves the drilling of up to two exceptionally long extended reach wells north into the federal continental shelf from an existing drill site on Spy Island in the Nikaitchuq field in state waters of the Beaufort. Depending on drilling results, Eni may drill sidetrack wells from the extended reach wells, to test the prospect.
The start of drilling of the first extended reach well is scheduled for mid-December of this year. Eni will need an approved oil spill response plan and a drilling permit from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement before drilling can commence.
“Eni brought to us a solid, well-considered plan,” said BOEM’s acting director, Walter Cruickshank. “We know there are vast oil and gas resources under the Beaufort Sea, and we look forward to working with Eni in their efforts to tap into this energy potential.”
BOEM says that it has spent 30 days carefully evaluating Eni’s plan in accordance with federal law and regulations. The agency has published an environmental assessment for the plan, with that assessment finding no significant environmental impact from Eni’s proposals. The agency’s evaluation of the plan also involved two public comment periods, one to allow input to the environmental assessment and one to enable comments on the plan itself.
“I’d like to thank our Alaska Native stakeholder organizations, environmental groups, members of industry and everyone else who took the time to submit substantive comments,” said James Kendall, director of BOEM’s Alaska OCS region. “Our staff worked very diligently to analyze every one we received, and incorporate that input into our review.”
- ALAN BAILEY