After years of permitting delays, ConocoPhillips Co. is moving ahead on CD-5, the fourth satellite of its Alpine field on the North Slope, the company announced Oct. 25.
The ConocoPhillips board sanctioned the project in October, according to Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production Matt Fox. “The project is now pending partner approval, which is expected in November,” Fox said during a third quarter earnings call.
ConocoPhillips expects CD-5 production to begin in 2016, Fox said. The company previously estimated construction would begin in 2014 with first oil in late 2015.
ConocoPhillips operates the Colville River unit and owns a 78 percent working interest in the leases, while partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. holds the remaining 22 percent.
After bringing the Alpine field at the Colville River unit into production in 2000, ConocoPhillips and Anadarko brought three Alpine satellites online over the following decade: Fiord in August 2006, Nanuq in December 2006 and Qannik in 2008.
Also known as Alpine West, the CD-5 satellite would be the first development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, located just across the Colville River from Alpine.
Bridging the gapThe plans for how best to cross the river caused major delays.
In 2005, ConocoPhillips applied for a permit to build a utility bridge across the Nigliq Channel of the Colville, but withdrew the application in early 2008 after officials in Nuiqsut and the North Slope Borough questioned the proposed location of the bridge.
Once the parties agreed on a new location, ConocoPhillips resubmitted its application in 2009, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit in early 2010, suggesting that ConocoPhillips use horizontal directional drilling to go under the Nigliq Channel.
Backed by state and congressional leaders, ConocoPhillips appealed the ruling. In late 2011 the Corps approved the bridge “with special conditions to ensure that all appropriate and practicable steps to minimize potential adverse impacts to the aquatic ecosystem have been taken, and to ensure the project would not be contrary to the public interest.”
The CD-5 drill site would be located some five miles west of the main Alpine facilities.
Fiord, or CD-3, is an isolated drill site located some three miles north of the Alpine facilities accessed by air or a temporary winter ice road. Nanuq, or CD-4, is a drill site some four miles south of the Alpine facilities accessed by gravel road. Qannik is an extension of the CD-2 drill site located some two miles west of the main Alpine facilities.