November 24, 1998 --- Vol. 4, No. 53November 1998

State files to intervene in NPR-A lawsuit

The state filed Nov. 23 seeking to intervene in a lawsuit that attempts to overturn the decision of the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow strictly controlled oil and gas leasing within a portion of National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The state filing also seeks to have the lawsuit moved from Washington, D.C., to Anchorage. The state said Arctic Slope Regional Corp. is also seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, alleging that the secretary of interior's decision was correct and in the best interests of the residents of the North Slope and ASRC shareholders.

The adequacy of the environmental impact statement for NPR-A was challenged in early October by plaintiffs including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness League, the Alaska Center for the Environment and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. The lawsuit alleges that the plan to allow oil and gas leasing adversely affects the rights of the environmental groups' members to use and enjoy the lands and resources within the NPR-A.

A little ahead of the facts…

An item in the November issue of World Oil reports that “ARCO now plans to add a 200,000-bpd gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in addition to its LNG project on Alaska’s North Slope. The facilities would be built in increments of 50,000 bpd…”

ARCO Alaska Inc. spokesman Ronnie Chappell told PNA Nov. 23 that both liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids are being evaluated. “ARCO sees opportunities in both approaches,” he said.

But, Chappell said, “no project has yet been sanctioned.”

ARCO is getting ready to begin a 70-barrel a day GTL pilot project at its Cherry Point refinery, Chappell said.

LNG is ARCO’s base case, he said, and the LNG sponsor group announced earlier this year is evaluating ways to make that project economic.

GTL is the dark horse, not proven on a commercial basis. GTL, Chappell said, “can be done if the goal is fuel at any price.”

A 200,000 bopd GTL plant would require about as much gas as the 14 million ton LNG project being evaluated, and there’s gas enough for both projects, he said. “We see opportunities in both approaches, but no project has been sanctioned,” Chappell said.

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