The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a record of decision on two Alpine satellites Dec. 6, approving an application by ConocoPhillips Alaska to expand their existing facility in the Colville River Delta on Alaska’s North Slope.
The Corps was a cooperating agency in the record of decision for the Alpine satellite projected signed Nov. 8 by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the lead agency on the project. The Alpine satellite project includes five satellite drilling pads, all of which will feed back into existing Alpine facilities for crude oil processing.
The Corps said ConocoPhillips Alaska divided their Alpine satellite development proposal into two parts near the end of the environmental impact statement process, and the permits approved by the Corps cover CD-3 and CD-4, the Alpine satellites at the Fiord and Nanuq discoveries on state leases within the Colville River unit.
The Corps said Alaska District Engineer Col. Timothy Gallagher approved the proposal “with modifications and stipulations to reduce and minimize expected impacts and protect the environment.”
ConocoPhillips Alaska proposed culvert batteries for two road crossings of a paleo-channel leading to CD-4. “As discussed in the EIS, the environmentally preferred alternative … containing bridges with open spans is an apparent practicable alternative to culvert batteries,” the Corps said. During break-up events, the paleo-channel “conveys flow to area lakes” and the flows “are important for lake recharge, fish migration and water quality.”
The Corps offered ConocoPhillips an alternative: the company can either install bridges with minimum 25-foot open spans “or hydraulically equivalent culvert batteries,” but if it chooses the culvert batteries, the Corps must approve the final design and would require monitoring. “Should monitoring demonstrate the culvert installation to be deficient, bridging or other hydraulic improvements would be required,” the Corps said.
The Corps said CD-3 and CD-4 “are interdependent because they will share a single drill rig, drilling at CD-3 during winter and at CD-4 during summer.”