August 30, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 73August 2004

BLM completes Alpine satellite environmental impact statement

The Bureau of Land Management released the final environmental impact statement for ConocoPhillips Alaska’s Alpine satellites development plan today. The document can be read on-line through the BLM website

BLM said the final EIS contains the agency-preferred alternative, which modifies ConocoPhillips’ proposal in several areas. Major changes include: relocating portions of gravel access roads and pipelines outside a three-mile setback for Fish Creek; raising pipelines to seven feet to assist migrating caribou; lengthening the bridge across a channel of the Colville River; moving power lines from separate poles to cable trays mounted on the pipeline supports; and adding environmental enhancements to the access road to pad CD-4.

“We made a number of positive adjustments to reflect considerations raised by the public and cooperating agencies,” Henri Bisson, BLM’s Alaska state director, said in a statement. “Several key changes responded specifically to concerns about subsistence issues raised by residents of Nuiqsut which will also help protect the environment,” he said.

ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Dawn Patience told Petroleum News that the company was pleased that the final EIS is being released. “The final EIS is the initial step in development of these five satellites,” she said. ConocoPhillips will be reviewing stipulations in the document. A record of decision on the EIS and the “outcome of remaining permits” are required before the company will make a decision to sanction the projects, she said.

BLM spokesman Ed Bovy told Petroleum News that the agency anticipates that the record of decision will be signed sometime in October. The public comment on the final EIS closes Oct. 4.

Patience said the North Slope Borough has issued a permit for CD-4, the pad south of Alpine at the Nanuq discovery, but said ConocoPhillips “cannot move the project forward under the current permit stipulations.” She could not provide more information because the company is negotiating those stipulations with the borough.

ConocoPhillips will continue to work with the North Slope Borough on the permit issues, she said, but: “The permits for this project must be in hand before a decision is made on this winter’s activity.”

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