The State of Alaska has applied for two pipeline rights of way that would link eastern North Slope oil and gas discoveries with the Prudhoe Bay complex to the west.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Project Management and Permitting filed the applications with the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office on Sept. 20 as part of Gov. Frank Murkowski’s effort to provide “key infrastructure” to “accelerate oil and gas development on the eastern North Slope,” DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Director Mark Myers told Petroleum News today.
The conditional pipeline rights of way would begin just inside the western border of the ExxonMobil-operated Point Thomson unit, which is adjacent to the 1002 area of ANWR on the east, and “terminate at a point of connection to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and/or a future gas processing facility and proposed gas transportation pipeline. The proposed rights of way, one for liquids and the other for gas, are approximately 45 miles long and located on state-owned lands,” DNR said.
Although Myers said the state has not decided if it will actually build the line, DNR Deputy Commissioner Dick LeFevre told Petroleum News “we want to be ready if we do have an opportunity for development out there — future explorers working offshore or onshore will know they will have a pipeline they can tap into.”
“We’ve been looking at a lot of things to help spur North Slope development,” Myers said, “such as staging areas and roads. … Development at Alpine spurred a lot of activity on the western North Slope and into NPR-A.” DNR, he said, is hoping potential explorers on the eastern North Slope will be encouraged by the state’s rights-of-way applications.
A company interested in building one or both of the lines could take over DNR’s rights of way to build a regulated pipeline, LeFevre said.
After reviewing DNR’s applications to ensure they are complete, the pipeline coordinator’s office will make the application available to the public for comment.
Editor’s note: See full story in the Sept. 25 issue of Petroleum News, which will be posted online on Friday at noon (Alaska time).