Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
January 2021

Vol. 26, No.2 Week of January 10, 2021

ConocoPhillips has funded FEED at its Willow NPR-A development

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

ConocoPhillips approved funding for front-end engineering and design, FEED, for its Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska earlier in December, ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman told Petroleum News in a Dec. 29 email. The funding “includes gravel work for the 2021 winter season, and progress with detailed engineering based on the development plan approved in the ROD,” she said.

The record of decision or ROD on the final environmental impact statement for the project was signed by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Oct. 26 (see story in Nov. 1 issue of PN). The FEIS for the project was released in August.

“A final investment decision is planned for late 2021,” Lowman said.

Gravel work permitted

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit for gravel work at Willow on Dec. 18. That permit is for the discharge of clean fill and associated work in waters of the U.S. for construction of the Willow master development project at portions of the Bear Tooth and Greater Mooses Tooth units in NPR-A.

After the Willow ROD was released in October Lowman told PN that it allowed the company to move forward with project planning. “A decision on moving into FEED (Front-End Engineering and Design) will be made later this year, but project construction could begin in 2021 subject to receiving regulatory approvals,” Lowman told PN in an October email.

Willow project

ConocoPhillips made the Willow discovery in 2016 at its Bear Tooth unit in NPR-A, west of its producing units at Greater Mooses Tooth in NPR-A and Colville River on state acreage.

BLM said projected production at Willow is 160,000 barrels per day with a processing capacity of 200,000 bpd, with production estimated over 30 years to total 586 million barrels of oil.

In a press release on the record of decision, BLM said the ROD deferred a decision on portions of the proposal, including drill sites Bear Tooth 4 and Bear Tooth 5 and gravel roads and pipelines associated with those drill sites; these are the most northerly and southerly of the five drill sites proposed for the project.

BLM said the deferral was “to allow the Proponent to undertake additional consultation with stakeholders in the community of Nuiqsut to further address concerns some stakeholders have raised regarding potential impacts to caribou migration and subsistence hunting associated with these portions of the Project, prior to BLM addressing approval of these drill sites in a record of decision.”

The Willow project will extend an all-season gravel road from Greater Mooses Tooth southeast with gravel roads connecting all project gravel infrastructure including the Willow Processing Facility, Willow Operations Center and the drill sites.

“The access road alignment would provide direct gravel-road access from the existing gravel road network in the GMT and Alpine developments to the Project facilities,” BLM said, allowing for “additional operational safety and risk reduction by providing redundancies and additional contingencies for each development,” as well as providing support for “reasonably foreseeable future actions,” the agency said.


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