US DOI approves first Alaskan offshore production facility

The first oil production facility located in federal waters offshore Alaska has been approved.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the US Department of the Interior (DOI), has issued a conditional approval for Hilcorp Energy’s Liberty Project.

The Liberty Project includes the construction of a more than 36,400 m2 artificial gravel island, as well as a 9 km subsea pipeline from the island to a shore crossing.

The 12 by 16 inch (305 by 406 mm) pipe-in-pipe system will be bundled with a 4 inch (102 mm) coiled utility line, along with an armoured fibre optic cable.

The utility line will be installed for future use as a fuel gas delivery line or to allow for a circulation loop with the 12 inch export line for upset conditions.

Located in shallow waters in the Beaufort Sea, approximately 32 km east of Prudhoe Bay and 8 km off the coast, the facility would be similar to the four oil and gas producing artificial islands currently operating in the area’s state waters: Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island and Oooguruk Island.

“Working with Alaska Native stakeholders, the Department of Interior is following through on President Trump’s promise of American energy dominance,” said DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“Today we’re announcing approval of the Hilcorp Liberty Project, which if completed, will be the first production facility ever located in federal waters off Alaska.

“American energy dominance is good for the economy, the environment, and our national security.

“Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries.

“That makes America stronger and more influential around the globe.”

BOEM used a rigorous evaluation process based on the best and most recent science available to evaluate the safety and environmental impacts of the project and conditionally approved the plan after incorporating input from the public, and from North Slope communities and tribal organisations.

Conditions of the approval include restricted drilling into the hydrocarbon-bearing zone, seasonal restrictions on activities and vessel traffic to reduce potential disturbance to cross island subsistence whaling activities and obtaining all required permits from other state and federal agencies.

For more information visit the DOI website.

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