This week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) wrapped up its community meetings to hear from Alaskans on the Liberty Project. The regulators trekked across the state to hold hearings and listen first hand to communities opinion on the project. The meetings concluded this Tuesday with a well-attended Anchorage session. While each hearing represented a wide variety of communities, from the North Slope to Fairbanks to Anchorage; one theme remained the same, a strong majority of Alaskans came out to support the project and tout the benefits it will bring.
Modeled after proven technology, the Liberty development will involve the construction of a gravel island to access natural resources lying under the shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea. The gravel island model has been safely used multiple times in Alaskan state waters. The North Slope project will bring online $1 billion in investment and is expected produce to up to 70,000 barrels per day at peak production. The Liberty partners estimate that the development will have a field life of 20-30 years.
In addition to these benefits, many Alaska residents pointed out that Liberty could provide much needed throughput for Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS); a lifeline to Alaska’s economy. Seventy thousand barrels per day equates to almost 15% of TAPS current throughput of 500,000 barrels per day.
Kara Moriarty, President of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association emphasized this point in a recent op-ed:
“Liberty’s high-quality oil will help keep TAPS operating longer and more efficiently by adding light oil to the increasingly heavier oil now flowing through the pipeline. Alaska needs the oil, and Liberty could significantly boost production when we need it most.”
Andy Mack, who leads Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources capped off the Anchorage meeting with heavy praise for the project:
“There’s no doubt — there’s no doubt at all — that the economic benefits are substantia[..]It’s one of the projects in Alaska that’s been studied very, very extensively and I think that it’s a good project.”
The public comment period for Liberty will close November 18th. If you’d like to support the project, you can submit your comments here.