AEC has rounded up a few Alaskan energy stories we think you should know about:
Local Media: New Energy Projects on the Rise
Alaska’s media outlets have taken a pulse check on the state’s energy prospects and the readings are encouraging. As Alaska Public Media reports, there’s increasing interest throughout the North Slope, particularly in Alaska’s shallow offshore waters of the Beaufort Sea. Two projects have continued to build momentum, raising the prospect of much needed oil development. Both Eni and Hilcorp Alaska have offshore development proposals; projects that would bolster Alaska’s TAPS system and bring sorely needed jobs to the state.
Eni has been active on the North Slope for over a decade, and currently holds 75 leases in U.S. Arctic waters. Their latest Beaufort Sea project will involve drilling from Spy Island, situated three miles from shore in shallow water depths.
The Liberty project is a joint venture of Hilcorp Alaska, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), and BP and will involve the construction of a gravel island approximately six miles offshore and situated in 6-9 feet deep shallow waters. These gravel islands have a proven track record for safe exploration and development, as four islands have already been developed and producing oil for decades. As Jim Kendall, regional BOEM director assessed, the project is pretty straight forward, commenting that:
“It’s another gravel island, it’s been done before. It’s close to shore.”
New investments are also linked to the energy rich regions of the Cook Inlet. As Alaska’s Journal of Commerce recently noted, Hilcorp Alaska has proposed a project to redirect oil movement across the Cook Inlet from tankers to undersea pipelines. Cook Inlet oil has been safely produced since the 1960’s but the investment to pipelines will bolster Alaska’s energy transfer infrastructure further still, a move cheered by the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council.
The federal government is also evaluating a request from ASRC (Alaska’s largest Native-owned corporation) regarding its Beaufort Sea lease assets. ASRC is hoping to formally “suspend” operations at some of its Beaufort holdings. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has already combined 20 leases into one unit, and an extension would allow these prospects to be developed at a later date. Suspending these leases would give ASRC more time to pursue viable projects for new energy development.
The news that companies continue to invest in Alaska is promising, but not surprising. Alaska has been America’s energy heartland for over 50 years. These long-term projections bode well for continued investment for more domestic job creation and greater energy security.