Decisions upcoming for C-P projects in NPR-A


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The U.S. Bureau of Land Management expects to complete a final supplemental environmental impact statement on ConocoPhillips’ Greater Moose’s Tooth 1 development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska by September, and a Record of Decision for the project about a month later.

The ROD will clear the path for other federal agencies to issue permits, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Section 404 permit on wetlands, BLM spokeswoman Erin Curtis said. Public comments on the draft supplemental environmental impact statement, or SEIS, closed April 22.

ConocoPhillips is developing the project with its minority partner, Anadarko Petroleum Co. GMT-1 and CD-5, another project now in construction, would be the first commercial oil projects developed in the 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Although NPR-A is federal land, the State of Alaska will receive state production tax revenue and a share of federal royalties from any production.

Assuming the permits for GMT-1 are in hand, and no serious regulatory problems have surfaced to date, ConocoPhillips spokesman Natalie Lowman said the company board of directors could give the final go-ahead for GMT-1 late this year.

At the same meeting, Lowman said the board will also decide on two other proposed ConocoPhillips projects: a new drill site and an expansion of the West Sak viscous oil project, both in the Kuparuk River field.

However, the outcome of a referendum in the Alaska August primary election that could repeal the 2013 reform of the state oil production tax will also be weighed by the company’s board.

For now, assuming the board’s approval is given, ConocoPhillips’ schedule for GMT-1 calls for ordering long lead-time items like steel late this year and to begin construction in early 2016 of an 8-mile gravel road and 12-acre gravel production pad along with bridge piers for two stream crossings, according to the company’s plan submitted to BLM.

In the first quarter of 2017, installation of vertical support members for pipelines and construction of the pipelines, power systems and production facilities would be done. Drilling of production wells would begin in the second quarter of 2017 with first production late that year, according to the schedule.

The plan also calls for a bundle of four pipelines to serve GMT-1. This includes a 20-inch pipeline to carry fluids from the site, a mixture of crude oil, gas and water, to the CD-5 pad from where it will be shipped on to oil and gas processing facilities in the Alpine field. The processed, sales-quality crude oil would be shipped from the Alpine field to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System through the existing Alpine field pipeline.

GMT-1’s pipeline bundle also includes a 14-inch pipeline to transport water —either seawater or produced reservoir water — for pressure maintenance along with two six-inch pipelines, one to carry lean gas from the Alpine field for pressure maintenance and a second to carry a miscible injectant, a mixture of natural gas liquids, for enhanced oil recovery.

GMT-1 is expected to produce about 30,000 barrels per day at peak.

The initial development program at GMT-1 calls for 33 wells. About 400 construction workers will be employed at peak.

ConocoPhillips is also drilling exploration wells to test for the possibility of further development in the area. This winter the company drilled two wells, the “Rendezvous 3” test to assess the potential for a future GMT-2 several miles west of GMT-1, and “Flat Top,” a well near GMT-1 drilled to evaluate acreage that site for future expansion.

Meanwhile, construction is proceeding on CD-5, a $1 billion project near the Alpine field that, once complete, will also support the development of GMT-1 farther west.

About $400 million will be spent in 2014 on CD-5 construction with about 600 workers employed this year mostly in the winter-spring construction season.

Three small bridges for the project are now complete with the final bridge to be finished by early 2015. Drilling of production wells will also start in early 2015.

Tim Bradner can be reached at tim.bradner@alaskajournal.com.

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