Eni gets approval for Arctic exploration

  • Two Crowley high-deck strength barges, 455-3 and Marty J, towed by tugs Warrior and Commander, are seen in 2011 transporting processing and utility modules, and other smaller structural components to support Eni’s development of the Nikaitchuq oil field at the manmade Spy Island in Alaska state waters. Eni has filed plans to drill into federal leases from the island. (Photo/Courtesy/Crowley Maritime Corp.)

Federal regulators have conditionally approved exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea by a subsidiary of an Italian multinational oil and gas company.

Eni US Operating Co. Inc., part of Eni S.p.A., plans to drill four exploration wells from Spy Island, an artificial gravel island in state waters, starting in December.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced conditional approval of the exploratory drilling plan late Wednesday. The conditions include obtaining permits to drill from Alaska and other federal agencies.

Environmental groups object to Arctic offshore drilling and say potential spills put polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals at risk.

Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity says Eni’s plan calls for extended-reach wells that could stretch more than 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) into federal waters.

07/13/2017 - 10:26am