The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today issued a permit to Hilcorp Alaska LLC to conduct a geohazards survey in the federal waters of Cook Inlet, off the coast of Southcentral Alaska. The area to be surveyed is in lower Cook Inlet, west to southwest of Kachemak Bay.
In June 2017, Hilcorp acquired 14 Outer Continental Shelf leases from Lease Sale 244. In the fall of 2019, Hilcorp conducted an exploration seismic survey over several of these leases. The company now proposes to conduct a geohazard site clearance survey over these leases and the surrounding area, comprising approximately 228 square kilometers. This survey is required by BOEM prior to consideration of any further exploration activities and is used to identify seafloor obstructions, shallow drilling hazards, and archaeological resources.
Hilcorp expects to begin the survey in late summer. The company will have until Oct. 31 to complete operations -- the exact length of the survey will depend on weather and any schedule adjustments needed to protect marine mammals.
The survey will involve a geohazard survey vessel. Data collecting equipment will be both mounted on the vessel and towed behind the vessel. Monitoring for marine mammals will be conducted by trained protected species observers deployed on the vessel throughout the survey program.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, BOEM conducted a careful review and determined that Hilcorp’s proposed activities had been sufficiently analyzed in the 2016 Environmental Impact Statement written in support of Cook Inlet OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 244. That EIS, and documents outlining coverage for the survey under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as associated environmental mitigation measures, are online and referenced in the permit documents published on the website below.
Full information about Hilcorp’s permit—including a map and the relevant NEPA documents — is available at: https://www.boem.gov/gg20-01.