BOEM Seeks Public Comment on Liberty Prospect Development and Production Plan

09-18-2015 ANCHORAGE, Alaska

Contacts:  John Callahan
907-334-5208

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today that a Development and Production Plan (DPP) received from Hilcorp Alaska, LLC (Hilcorp) relating to oil and gas development on the Liberty Prospect was deemed “submitted,” – or deemed complete to move forward in the government’s review process – initiating a 60-day period for the public to review and comment on the DPP.

This announcement does not mean that the DPP has been or will ultimately be approved; it merely denotes that BOEM has conducted a preliminary assessment and determined that Hilcorp has submitted the information required under regulations for a Development and Production Plan to move forward in the regulatory process. This area covers two leases that were issued in 1991 and 1996 under previous Administrations.

A DPP describes development and production activities proposed by an operator for a lease or group of leases. The description includes the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling methods, the location of each proposed well or production platform or other structure, and an analysis of both offshore and onshore impacts that may occur as a result of the plan's implementation.

“BOEM will conduct a rigorous evaluation of this DPP, recognizing the significant environmental, social and ecological resources in the region and honoring our responsibility to protect this critical ecosystem, our Arctic communities, and the subsistence needs and cultural traditions of Alaska Natives,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “ Any activity proposed offshore Alaska is scrutinized using the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards.”

Hilcorp proposes building a gravel island in approximately 19 feet of water to support a work surface of about 9.3 acres for the drilling facility at the Liberty Prospect, a site that has been evaluated and explored by industry beginning more than thirty years ago. The proposed facility would be similar to the company’s Northstar Production Facility, which has been in operation since October 2001, and which is located in state waters about 40 feet deep and about 31 miles to the northwest of the proposed Liberty Island location. The Northstar facility has a work area of about six acres. The proposed facility would be built on a man-made gravel island in federal waters about five miles off Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast to develop hydrocarbon resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

Gravel islands similar to the one proposed have been built in State of Alaska waters to support other production facilities at the Oooguruk and Nikaitchuq fields in the Beaufort Sea.

BOEM will begin its comprehensive review of the DPP by accepting and reviewing public comments through Regulations.gov, the federal government’s official rulemaking portal.

As part of its regulatory program, BOEM will issue a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on September 25, 2015. This EIS will analyze the DPP’s potential environmental effects, and will provide opportunity for public comment. It is anticipated that the environmental analysis of the DPP will take several years and will be closely coordinated with numerous federal and state agencies and consultations with appropriate federally recognized tribes. BOEM will not make a decision to approve, disapprove, or require modifications to the DPP until after the completion of the EIS.

To comment, or to review comments, go to www.regulations.gov and enter “BOEM Liberty” in the search field or BOEM-2015-0096. Comments must be received by midnight Eastern Daylight Time on the date indicated in the regulation.gov announcement.”

Hilcorp’s Liberty DPP can be viewed at: http://www.boem.gov/Hilcorp-Liberty/.

BOEM

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.