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BLM-Alaska to Analyze First Proposed Production Well in National Petroleum Reserve

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Land Management today published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to conduct an environmental review for the first proposed oil and gas production well in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).

In July, ConocoPhillips, Alaska, Inc. submitted an application for a right-of-way grant and related authorizations to construct a drill site, access road, pipelines, and other facilities to support development of petroleum resources within the Greater Mooses Tooth (GMT) Unit. The proposed GMT1 project would facilitate the first production of oil from federal lands in the NPR-A on Alaska’s North Slope. The BLM holds surface ownership of the drill site and the majority of the infield road and pipeline route. The GMT1 site is about 17 miles west of ConocoPhillips’s producing Alpine Field on State of Alaska lands.

As part of his initiative to spur the safe and responsible development of domestic energy resources, President Obama directed the BLM to conduct annual oil and gas lease sales in the 22.1-million acre NPR-A starting in 2011. Since then, the BLM has issued leases for more than 280,000 acres. Currently, 10 lessees hold over 1.5 million acres in 191 leases. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the NPR-A contains 896 million barrels of technically recoverable oil. It is also home to wildlife and considered by the region's native Inupiat people to be an important area for fishing and hunting.

The Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 requires the BLM to manage the NPR-A for maximum protection of areas containing significant subsistence, recreational, fish and wildlife or historical or scenic values while conducting an expeditious program of oil and gas leasing.

The proposed development is subject to the management direction provided in the BLM’s 2004 Alpine Satellite Development Plan (ASPD) and the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan finalized earlier this year. Since the ASDP Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was issued, the polar bear has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and critical habitat has been proposed. These new circumstances will be addressed in a Supplemental EIS. 

A three week scoping period for the Draft Supplemental EIS began with publication of the Notice of Intent in the Federal Register today. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the planning process. The BLM invites the public to provide comments on scoping issues. 

Comments on the proposed GMT1 Development Project may be submitted by any of the following methods:

·          email:         BLM_AK_AKSO_GMT_1_Comments@blm.gov

·          fax:            (907) 271- 5479

·          mail:          Attn:  GMT1 Scoping Comments

222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13

                                                Anchorage, Alaska 99513.

Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the Fairbanks District Office, 1150 University Avenue, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709; and the Alaska State Office Public Room, 222 West 7th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99513.

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