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Hurdle Cleared: Oil Development in National Petroleum Reserve Moving Forward

Agreement between federal agencies and ConocoPhillips means more exploration, jobs

Today, Alaska House Democrats welcomed news that federal agencies have reached an agreement in principle with ConocoPhillips that could allow the company to go forward with its plans for a major new development in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A). ConocoPhillips first applied for its permit to expand the Alpine field into the NPR-A over a year ago.

“I’m excited that Conoco will finally be able to move ahead with this important new development and that Alaskans will at last be able to share the jobs and benefits of tapping the resources in the NPR-A.” said Rep. Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks). “I hope this project will be able to move forward this drilling season.”

“I am excited to hear the forward progress on the bridge permit,” said Minority Whip Rep. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage). “This will not only help ConocoPhillips with development of their leases in NPR-A, but other current and future NPR-A leaseholders as well.”

House Democrats have been diligently pressing the federal agencies to resolve their concerns over the permits so ConocoPhillips could move ahead with the Alpine satellite field. In February, fourteen Alaska Democrats wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal officials encouraging them to reverse the Corps’ decision to block ConocoPhillips’ development of the CD-5 Alpine Development in the NPR-A.

“We wanted the feds to know this was a bi-partisan, Alaska issue. We need the oil development, and Conoco has announced it will develop in NPR-A under the existing ACES tax law once it gets the bridge permit it applied for over a year ago” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage).

If this project goes forward, it could add to what is poised to be the busiest exploration season in the past two decades, all occurring under the current ACES tax law, with exploration drilling announcements already made by Great Bear, Repsol, Ultra Star, Linc Energy, and Brooks Range Petroleum.

“What’s the point of having a national petroleum reserve if you can’t access it for oil development?” asked Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage). “It’s too bad it’s been delayed this long, but I’m encouraged that this new development should get going soon.”

Read the Feb. 28, 2011 letter from Alaska Democrats here.

 

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