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Army Corps Indicates It May Allow Conoco Expansion into NPR-A

House Democrats welcome the signs of progress and new exploration

Today, Alaska House Democrats released a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that indicates the agency may be prepared to approve ConocoPhillips Alaska’s plans to expand the Alpine unit into the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A).

“We know there is more work to be done, but we take this as a very positive indication that this important development for Alaska could be moving forward soon,” said Rep. Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks).

The letter is in response to a letter from 14 Alaska Democrats who 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. That decision not to allow a bridge from Conoco’s Alpine infrastructure over the Colville River to the NPR-A has delayed the project for over a year.

“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 if it can get the bridge permit it applied for over a year ago” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage).

If this project goes forward, it will be added 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 hopeful that this new development will get going soon.”

Read the Nov. 1, 2011 letter from the Army Corps here.

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

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