BOEM: Hilcorp submits plan for Liberty project

Hilcorp Alaska, LLC (Hilcorp) has submitted a Development and Production Plan (DPP) relating to oil and gas development on the Liberty Prospect, offshore Alaska. 

The Liberty Prospect is located 8.85 km offshore in about 6m of water, inside the Beaufort Sea’s barrier islands. It is 32 km east of Prudhoe Bay and about 13 km east of the existing BP-operated Endicott oil field.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said on Friday that the plan had been 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, BOEM emphasized in the statement.

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.”

Gravel island

According to the bureau, 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.