BOEM seeks public input on Hilcorp’s Beaufort Sea project

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing the impacts of proposed activities on the Liberty project in the Beaufort Sea, and has invited the public to comment on the plan.

Hilcorp filed the plan describing the expected activities at the Liberty offshore oil and gas development and production plan in September 2015.

The publication of the draft EIS opens a 90-day public comment period, which lasts until midnight November 18. During this time, BOEM will conduct public hearings and accept comments and the input received will be used to prepare the final EIS.

Vincent DeVito, counselor for energy policy at the U.S. Department of the Interior, said: “Publication of the draft EIS is another important step in the Department’s strategy of responsible resource development, and we are committed to working with states, Alaska Native communities, investors, and all stakeholders when we analyze development and production plans.”

BOEM added that it already scheduled five public hearings in five Alaskan cities in early October.


Development and production plan

In the plan, Hilcorp proposes to build a small artificial gravel island in the shallow federal waters of the Beaufort Sea, about 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay.

To be located about five miles off the coast in Foggy Island Bay, the 36,400 square meter site would be similar to the oil and gas producing artificial Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island, and Oooguruk Island currently operating in the area’s state waters.

Hilcorp plans to install a “pipe-in-pipe”” subsea pipeline to deliver oil to shore. Onshore, the pipeline would connect to the Badami pipeline which further connects to an existing oil and gas infrastructure at Prudhoe Bay.

BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruikshank said: “The submerged federal lands of the Beaufort Sea are known to have great oil and gas potential. They also contain sensitive marine and coastal resources that Alaska native communities depend on for subsistence. During this comment period, we look forward to discussing this draft EIS with the Beaufort Sea coastal communities and getting meaningful feedback on ways it can be refined and enhanced.”

Hilcorp’s DPP commits the company to several actions to minimize disruption to subsistence activities, including whaling, that play a vital role in the lives of Alaska Native communities along the Arctic coast.