Eni submits Beaufort Sea exploration plan. BOEM seeks public input

Italian oil company Eni is looking to explore for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea, offshore Alaska, and the U.S. offshore regulator has invited public comment on the company’s exploration plan.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said the plan proposed to drill into the federal submerged lands of the Beaufort Sea from its Spy Island Drillsite, a pre-existing facility located in Alaska state waters.

The proposed exploratory drilling of Eni’s Nikaitchuq North Project, consists of four exploration wells, two mainbores and two sidetracks from the man-made island using the Doyon Rig 15. The rig is a mobile oil and gas well drilling facility capable of drilling in extreme arctic conditions. The rig design consists of fully integrated modules capable of drilling on 8-foot well spacing

The Bureau has 30 calendar days to evaluate the plan in accordance with federal law and regulations. This evaluation will include a site-specific environmental assessment of the proposed exploration activities under the National Environmental Policy Act. By the end of the 30-day period, BOEM may approve, disapprove, or require modifications to the exploration plan.

An exploration plan describes all exploration activities planned by the operator for a specific lease or leases, including the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling processes, the surface location of each planned well, and actions to be taken to meet important safety and environmental standards and to protect access to subsistence resources.

On the other hand, an exploration plan does not allow an operator to produce oil if any is found. For that, an operator is required to obtain approval of a development and production plan (DPP).

The Bureau said that Eni is responsible for procuring all appropriate permits from other state and federal agencies.

There are currently four o&g-producing islands in the waters of the Beaufort Sea. Apart from the existing Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island, and Oooguruk Island, the construction of a fifth island proposed in a DPP submitted to BOEM by Hilcorp Alaska LLC, is under review by federal agencies.

As far as Eni’s operations in Alaska go, the company is involved in exploration and development operations in the North Slope region in Alaska, holding interests in 107 leases in Alaska, of which 75 are located in Federal offshore waters of the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea, and 32 are state onshore leases.

Offshore Energy Today Staff