The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Hilcorp Alaska’s proposed Liberty offshore oil and gas development and production plan in the Beaufort Sea.
Similar to artificial islands where oil and gas are produced in nearby state waters, Hilcorp proposes to build a small artificial gravel island in 19 ft of federal water in the Beaufort Sea, about 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, on a 9-acre site.
The company plans to install a pipe-in-pipe subsea pipeline to deliver oil to shore. The offshore portion of the pipeline will be laid in a trench, and then buried, BOEM said in a news release. Onshore the pipeline would connect with the Badami pipeline which connects with the existing oil and gas infrastructure at Prudhoe Bay.
“The federal submerged lands of the Beaufort Sea are known to have great oil and gas potential,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruikshank said in the release. “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 offshore pipeline will have automatic leak-detection and temperature-monitoring technology, according to BOEM. The company also has committed to minimize disruption to subsistence activities, including whaling.
“In its project design, Hilcorp included numerous measures to mitigate potential impacts and the company will also be required to comply with all stipulations associated with their three federal leases,” BOEM said. “The mitigation measures that the federal government will require of Hilcorp will be determined during the NEPA review process and Endangered Species Act consultations, resulting in Biological Opinions, Marine Mammal Protection Act authorizations, and other permits that must be obtained from the Federal regulatory agencies.”
The EIS, which analyzes the possible environmental impacts of the activities the proposed development, is open for public comment through Nov. 18. The draft EIS and instructions for commenting may be found at www.boem.gov/liberty.