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Alaska Governor Asks Salazar to Expedite Point Thomson Decision

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to help expedite an Army Corps of Engineers decision on permits to develop the state’s Point Thomson oil and gas field after it was delayed.

The decision was delayed to as late as December from September, Parnell said in an Aug. 11 letter to Salazar, which was e-mailed yesterday, Sharon Leighow, an Anchorage-based spokeswoman for the governor, said in an e-mailed statement.

Point Thomson includes 38 leases on roughly 93,000 acres of land about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope. It’s estimated to hold as much as 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of gas liquids and oil, according to Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources.

Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and BP Plc resolved a lawsuit on March 30 that they filed against Alaska in 2006 after the state revoked their leases for failing to submit an acceptable development plan.

Under the settlement, a facility is being designed to produce 200 million cubic feet of gas a day and 10,000 barrels of condensate a day, according to the March agreement filed in state court in Anchorage. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2016, according to the agreement. A liquid hydrocarbon pipeline that can move 70,000 barrels a day is also being designed.

Permitting delays “would jeopardize critical energy production from the North Slope to boost the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the creation of thousands of jobs that our country so desperately needs,” Parnell said in the letter.

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