Posts Tagged ‘Northstar’

The shrinking of the OCS oil and gas program continues. In an attempt to placate opponents of the Willow project, the President has removed the entire Beaufort Sea from oil and gas leasing consideration. Unsurprisingly, the opponents of Willow are no less irate.

Under the authority granted to me in section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1341(a), I hereby withdraw from disposition by oil or gas leasing for a time period without specific expiration the areas designated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as the Beaufort Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf that have not previously been withdrawn.  

White House directive

The 5 Hilcorp leases identified above (Northstar and Liberty projects) are all that remains of the once promising Beaufort Sea planning area.
The Kulluk, pictured above, was a unique conical shaped and ice strengthened drilling vessel that operated in the US and Canadian Beaufort from 1983-1993.
BP’s Mukluk well being drilled from an artificial island in the US Beaufort Sea in 1983. The $120 million exploratory well was the most expensive in history, but did not find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.

Historical background

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Northstar, Beaufort Sea

The only current Alaskan OCS production is from Northstar, a joint State-Federal Unit in the Beaufort Sea. The production island is in State waters, but 7 of the wells produce from the Federal sector. The field was originally developed by bp, but Hilcorp is the current operator. To date, BSEE has conducted 5 inspections of the facility in 2022, and no incidents of noncompliance (INCs) were identified.

Per BOEM records, 4 companies operate Pacific (California) OCS facilities that are currently producing. Three of those operators have superior 2022 inspection records. No INCs were issued to either Exxon (11 Santa Ynez Unit inspections) or Freeport-McMoRan (24 Platform Irene inspections). Only 2 warning INCs were issued during 12 inspections of Beta Operating Co. platforms Ellen, Elly, and Eureka in the Beta Unit offshore Long Beach.

Marine life on Platform Eureka, from this Hakai article

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