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Hilcorp aims for Alaska manmade island

Written by  Monday, 14 December 2015 09:01

Houston-based Hilcorp filed its plan with the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to build a self-contained island for drilling operations in the Beaufort Sea, offshore Alaska.

Conceptual 3D rendering of the proposed Liberty Island, from Hilcorp.

Hilcorp’s Alaska arm filed a development and production plan to BOEM, the first of several steps in the permitting process, to build an island that is expected to take two years.  

BOEM is deciding how to assess the environmental effect of the Liberty Project, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Liberty oilfield, according to Hilcorp, contains one of the largest potential sources of new light oil production on the North Slope, with an estimated 80-130 MMbbl. Should the project be developed, peak production is estimated to be 60,000 b/d from a  total of five production wells.

The proposed 9.3-acre Liberty Island will be connected to land by a subsea pipeline, then through a newly constructed 1.5mi conventional pipeline that ties into the Badami pipeline — and eventually the trans-Alaska pipeline. The subsea pipeline will be a pipe-in-pipe, with a 12in diameter inner pipe and a 16in diameter outer pipeline similar to other offshore installations. The marine segment will be 5.6mi in length, buried and installed during winter, Hilcorp said.

It is set to be located 15mi east of Prudhoe Bay in Foggy Island Bay, and will be approximately 6mi offshore, in 19ft water depth.

The island will have facilities for drilling, production, production support, utilities, camp and relief-well area. The outer perimeter of the island will be heavily reinforced using proven North Slope technology, Hilcorp said. The island will also be in an area that is well protected from the moving polar icepack, shielded by a belt of offshore barrier islands and covered by stable “shore-fast” sea ice in winter.

Hilcorp is comparing the proposed Liberty Island to other islands that have been built and developed Alaska’s offshore resources for almost 30 years, which include Endicott, Northstar, Oooguruk, and Nikaitchuq.

There will be no permanent road or causeway to connect the island to the mainland, and all personnel and equipment will be transported by helicopter or boat.

Partners in the Liberty Project include Hilcorp Alaska, BP, and ASRC Exploration.

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