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BSEE approves Eni's Beaufort Sea drilling plans

Written by  Karen Boman Tuesday, 28 November 2017 13:50

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has approved Eni’s drilling plans for the Beaufort Sea offshore Alaska.

US Arctic offshore Source: BSEE

The Italian-based exploration and production firm submitted an application for a four-well wildcat program earlier this year, and could start drilling as early as next month, BSEE reported today (28 November). Eni will conduct drilling on the Spy Island Drillsite, a man-made artificial island approximately three miles offshore of Oliktok Point, in State of Alaska waters. The island and Oliktok Point are already home to Eni production facilities comprising 18 producing wells, 13 injector wells and one disposal well.

Eni’s exploration plan consists of drilling four exploration wells – including two mainbores and two sidetracks -- over the next two years from its Nikaitchuq North Project. The firm plans to use extended-reach drilling techniques to target a formation in the newly formed Harrison Bay Block 6423 unit, a 13-lease unit on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that BSEE approved in December 2016. Eni will jointly explore the Harrison Bay Block 6423 Unit with Shell using the Doyon Rig 15 for drilling operations.

According to Eni, the exploration program could add an additional 100-110 jobs during the drilling of the well, BSEE stated.  New development could lead to the creation of at least 100-150 jobs in the region and new production of at least 20,000 bo/d.

In July this year, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the plan for Eni subsidiary Eni US Operating Co. to conduct drilling during winter months.  Eni was required after receiving BOEM approval to seek appropriate permits from state and federal agencies, including BSEE.

Eni’s Spy Island is one of four oil and gas producing artificial islands in the waters of the Beaufort Sea. The others are Northstar Island, Endicott Island, and Oooguruk Island. The construction of a fifth island, as proposed in a development and production plan submitted to BOEM by Hilcorp Alaska, is under review by federal agencies, says BOEM. That project, Liberty, would be the first completely federal OCS production facility in the Alaska region if approved.

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