The Permitting Process for Oil Exploration and Development Projects on the North Slope of Alaska—An Oil Company Perspective

by Peter T. Hanley, BP Exploration (Alaska), Anchorage, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


The five oil fields of Alaska's North Slope, including the giant Prudhoe Bay field the largest oil field in North America, contribute approximately 25% of United State domestic oil production (currently 1.7 million barrels per day). These oil fields with the exception of Endicott (the first offshore producing field in the Arctic) are located on the tundra wetlands of the Arctic Coastal Plain between the Sagavanirktok and Colville rivers This paper reviews, from and oil company perspective, the complex regulatory framework (Federal, State and local) that governs oil and gas exploration and development on the North Slope, the permit processing record of the major agencies, and some of the environmental issues that influence oil development. This regulatory framework is illustrated which shows the major authorizations required for a relatively simple oil development project and the interrelationships of the permitting and commenting agencies involved. Two major environmental issues wetlands and causeways-have been selected for more detailed discussion.

Subject Headings: Slopes | Project management | Wetlands (coastal) | Offshore platforms | Coastal processes | Permits | Oil pipelines | Bays | United States | Alaska | Arctic | North America

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