US oil and gas company ConocoPhillips has announced its decision to proceed with the Willow oil and gas project in Alaska.
ConocoPhillips said the final investment decision (FID) will fund the construction necessary to start producing oil.
Based on the estimates by the Bureau of Land Management, the Willow project could generate between $8bn and $17bn in new revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska, and Alaska Native communities.
Over its lifespan, the Willow project is expected to produce around 600 million barrels of oil.
The energy company said the project has undergone five years of thorough regulatory and environmental scrutiny and it is designed to operate in harmony with subsistence activities on Alaska’s North Slope.
Willow will be built mostly with materials that are produced and obtained in the US.
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The project is anticipated to generate over 2,500 construction jobs and roughly 300 permanent positions, bolstering the local economy and job market.
In March this year, the US government approved a trimmed-down version of the project, which will be located inside Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, a region spanning 23-million-acre.
The authorisation of the multibillion-dollar project was contested by environmental and indigenous organisations, but a federal judge affirmed the March decision last month.
ConocoPhillips plans to construct an airstrip, several kilometres of ice roads, three drill pads, and over 40km of gravel roads for the project.
ConocoPhillips chairman and CEO Ryan Lance said: “We are excited to reach this significant milestone. With this project authorisation, we have begun winter construction and Alaskans have started to receive the benefits from responsible energy development.
“We are grateful for the many supporters who advocated for Willow. Our employees and the contractor community have dedicated years to designing a project that will provide reliable energy while adhering to the highest environmental standards.”