The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is inviting public feedback on Eni US Operating's Beaufort Sea exploration plan (EP) north of Alaska following the fulfilment of all regulatory requirements.
In its plan, Italian oil and gas company Eni’s US subsidiary proposes drilling into the federal submerged lands of the Beaufort Sea from its pre-existing facility Spy Island Drillsite situated in Alaska state waters.
BOEM will evaluate the EP in 30 calendar days according to the federal law and regulations.
The agency will carry out a site-specific environmental assessment of the proposed exploration activities under the National Environmental Policy Act.
After the assessment, it reserves the right to approve, disapprove or propose modifications to the EP.
The public comment period is split into two separate but partially concurrent intervals, which include a ten-day period and a 21-day period.
In the first period, members of the public can provide their opinions on the issues that should be examined in the environmental assessment, while the final period will address the EP.
An EP outlines all exploration activities planned by the operator for a specific lease or leases.
It includes the timing of these activities, information about drilling processes, location of the wells, and other activities needed to fulfill important safety and environmental standards.
The plan does not provide the operator with permission to produce oil from the resource, if discovered.
The operator needs to obtain approval of a development and production plan (DPP) to start operations.
Along with the EP, Eni also needs to obtain all appropriate permits from other state and federal agencies.
Currently, there are four oil and gas producing islands in the waters of the Beaufort Sea. Construction of a fifth island, as proposed by Hilcorp Alaska, is under review by federal agencies.
Image: Eni headquarters, San Donato Milanese. Photo: courtesy of Eni via Flickr.