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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today made a decision to grant Conoco-Phillips permit authorization to construct a drill pad, two valve pads, pipeline support structures, access roads and four bridge crossings for the development of the CD-5 drill site. This site is located just inside the eastern border of NPR-A. This decision came as a result of a ten-year push by Conoco-Phillips to tap the reserves of a satellite of their North Slope Alpine field.
Lisa Murkowski welcomes the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers, saying in a release, “Today’s decision clears the way for the National Petroleum Reserve’s first oil production,” Murkowski said. “NPR-A has long been cited as an example of the federal government’s commitment to domestic oil production, but in reality the gates to NPR-A have been locked by bureaucracy and regulatory red tape. The Corps’ revised decision finally unlocks those gates.”
From her position as top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, Senator Murkowski, has pressed the Obama Administration, as well as the Interior department, Corps of Engineers and the EPA for the last two years attempting to eliminate the road blocks against the authorization.
Understanding this process, or similar processes are going to be needed to work out permitting for other oil and gas projects in the future, Senator Murkowski said, “In May, the president pledged to increase safe and responsible oil production, and directed the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve,” Murkowski said. “Today’s decision represents a victory for Alaska that was a long time coming. If the president wants to make good on his promise to increase oil production from NPR-A, he must take concrete steps to ensure that future projects are not subject to this type of unnecessary delay.”
Representative Young also commented on the authorization today, while withholding any praise for the parties involved in the decision, he stated, “While I certainly welcome today’s announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers, the truth is that approval of the CD-5 project is long overdue and frankly should have been green lighted the first time. Nevertheless, this is a project that will allow Conoco to start developing their leases in the NPR-A and help put oil in the pipeline – both of which will help grow Alaska’s economy and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.”
Governor Parnell also released a short statement after recieving the news of the Corps decision, in that statement released from his office, he said, “I commend the Corps for finally moving this vital project forward. The potential new production from the NPR-A can lead to more jobs for Alaskans. Increasing responsible energy production is a national and economic security imperative. We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
This decision was the final hurdle before Conoco-Phillips could begin work to connect the oil and gas that will be produced from the CD-5 pad to the pipeline and infrastructure at their Alpine Field.