Senator Mark Begich yesterday celebrated the news that the Army Corps of Engineers issued the permit that will allow ExxonMobil to develop the huge natural gas field at Point Thomson on Alaskaâ€™s North Slope.
After an approximately three-year process, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Exxon could proceed with its development plans in a release issued Friday morning.
“I applaud both Exxon and the Army Corps for staying at the table and working out this permit,” Begich said. “Point Thomson is a critical piece of Alaska’s energy future along with offshore development, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska and eventually, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I’ll continue to press the Obama Administration and the Department of the Interior to clear the way for development of the enormous oil and gas resources below the Arctic Ocean and elsewhere in Alaska.”
The permit is good news for Alaska’s economy and long-term prospects for an Alaska natural gas pipeline project, Begich said. The benefit isn’t just long term, though: Jobs will be created immediately from Point Thomson development.
This spring, Begich asked U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to allow the Alaska Interagency Energy Working Group to address the project to ensure there were no further delays. Throughout the summer, Begich, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young, kept in touch with Army Corps of Engineers officials and David Hayes, the Interior Department’s deputy secretary, to ensure the master federal permit would not delay development of the project.
Discovered in 1977, Point Thomson is primarily a natural gas field and is thought to hold 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, it also contains significant natural gas condensate and crude oil reserves. Once complete, the project will produce approximately 10,000 barrels per day of gas condensate.
The Letter from Begich to Salazar urging Point Thomson permit approval from April 16, 2012 can be read here.(pdf)