ConocoPhillips moves forward with plans to drill near North Slope village

ConocoPhillips is urgent forward with plans to drill a intently watched North Slope prospect beginning in January, after taking steps to deal with the close by village of Nuiqsut’s considerations.

However the firm nonetheless faces an uphill battle to drill at a website three.5 miles east of Nuiqsut, stated Mamie Pardue, the mayor.

“Nearly all of the village is towards it,” she stated of the drilling.

Opposition from the Inupiaq village of 450 stopped ConocoPhillips’ exploration plans on the Putu prospect final winter, the oil big stated. Putu means “gap”  in Inupiaq.

However this winter, ConocoPhillips has taken “extraordinary” steps to scale back impacts, stated Lanston Chinn, chief government of Kuukpik Corp., the village’s Native company.

One key step includes operating an electrical line sheathed in protecting ice a few mile throughout tundra to energy the drilling rig. The electrical drilling operation will substitute the standard diesel-fueled drilling rig, considerably decreasing the danger of dangerous emissions wafting over the village, stated Chinn.

A state-of-the artwork, low-emission generator will feed energy into the electrical line, he stated. The corporate plans to make use of additional air and water monitoring stations.

If the screens “get near reaching any ranges that could possibly be an issue, then the corporate has already dedicated to going right into a heat shutdown mode,” Chinn stated. At that time, the turbines will function solely at minimal ranges, to maintain gear from freezing till the issue is solved.

Ready vans will probably be plugged into energy retailers as an alternative of left idling, with lights off, he stated. If there’s sufficient snow, a noise-decreasing berm might be constructed.

The plan was developed over months of negotiation between the village and ConocoPhillips, Chinn stated.

“They’ve exceeded what we have been considering early on,” he stated, including that Kuukpik opposed drilling final winter.

Natalie Lowman, a spokeswoman for ConocoPhillips in Alaska, stated the corporate is “dedicated to collaborating” with Nuiqsut.

“We would like the group to be snug with the drilling program,” she stated.

However in Nuiqsut, with growing oil and fuel exercise inside 25 miles, residents fear about contaminants deciding on rivers and tundra used for subsistence searching and fishing, stated Pardue.

The drilling exercise will happen close to an space the place Arctic cisco and different fish have lengthy been caught to feed households, she stated.

“We really feel it is too shut,” she stated.

Drilling this winter…

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