Feds OK ConocoPhillips Alaska North Slope project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a bridge-and-road project that will give ConocoPhillips access to the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska’s North Slope, the federal agency announced today.

The Clean Water Act permit gives ConocoPhillips the go-ahead for its CD-5 Alpine Satellite Development Project. The oil company has long sought to drill and develop the area and needed the permits to build infrastructure connecting CD-5 to existing pipelines.

The thumbs-up concludes a yearlong federal review and follows approvals earlier this month by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The permit allows Houston-based ConocoPhillips to cross the Colville River, with construction of four bridges, a six-mile access road, a drill pad, two valve pads and pipeline support structures. But the Army Corps says it laid out in its 134-page decision 22 requirements to reduce the project’s environmental impact.

“Today’s decision clears the way for the National Petroleum Reserve’s first oil production,” said U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a written statement. “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.”