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Hilcorp’s plan for a 23-acre gravel island, about the size of 17.4 football fields, has drawn mixed reviews from conservationists and outright condemnation from environmentalists who believe the oil should stay in the ground.
The 57 blocks on offer include 34 in the Barents Sea southeast, the first new area to be opened to exploration in Norway since 1994.
San Antonio-based refiner Tesoro said it’s buying all of Flint Hills’ wholesale fuel marketing contracts in Alaska, along with a terminal in Anchorage with 580,000 barrels of storage, a truck rack and rail-loading capability.
Norway’s biggest oil explorer and producer is set to drill 16 wells in the country as an operator in 2015, down from 21 last year.
The Alaska Dispatch News reports that when production begins in 2018 at the filed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska — an Indiana-sized Arctic reserve — the project is expected to yield 30,000 barrels of oil daily at its peak.
The oil bust has forced Shell and its rivals to recalibrate the timing and affordability of projects around the world.
The company first applied to produce oil from its Greater Mooses Tooth site in Alaska 13 years ago.
After failing to find commercially viable quantities of oil and gas at its Chukchi Sea well, Shell said it will halt exploring U.S. Arctic waters and could take a $4.1 billion write down.
“If the U.S. stands in the background, Russia will move forward, and things won’t be as good as they could be if the U.S. had a seat at the table in the Arctic,” said Jed Hamilton, senior Arctic consultant at Exxon Mobil Upstream Research Company.
Although other gravel islands have been built in the Beaufort Sea, Hilcorp’s proposed Liberty project would be the first oil production facility located entirely in federal waters off the Alaska coast.