ACTION ALERT
Call for comments for the Liberty Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement
 Comment Deadline: November 18, 2017 

Overview
The Bureau of  Ocean Energy Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Liberty Project, proposed by Hilcorp Alaska, LLC. Liberty is a light-oil reservoir in nearshore federal waters with an estimated 150-330 million barrels of oil in place. Peak production of between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels per day is projected within two years of initial production. The field is located 15 miles east of Prudhoe Bay.

Hilcorp proposes constructing an artificial gravel island about six miles offshore in 19 feet of water that is optimally located to minimize drilling and production risks. The outer perimeter of the 9-acre island would be armored with concrete blocks and steel sheetpile, using proven technology to protect it from ice pressure and storm surges. The island would be similar to the four oil and gas producing islands currently in operation in state waters of the Beaufort Sea – Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island, and Oooguruk Island. The island will be used for wells, production facilities, a camp, utilities, and a dedicated area for a relief-well. To minimize its environmental footprint, no permanent road or causeway would connect it to the mainland.

Oil would be transported to shore via a subsea pipeline, then through a newly constructed 1.5-mile onshore pipeline connecting to the Badami pipeline and eventually to the trans-Alaska pipeline. The subsea pipeline would be a pipe-within-a-pipe with a 12-inch diameter inner pipe and a 16-inch diameter outer pipeline similar to installations at the offshore Oooguruk and Nikaitchuq fields. The marine segment would be 5.6 miles in length, installed during winter and buried deeply in the subsea floor, safe from ice.

The rigorous multi-year permitting process for Liberty has addressed concerns raised during previous comment periods. Approximately 60 federal, state, and local permits and authorizations are required before the project can move forward. The latest DEIS at 1,270 pages is the result of decades of study and research.

Hilcorp has majority ownership in Liberty with BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., and AEX ASRC Exploration as partners. Hilcorp would be the operator.

The comment period is now underway and a series of public hearings will be held. The comment deadline is Saturday, November 18. For additional information: boem.gov/hilcorp-liberty/

Action Requested:
Please submit comments urging BOEM to approve the Proposed Action in the DEIS and allow the Liberty project to move forward. In addition, please present brief testimony at one of the upcoming public hearings supporting the project.

Public Hearings: All times 7:00-10:00 PM

Nuiqsut:           Oct. 2nd  Kisik Community Center
Fairbanks        Oct. 3rd  Westmark Hotel                      
Kaktovik          Oct. 4th  Kaktovik Community Center
Utqiagvik:        Oct. 5th    Inupiat Heritage Center
Anchorage:     Oct. 10th  Dena’ina Center

Submit written comments: Online: boem.gov/hilcorp-liberty/” or Post to regulations.gov

Search field: BOEM-2015-0068

Points to consider in your comments:

  • BOEM should approve the Proposed Action in the DEIS and allow the Liberty project to move forward. Liberty is an important project for Alaska as it will produce an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 barrels of oil per day, creating hundreds of new jobs, and providing royalty payments to the State of Alaska, as well as tax revenue to the North Slope Borough.
  • Alaska’s economic lifeline, TAPS, is now running at three-quarters empty. Liberty will increase TAPS throughput, helping to keep it operating longer and more efficiently.
  • State and local spending of taxes and royalties paid by the oil and gas industry directly creates jobs in the public sector and indirectly creates jobs throughout the private sector. The project would generate significant long-term business and economic activity. For each direct oil industry job, 20 additional jobs are generated in the Alaska economy.
  • The Liberty production island will be well-protected from the polar ice pack, sheltered by a belt of offshore barrier islands. 
  • The Liberty project builds upon more than 30 years of proven technology and safe operation in the shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea. Artificial islands in the Beaufort Sea date back to the mid-1970s. In the last 40 years, 18 islands have been responsibly constructed for exploration and development of oil and gas.
  • The offshore Liberty pipeline will be buried in the subsea floor. It will include automatic leak detection and temperature-monitoring technology, proven technology utilized on existing production islands in the region.
  • The rigorous multi-year permitting process for Liberty has addressed the concerns that were raised during the previous comment period. Approximately 60 federal, state, and local permits and authorizations are required before the project can move forward.
  • Hilcorp has committed to signing a Conflict Avoidance Agreement with local whaling groups to engage with the whalers to protect subsistence activities.

Deadline Saturday, November 18, 2017