Most people have at least seen a photo of a typical offshore oil rig. But what most people probably haven’t seen is an artificially built island meant to serve as a platform for offshore drilling. That is what one company, Hilcorp Alaska LLC., is planning on doing to drill offshore for oil in Alaskan waters. Hilcorp Alaska LLC is a subsidiary of the Hilcorp Energy Co. The company has been pouring a lot of capital into land and other assets in Alaska.
The island would be created by layering gravel and would enable easy access to deep drilling opportunities. It will span a total of 23 acres and be placed about 6 miles from land. There will be approximately five wells that will be used for extracting oil. The drilling is expected to produce around 70,000 barrels a day after being in operation for two years.
The project must first be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The Bureau is not expected to have an answer until 2017. Additionally, earlier in the year, Hilcorp Alaska LLC had an accident where nearly 4,000 gallons of oil and other liquids spilled into Alaskan waters. Not exactly a strong selling point when trying to apply for a new drilling project. Many environmentalists have been protesting the project, and some other companies have already pulled out of the Alaskan area because of criticisms from such groups. However, Hilcorp plans on moving forward with the project provided the Bureau gives its blessing.
Article written by HEI contributor Timothy McNally.