- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A Spanish oil company and a key partner are moving forward with the development of what they say could be a significant oil field on Alaska’s North Slope.

Repsol and Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas announced Tuesday that it’s too early to provide figures related to potential production rates or the size of the oil discovered in exploratory wells drilled this winter in the Colville River Delta, reported The Alaska Dispatch News (https://bit.ly/1FVqSG8).

Residents in Nuiqsut, a small village more than 600 miles north of Anchorage, are watching the development efforts with close scrutiny. The proposal includes development facilities that would be built on their land.

“I think you could say Repsol and its partner Armstrong feel good about the finds they’ve made, but there’s a lot more work for them to do before they can say proof positively what exactly they have there,” said Lanston Chinn, CEO of Kuukpik Corp., the Alaska Native corporation in Nuiqsut.

Repsol and Armstrong said they have begun the process to obtain development permits for the project, which could tap into the geologic formations called Nanushuk and Alpine. The formations would be accessed from a proposed development northeast of Nuiqsut.

Kuukpik Corp. has passed a resolution calling for an environmental impact statement to be associated with a permit that is needed to fill in wetlands on U.S. property.

Chinn said the Native entity wants to make sure the project undergoes a thorough review. He said they won’t support development that harms the village or the environment.

Diane Hunt, special projects and external relations coordinator at the state Division of Oil and Gas, said the companies have conducted a detailed exploration and delineation program.

“We are very pleased that their perseverance appears to be coming to fruition,” she said.

An Armstrong statement said discoveries have proven an oil pool that covers more than 25,000 acres. Additional drilling is needed to confirm the true size of the discoveries, Armstrong said, but this season’s results justify moving forward with development.

The statement from Repsol said the wells produced “better-than-expected results of good-quality crude which, added to the positive results from previous campaigns, confirm the significant development potential of the area.”

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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