Hilcorp proposed to create a nine-acre artificial gravel island in the Beaufort Sea, 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay and about five miles off the coast. The facility will be similar to the four oil and gas producing artificial islands that are currently operating in the area’s state waters:
- Spy Island;
- Northstar Island;
- Endicott Island;
- Oooguruk Island.
BOEM conditionally approved the plan after using input from the public, and from North Slope communities and tribal organizations. As the project proceeds, BOEM will be cooperating with Hilcorp to ensure all appropriate safeguards are applied.
The approval conditions include:
- Restricted drilling into the hydrocarbon-bearing zone;
- Seasonal restrictions on activities and vessel traffic to reduce potential disturbance to Cross Island subsistence whaling activities;
- Obtaining all required permits from other state and federal agencies.
Before this, during August BOEM published an Environmental Impact Statement that analyzed the possible environmental impacts of Hilcorp’s proposal.