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Hilcorp seeks permit for offshore survey

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Hilcorp purchased several blocks of federal leases in Cook Inlet in 2017.

Before it can even think about exploring for oil and gas there, the company has to do a geohazard survey to gauge potential geological hazards in the area.

The company planned to survey four lease blocks last year but was delayed because of the pandemic. It estimates the survey will take about a month and will happen during fishing season in Lower Cook Inlet.

Currently, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is asking for input on an environmental assessment of Hilcorp’s survey plan, and is taking comment until March 22. It wants to hear from fishermen and others who might be affected by the survey. 

The agency estimates the federal waters of Cook Inlet, which stretch down to the southern tip of Kodiak, contain 1 billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. With 14 tracts, Hilcorp is the sole owner of federal leases in the inlet.

There has never been a production well drilled in Cook Inlet’s federal waters. All the platforms in the inlet are in state waters, within three miles of shore.

Earlier this year, the federal government planned to hold another lease sale in Cook Inlet, but that sale was put on pause when President Joe Biden indefinitely halted all new leases. Earlier federal lease sales in the inlet have been canceled due to lack of industry interest.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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