BSEE oversees spudding of new oil well offshore Alaska

New oil exploration in Arctic federal waters is underway this week with the spudding of a new oil well from an existing man-made island in the Beaufort Sea, according to a news release issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.


The agency reported that two BSEE personnel were on-hand Monday to ensure compliance with approved permits, federal regulations, and safety standards as Eni US Operating Company Inc began new well operations from Spy Island Drillsite in state waters.


The spudding of the well follows the Bureau’s  approval on the 28th November of Eni’s Application for Permit to Drill, and a pre-drill inspection on the 6th-10th December.


During a pre-drill inspection BSEE examined drilling equipment, assessed overall readiness, tested key safety devices, and verified lease stipulations and environmental mitigation measures.


“The Arctic offshore is an important part of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS),” said BSEE Director Scott Angelle. “BSEE will be at the forefront working with operators to promote safe and environmentally-sustainable operations.”


BSEE Alaska Region Director Mark Fesmire said: “It’s critical that our BSEE inspection team were on-hand this month to witness equipment tests and verify all operations. As drilling operations continue, BSEE will provide oversight to ensure operations are being conducted in accordance with approved plans and permits.”


Throughout the drilling of the well, the BSEE says that its Alaska Region inspectors will make visits to the drill site, both on a regular schedule and at times of critical operations such as Blowout Preventer testing.


In addition to the new federal OCS drilling operations from Spy Island, BSEE Alaska Region personnel, in coordination with State of Alaska, currently oversee oil production at Northstar Island in the Beaufort Sea, producing approximately 10,000 b/d of oil.


A second project in the Beaufort Sea, known as Liberty, is currently in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement phase with the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management.


If permitted, Liberty would be the first completely federal OCS production facility in the Alaska Region.