Feds approve second Conoco oil project in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

ConocoPhillips’ Alpine facility on the North Slope. Oil from Greater Mooses Tooth 2 will be processed at the Alpine facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/AED)

The Trump administration has handed a key approval to ConocoPhillips for an oil development on the North Slope, west of Prudhoe Bay.

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The Bureau of Land Management today announced it has issued a joint record of decision with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Greater Mooses Tooth 2 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

In a statement, BLM Alaska Acting State Director Ted Murphy called it a “milestone for responsible energy development.”

According to Conoco, the Greater Mooses Tooth 2 drill site could produce up to 40,000 barrels of oil per day. The company aims to begin construction this winter, and complete the project by 2021.

Greater Mooses Tooth 2 will be connected via an 8.6-mile pipeline to Conoco’s Greater Mooses Tooth 1 project. Greater Mooses Tooth 1 started producing oil last week, and is the first oil development on federal leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

One environmental group quickly came out against the decision to approve Greater Mooses Tooth 2.

“Opening the country’s largest roadless area to industrial oil development is a huge step in the wrong direction,” Kristen Monsell, oceans program legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

Conoco now controls the majority of leased federal land in the reserve.

West of the Greater Mooses Tooth sites, Conoco is also pursuing an even bigger oil development, called the Willow project. The Bureau of Land Management began the environmental review process for Willow this summer.

Conoco estimates Willow could produce up to 100,000 barrels per day — a full fifth of the amount of oil currently flowing down the trans-Alaska pipeline.