Alaska mulling Exxon vow to develop contested field
Alaska state officials are studying a written pledge made by Exxon Mobil Corp to begin condensate production at the long-dormant Point Thomson field on the North Slope by 2014 in a bid by the major and its partners to avoid the cancellation of their leases. ( Reuters )
Exxon and its partners BP, ConocoPhillips and Chevron have faced widespread skepticism over their latest development plan, the 23rd submitted by the partners, for Point Thomson.
The state of Alaska began proceedings to break up the Point Thomson unit and cancel the leases in December 2006, citing the companies' failure to develop the field.
The companies are now proposing the state approve their latest development plan in return for an agreement not to oppose the breakup of the field unit if the companies fail to put it into production by 2014.
"The (working interest owners) have the will, the incentive and the capability to perform the 23rd (plan of development) completely. The Plan contains no conditions or off ramps in lieu of performance that would excuse not fulfilling the terms of the plan of development," said the Exxon submission.
Exxon is seeking to combat skepticism amongst Alaskan officials and the public over its $1.3 billion development plan proposed in February.
Point Thomson is thought to contain at least 11 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 200 million barrels of condensates. Developing the field is viewed as a major step to building a pipeline to bring North Slope gas to markets in the rest of the United States.
Exxon said in February it was prepared to start drilling on the field in the winter of 2008-09 to begin initial production of 10,000 barrels per day of condensate by 2014.
An Alaska court has ordered the majors and the state to make a final attempt to come to a development agreement before proceeding with the lease cancellation process.