Environmental Considerations of Oil & Gas Exploration & Production on Alaska s s North Slope. Presented by: Caryn Rea Sr.

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1 Environmental Considerations of Oil & Gas Exploration & Production on Alaska s s North Slope Presented by: Caryn Rea Sr. Staff Biologist Canada-US Oil and Gas Conference Nov 30 Dec 2, 2010

2 Presentation Outline Characteristics of Alaska s North Slope Technological advances that minimize footprint Role of Environmental Studies Program Data Management Process Stakeholder Relationships & Project Partners Path Forward Slide 2

3 Alaska s North Slope The Physical Environment A flat, treeless, plain located 400 km north of Arctic Circle North Slope = 230,500 km 2 in area Developed area = 808 km 2 (0.35% of total area) Winter temperatures frequently -30 o C to -40 o C Annual precipitation <250 mm per year Permafrost extends to depth of m Slide 3

4 Alaska s North Slope Socioeconomic Profile 8 Indigenous communities with residents Strong traditional subsistence culture North Slope Borough municipal government All Territory above Arctic Circle Energy industry provides 95% of North Slope Borough s property tax revenue Wildlife-rich Alaskan Arctic & highvalue habitat Village of Nuiqsut Slide 4

5 ConocoPhillips North Slope Operations 28% WI TAPS Pipeline GMTU State Land Slide 5

6 Advances in North Slope Exploration & Development Understanding the Ecosystem Partnering with agencies, the North Slope Borough, communities & engos, in robust, integrated & comprehensive environmental studies program Traditional Ecological Knowledge Subsistence Harvest for Qaaktaq Exploration - Winter Minimizing Impact Seasonal work: winter exploration & construction Use of temporary ice roads & pads Advances in: equipment design & tundra travel directional & extended reach drilling technology Closed-Loop (contained) drilling Exploration - Summer 2 m Wellhead Slide 6

7 Drilling Lookout #1, 2001 Rolligon Rig Move Working On Tundra & Ice Low-Impact Tundra Travel - 6 PSI Ice Road Monitors Spill / Drip Cleanup Duck Ponds Ice Pad Slide 7

8 Extended Reach & Directional Drilling Allows recovery of oil that was not producible with conventional wells due to: Inaccessibility due to physical or environmental obstructions Poor reservoir characteristics Slide 8

9 North Slope Drillsite Evolution Slide 9

10 Drillsite Reduction & Subsurface Drillable Acres Slide 10

11 Role of Environmental Studies Program Baseline Studies & Post-Development Monitoring Permitting: studies required to obtain project permits (exploration & development) Compliance: studies required to comply with permit stipulations Strategic: discretionary studies / collaborative with agencies, academia and/or engos Environmental Studies Drivers Establish baseline & long-term trends Enable science-based decision-making Develop impact mitigation approaches Contribute to project planning & design Site remediation and tundra rehabilitation Enable operational flexibility Build stakeholder trust Enhance credibility & transparency Operating within a biologically diverse and sensitive environment requires a robust, integrated & comprehensive environmental studies program Slide 11

12 Types of Environmental Studies Wildlife: Bird & mammal abundance & distribution Threatened\Endangered species surveys Forward-Looking Infrared Radar Fisheries: Seasonal movements Distribution & abundance Subsistence fishery harvest Water Source Lake Monitoring: Fisheries Water quality & volume Hydrology: Spring river breakup monitoring Archaeology / Cultural Resources Air Monitoring Tundra Travel & Rehabilitation Slide 12

13 Long-Term Data Sets: Caribou July 2008 Census: Teshekpuk Herd = 64,200 / Central Arctic Herd = 66,800 70,000 60,000 Teshekpuk Herd Central Arctic Herd TCH and CAH Herd Size 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10, Year Slide 13

14 Caribou Tagging Project Partnership Slide 14

15 Long-Term Data Sets: Arctic Cisco 72 N Barrow Beaufort Undercurrent Gyre 70 N Colville R. Prudhoe Bay Mackenzie Bay 68 N ALASKA CANADA 160 W 150 W 140 W 130 W Slide 15

16 Arctic Cisco Project Involves Local Residents CPUE (fish/net day) Slide 16

17 Long Term Data Sets Tundra Swans Aerial Surveys: distribution & abundance (1960s and 70s) Marking, behavior, productivity, monitoring (1970s & 80s) Return to aerial surveys in 1988 National Geo. JU 75 Source: USFWS, Breeding Pair Surveys Slide 17

18 Areas Surveyed for Tundra Swans, Ranged in size from 2,200 6,000 km² annually Initially covered the Greater Kuparuk Area oilfield Expanded to cover the Colville River Delta, NPR-A and other areas of exploration Slide 18

19 Typical Tundra Swan Nests on the North Slope of Alaska Tundra Swan Nests seen from the air Slide 19

20 Total Adult Swans and Nests Surveyed in the Greater Kuparuk Area Total Adults Nests 500 Number Year Slide 20

21 Long Term Data Sets Yellow Billed Loons Slide 21

22 Addition of Cameras Monitor nest success Document predators Reduce helicopter flights Slide 22

23 Red Fox Taking Loon Eggs Loon Nest Slide 23

24 Loon Nest Slide 24

25 Ravens Taking Loon Eggs Loon Nest Slide 25

26 Data Management Process CPAI is a leader in environmental data management for North Slope & OCS projects All data are centrally housed on CPAI server Data delivery & rigorous QC process for contractor submittal Protocols ensure consistency in data for all disciplines Slide 26

27 Stakeholder Relationships & Project Partners State of Alaska Agencies North Slope Borough Eight NSB villages Bureau of Land Management National Marine Fisheries Service US Fish and Wildlife Service Minerals Management Service Various Marine Mammal Commissions Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Ice Seal Commission Nanuuq Commission Eskimo Walrus Commission Canadian Wildlife Service SeaDuck Joint Venture Slide 27

28 Addressing Data Needs through Stakeholder Engagement & Collaboration D. Troy Your sightings of these marked birds are an important part of this research! HAVE YOU SEEN TAGGED RAVENS? Enter sightings at or contact Stacia Backensto We need the following information: Tag color and 2-letter alpha code Left or right wing Location, date, and time of sighting Behavior Ravens tagged with colored, alpha coded wing tags (pictured here) have been sighted across Alaska. For more information about this project visit our website. Dr. Abby Powell and Stacia Backensto AK Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit 209 Irving Bldg 1, UAF, Fairbanks, AK J. Klima Example of data for bird shown above: White, NY, Left Wing On Dumpster at XYZ, 1/15/05, 1300 Perched Supported by Coastal Marine Institute, MMS, ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc., BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., BLM, FWS, North Slope Borough Slide 28

29 Path Forward Continue with studies program Engage with communities and involve local residents in studies Continue to support studies on traditional ecological knowledge Continue to look for opportunities to leverage funding with multiple stakeholder groups Continue to make study reports available through public clearinghouses/libraries Pursue the publication of peerreviewed results in technical journals Contact information: Slide 29

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