Exxon Gets Key Permit for Alaska’s Point Thomson Field

Exxon Mobil Corp on Friday received a major federal permit it needed to start construction on the Point Thomson oil and gas field on the eastern North Slope of Alaska, officials said, after an extended delay that threatened some leases there.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Exxon a wetlands-fill permit for construction of drill pads, roads, an airstrip, pipeline, and docking and other facilities needed for production at the long-languishing field – production the state of Alaska has accused the company of dragging its heels on.

The Army Corps permit followed a detailed environmental impact study that began in 2009. While there remain a few outstanding state permits, the wetlands-fill authorization was the major approval needed for construction, said Mike Holley, northern branch team leader for the state’s Army Corps district.

Holley said Exxon, backed by partners BP Plc and ConocoPhillips, hopes to begin construction soon.

“They are planning on doing as much of the construction this winter as possible,” he said, adding that ice roads, which are built by spraying water on the tundra, would accommodate that.

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