ConocoPhillips looks to increase North Slope operations in 2021

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:59 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The 41st Annual Alaska Resource Conference took place virtually in 2020, and many of the organizations participating in this year’s event focused on the topic of 2021.

For several months, COVID-19 has impacted the global demand for oil. As a result, ConocoPhillips temporarily curbed its daily oil production and halted drilling on the North Slope. On Wednesday, the company’s president, Joe Marushack, spoke about making those tough decisions early on in the pandemic.

“For the first time since Prudhoe, Kurapuk and Alpine have all been on-stream, there are no rigs running in these fields,” he said. “As you may recall, we announced that drilling in these fields would not run in 2021 if Ballot Measure 1 passed.”

With Alaskan voters choosing to deny the ballot measure that proposed oil tax initiative, Marushack says ConocoPhillips is looked to get back on track with drilling and exploration in the coming months. The company plans to have four rigs running between GMT-2, Alpine and Kuparuk by the end of next year.

“Each one of those rigs normally employs about 100 people and supports multiple jobs throughout the state economy,” Marushack said.

The re-mobilization of ConocoPhillips’ drilling rigs includes “the beast,” which could begin operations at the Alpine ‘CD2′ drilling pad in the early second half of 2021.”

Depending on a lawsuit, recently filed in response to the Trump Administration’s approval to begin the development of its Willow project, the company could also begin necessary infrastructure work in that area by late 2021.

Marushack declined to estimate how long it might take the issue to be settled in court but highlighted its potential to create 2,000 construction jobs and 300 permanent positions while producing 100,000 barrels a day and $10 billion dollars in tax and royalty revenue over the life of the project.

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