Senator gets good impression of Point Thomson

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A Fairbanks senator said he got a good impression from visiting the new development at the Point Thomson oil and gas field.

Republican Sen. Click Bishop and other state legislators visited the site Tuesday, to get a sense of the work underway by Exxon Mobil Corp. to develop the site. Point Thomson, which is located 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, has been billed as Alaska’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field, holding an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gas liquids.

The level of activity, after years of relative inactivity, was heartening, Bishop told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ( ). He said there were signs that Exxon Mobil is serious about producing the field, from the 55-acre pad to the landing strip and the worker camps.

“This is a big job. This is a brand new development from ground zero,” said the freshman lawmaker, who also is a former state labor commissioner and former North Slope worker. “Ten years ago, they had a small pad out there and now today they’ve got a completely filled in 55-acre site. This is a very comprehensive construction project from A to Z.”

Point Thomson was the subject of a long-standing dispute between oil and gas companies and the state over the pace of development. A settlement, reached last year, included production requirements.

The field also is seen as critical to the fortunes of a major natural gas pipeline project, which is being pursued by the North Slope’s three major players — Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips — and TransCanada Corp.

“It’s a gas field, pure and simple. We’re going to produce 10,000 barrels of liquid per day, and it’s possible that there’s an expansion to 70,000 barrels,” Bishop said. “But, like I’ve said before, it’s that 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that has everybody involved.”

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