The Willow Project: Advancing America’s Economic and Energy Future

By: Kevin J. Avery, ConocoPhillips Vice President, Federal Government Affairs

ConocoPhillips has a long and proud history of operating in Alaska. We’ve been a significant player in exploration and development for more than 50 years through our predecessor companies. As the state’s largest oil producer, we’ve demonstrated an ongoing commitment to responsibly developing the state’s resources, providing economic opportunity, operating at the highest standards of safety and environmental stewardship, and serving as good corporate citizens in Alaskan communities.

We plan to continue this legacy with the Willow project. Located on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), the development is important for both Alaska’s economy and for America’s energy security. According to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates, Willow could generate $8-17 billion1 in new revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska and North Slope Borough communities. Willow is expected to create 2,000 jobs during construction and 300 permanent jobs.  At its peak, Willow is estimated to produce 180,000 barrels of oil daily, which would contribute significantly to domestic energy security.

Throughout the entire permitting process for Willow, ConocoPhillips has adhered to strict and careful environmental regulations and protocols. Project planning has spanned five presidential administrations. The company acquired the Willow lease area in 1999, during the Clinton administration, and began the permitting process in 2018. Since then, the project has undergone multiple years of rigorous regulatory review and environmental analyses, including extensive baseline scientific studies.

In my role, I have seen firsthand the company’s commitment to being a good steward of Alaska’s resources. Development plans for Willow adhere to strict environmental standards, including compliance with approximately 270 mitigation and best practices currently in place for development in the NPR-A. Willow is designed to have minimal impact on the subsistence lifestyle of Alaska Native residents in the area and minimal impact on the environment. Data collected since ConocoPhillips first started developing the nearby Alpine Field shows that subsistence lifestyles are thriving, and subsistence harvests are generally equal to or greater than before Alpine was built.

Multi-year caribou studies will continue throughout the Willow project’s lifetime to ensure continued protection of wildlife and habitat. Additionally, air quality on the North Slope is consistently better than national ambient air quality standards. You can visit the Willow Information Center on the Power in Cooperation website to learn more about the project, including what Alaskans are saying about it.

Our Willow project combines state-of-the-art technology with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and protection. Energy made in America is essential to our nation’s economic and energy security. Our ability to use our own resources to provide reliable energy sets the U.S. apart and provides our nation with a competitive advantage. ConocoPhillips is proud to produce the energy America needs.