Willow Discovery

Promoting Economic Growth and Energy Security

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ConocoPhillips has been a significant player in Alaska for more than 50 years. As the state’s largest oil producer, we’ve demonstrated an ongoing commitment to responsibly developing Alaska’s resources. The Willow project, on Alaska’s North Slope, is one of the company’s most recent exploration projects.

The project provides for up to five drill sites, a central processing facility, an operations center, gravel roads, ice roads, ice pads, one airstrip, a nearshore staging area for module transfer, pipelines and a gravel mine site.

As part of the permitting process, in May 2018, ConocoPhillips requested that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) perform an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Willow project. The Willow EIS is being conducted under the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan published in 2013 under the Obama Administration, which was widely supported by environmental groups.

Of the various development alternatives discussed in the EIS, ConocoPhillips’ proposed project, Alternative B, is also BLM’s preferred alternative. Alternative B provides for a road connection back to the Alpine infrastructure and road connections to all the drill sites. Road connections are essential for safe and environmentally sound operations. Alternative B would also reduce environmental impacts compared to other options by requiring less gravel fill, fresh water and aircraft flights, while improving year-round access for local residents. ConocoPhillips also supports the selection of Option 1 for the module transfer staging area. This option has the least impact on wildlife and requires fewer miles of ice roads.

Read the draft EIS here.

Environmental Stewardship

ConocoPhillips has consistently proven that we can operate on Alaska’s North Slope safely, responsibly and sustainably. The project is designed to have minimal impacts. Data collected since ConocoPhillips first started development in the Colville River Delta with the Alpine field shows that subsistence lifestyle is thriving, and subsistence harvests are equal to or greater than before Alpine. In addition, air quality of the North Slope, at all locations, is consistently better than national ambient air quality standards, wildlife populations are healthy, and the environment in general has been protected.

We reliably meet all local and federal environmental mandates, including rigorous adherence to approximately 270 mitigation and best practices currently in place for the NPR-A. We work in close collaboration with regulatory agencies and other interested stakeholders to design and build infrastructure that minimizes disturbance to wetlands and the unique benefits they provide. In addition, Willow will be one of the first North Slope projects designed and built in compliance with new EPA rules that reduce volatile organic compounds and methane emissions.

ConocoPhillips also has a long history of working with the village of Nuiqsut and the other North Slope villages. We work diligently to build inclusive, honest and respectful relationships with our North Slope stakeholders and engage with them openly and transparently in order to promote understanding of our activities, learn more about local concerns and collaboratively seek solutions. We believe the relationships we have developed with North Slope residents are mutually beneficial and provide the basis for understanding and working together.

Economic Impact

Willow will be the first development in the Bear Tooth Unit, located in the northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). ConocoPhillips stands ready to invest as much as $4-6 billion in constructing and developing Willow.

Construction activities could span more than seven years and at its peak these activities could employ as many as 2,000 people. Long-term, the project will create hundreds of jobs for operation of the field. According to BLM estimates, Willow could generate more than $10 billion dollars in new revenue for the federal government, the State of Alaska and the North Slope Borough.

Energy Security

In addition to stimulating economic growth, Willow will also promote U.S. energy security by increasing domestic oil supply. If approved, the Willow project could produce in excess of 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

Additional oil production will also help keep a key piece of U.S. infrastructure, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, economically viable. The estimated production rate from Willow would be about a 20 percent increase over current TAPS throughput.