New National OCS Policy

Executive Office of the President of the United States. 2009. Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, September 10, 2009. The White House Council on Environmental Quality. Anchorage and Barrow listening sessions conducted.

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS): 5-Year Leasing Program

  • 5-year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2007-2012 (BOEM) – All remaining Arctic lease sales under this program have been cancelled.
  • 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program – Provides schedules of oil and gas lease sales for the upcoming 5-year program for 2012-2017. This proposed program includes Lease Sale 242 in the Beaufort Sea scheduled for 2015 and Lease Sale 237 scheduled for 2016. You can also download the Draft PEIS at this site. The NSB is a cooperating agency with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as the agency prepares an EIS that will be used to determine potential oil and gas lease sales that could be held across all national OCS planning areas during the 2012-2017 five-year period.

OCS Lease Sales

OCS Sale 202 Beaufort Sea – This lease sale was held on April 18, 2007.

OCS Sale 193 Chukchi Sea – The lease sale was held in February 2008 and a total of $2.67 billion were bid on the below lease tracks.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement were required to revise the EIS for OCS Sale 193. The Revised Supplemental EIS was recently finalized.

Other OCS Activity

Shell OCS Program

Shell Beaufort Sea OCS Exploration

Beaufort Sea Camden Bay 2012 Project

On August 4, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management (BOEM) conditionally approved Shell’s revised exploration plan to begin drilling up to four shallow water exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea. BOEM also issued an environmental assessment and a finding of no significant impact. The environmental assessment and other BOEM resources on this matter are available at this link.

Shell’s Revised OCS Lease Exploration Plan Chukchi Sea, Alaska, May 2011.

Shell Air Permit Proposal

Seismic Program: Shell has conducted various 3D seismic surveys and site clearance/shallow hazards surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas since 2006. For each program, Shell has applied for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Additional details about Shell’s programs and IHA applications can be found at:

NSB/Shell Baseline Studies Agreement

Shell and the North Slope Borough signed an agreement to collaborate on scientific studies related to baseline conditions and effectiveness of mitigation measures. The agreement includes the development of a steering committee, which will help to identify and prioritize study needs. See this page for more information on these Baseline Studies.


ConocoPhillips recently submitted an Exploration Plan to BOEM for drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2013. As of September 2011, BOEM is still reviewing the plan for completeness.

BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA)

BPXA operates Northstar Production Island, which accesses an oil reservoir that overlaps both State and Federal lands. There are several large concerns from North Slope residents about the operation of Northstar Island. One relates to oil spills especially concerning clean up of spilled oil in icy conditions. The NSB Science Advisory Committee (SAC) reviewed the current capabilities of cleaning up oil in broken ice. The other major concern relates to the potential of noise to deflect whales and other marine mammals away from their normal migratory corridor. The NSB SAC also reviewed BP’s reviewed monitoring plan for Northstar. BP is also in the process of developing the Liberty Project. This development is planned to occur from an expansion of the Endicott Causeway in State waters but access an oil reservoir in Federal waters.

Northstar Production Island

Hilcorp Alaska, LLC – Ecological Monitoring Projects

On 18 Nov. 2014, Hilcorp Alaska, LLC assumed 50% ownership and 100% operatorship of the Milne Point Unit, and 100% ownership and 100% operatorship of Northstar Island and Endicott Island (including the main production Island and the satellite drilling island) from BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. As part of this transfer of assets, Hilcorp Alaska, LLC assumed responsibility for several ecological monitoring projects associated with the transferred North Slope assets. The links herein will serve as a repository for the annual reports that are generated for each of the projects. Only 2015 and later reports are included as that was the first year Hilcorp executed the projects. Check back each year for new annual reports. Please contact Beth Sharp at (907) 777-8436 for copies of reports prior to 2015.


Pioneer has built and is operating the Oooguruk Development Island just offshore of the Colville River Delta. See the following report for more information: Commissioner of the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources. 2007. Oooguruk Unit, First Expansion of the Unit Area. Findings and Decision of the Director of the Division of Oil and Gas.


Eni is building an artificial island and an on-shore pad to produce oil near Oliktok Point.

MMS/NMFS Arctic Seismic EIS

NSB is a cooperating agency with NMFS on an EIS that is being prepared. An important component of the EIS will consider the effects of acoustic disturbance from seismic and other exploration operations in Arctic waters on marine mammals.

Minerals Management Service. 2006. Arctic Ocean Outer Continental Shelf Seismic Surveys – 2006. Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment. MMS Alaska OCS Region.

Beaufort/Chukchi Seas Open Water Review and Seismic Programs 2009 

The NMFS conducts an annual meeting to review IHA applications for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas during the open water season. The meeting consists of a public meeting where IHA applications present their operation, monitoring, and mitigation plans. In 2010 and 2011, NMFS also convened a group of experts to independently review the applications. Reports from those reviews can be found at the National Marine Fisheries Service website. You can also download a pdf of the 2010 report here: Arctic Open Water Meeting Report, March 22-24, 2010 at Anchorage, Alaska.

National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) (Onshore Activity)

NSB is a cooperating agency with BLM as the agency prepares an EIS that will be used to determine a management plan for the entire NPR-A. There has been a proposal to offer NE and NW tracts in a lease sale in December, with annual sales to follow.

  • South NPR-A – Plans for a separate South-only EIS were discontinued in 2007.
  • NPR-A IAP/EIS – Scoping for this IAP/EIS has concluded. The NSB is a cooperating agency in the drafting of this IAP/EIS. The draft IAP/EIS is due in early 2012.
  • Fish Creek Watershed Observatory – Studies conducted by UAF and BLM on fish habitat in an area of NPR-A scheduled for petroleum development, involving stream discharge, temperature, water quality, and more.

First EIS Human Health Impact Assessment


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