Much to the chagrin of The Climate Panic and Hair on Fire Band, ConocoPhillips is head to toe in North Face, making official a FID to continue development of its $8 billion Willow project. Situated on the Alaskan Slope, Willow is estimated to produce 180 MBPD and 600 MMBbls over 30 years with first production expected in 2029.
Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest from COP, which last March welcomed a FERC greenlight after five years of environmental review. Within literal hours of the decision, the company mobilized in one of the world’s most hostile terrains to kick-start the massive construction that lay ahead before seeing a single drop of crude. But when you’re Alaska’s largest oil producer with 1.8 million net undeveloped acres and 200 MBOED, weathering Arctic temps is old choreography, sissies need not apply.
COP immediately sprang into action to build a crude oil installation expected to mirror its nearby Alpine facility. New construction includes a gravel mining site, ice roads, an air strip, pipelines, a processing plant, and supporting facilities that require 2,500 workers. In this remote pocket of Alaska’s North Slope, many of those workers hunker down at the Kuukik Hotel, a chain of trailers some 30 miles away in the native village of Nuiqsut (pronounced new-ix-sut). But good luck scoring a room there for the next four years. As of last May, Kuukik is booked ice solid.
After winning a late November court battle brought on by The Band, COP is now all systems go on its winter phase of construction. That’s equally rich news for company workers and the Kuukik Hotel, which serves a mean Sunday night prime rib. If you can manage to grab a seat.