Proponents of Exxon Mobil's planned Point Thomson development on Alaska's North Slope have long touted its potential to create jobs.
Now we're beginning to see real numbers on what sort of work force it will take to start production from the rich field.
Exxon Mobil is applying for a permit to discharge sewage and other wastewater from worker housing at remote Point Thomson during the three-year construction period.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is considering the permit application now.
The company says the project will require three separate construction camps capable of housing several hundred workers.
Treated wastewater discharges from the camps will go into either Lion Bay of the Beaufort Sea, or an unnamed freshwater lake south of the field's main, or central, production pad.
Exxon Mobil hopes to begin construction of its Point Thomson project this coming winter. But first, the company must secure a raft of federal and state permits, the most important of which is a wetlands fill permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Point Thomson is about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, along the edge of the Beaufort Sea.
Exxon Mobil plans to produce natural gas condensate. In addition to constructing three gravel production pads with wells and production facilities, the company also aims to lay a new 22-mile pipeline to carry the liquid condensate west to the existing North Slope pipeline network at Badami.
Assuming it can get all the permits on a timely basis, Exxon Mobil expects first production by the winter of 2015-16 at a rate of 10,000 barrels of condensate a day.
Alaska officials have been pushing the Army Corps to issue the wetlands permit. Agency officials have said they hope to make a Sept. 21 target date for rendering a decision on the permit application.
Exxon Mobil plans to expand the existing 13-acre central pad at Point Thomson to 56 acres.
Three construction camps will be needed to build the gas cycling project. They will be "independent operations," each with its own water and wastewater treatment plant, ExxonMobil said.
The camps can be moved to different locations at Point Thomson as the work progresses, the company said.
Initially, an existing 32-person "pioneer camp," known as the Wolverine Camp, will be mobilized to the central pad by tundra travel. The camp is scheduled to arrive in December, according to paperwork filed with the DEC.
A 340-person construction camp also is expected to arrive at the central pad at about the same time. It is expected to operate until 2016.
Finally, a 200-person camp will be mobilized to Point Thomson in early 2013. That camp will stay on site after construction and will be downsized as a 74-person field operations camp.
The operations camp will be designed for a 30-year life, Exxon Mobil said.