Compass: ExxonMobil makes progress at Point Thomson

By KAREN HAGEDORNSeptember 14, 2013 

Rising from the North Slope landscape today is more than 20 miles of new pipeline infrastructure that in 2016 will be ready to transport previously untapped resources from the region. We're in the beginning stages of an exciting new chapter for Alaska; one that will provide Alaskans with critical resources, new jobs and a bright future for generations to come.

The new pipeline infrastructure has been built to support ExxonMobil's operations at our Point Thomson natural gas condensate project in the previously untapped eastern half of the North Slope. Along with major partners BP and ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil is proud of its role in the development of Point Thomson, and the new infrastructure we're building is only part of the story.

With the first year of construction nearing completion, roads,a pier and an airstrip are in place, as are telecommunications and power systems. We've moved into our permanent work camp and we're about to cut the steel to build modules that will handle up to 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.

We are powered up and ready to kick into a higher gear our development of natural gas condensate, a form of light oil, at Point Thomson. But it's important to take a moment and talk about what this project means for Alaska.

Point Thomson holds approximately 25 percent of the known natural gas deposits on the North Slope, and is designed to produce and deliver approximately 10,000 barrels of condensate per day into the trans-Alaska pipeline when the project comes online in 2016. Developing these resources is challenging, but we have the know-how to make it happen. Using extended reach drilling technologies, we are able to reach these offshore resources with onshore equipment. This approach will minimize our environmental footprint while maintaining our strict commitment to safety and operational integrity.

A key aspect of the project is the development of infrastructure on the North Slope that will be instrumental to other future opportunities. This infrastructure includes the 22-mile insulated pipeline with a capacity of up to 70,000 barrels per day that will connect to the trans-Alaska pipeline, thereby linking the eastern portion of the North Slope with the rest of the production infrastructure; opening the possibility for other developments.

Another important resource being developed through Point Thomson is people. We have a strong commitment to local hiring, and together with our contractors, employed 1,200 Alaskans during the 2013 winter work season. But this is bigger than just numbers. ExxonMobil is also providing long-term jobs at Point Thomson.

I am especially thrilled to report about the members of our "Class of 2013" who are in training to be part of a first-class group of operators at Point Thomson. This group includes dedicated individuals from all regions of Alaska. This group is an ongoing reminder of our continued promise to Alaska's future. ExxonMobil's Alaskan operators represent the best of our values - local hiring, a diversity of backgrounds and excellence in performance. We have also started gearing up for our next round of hiring this fall.

With the summer construction season soon ending, we're looking forward to this new phase in our long partnership with Alaska. While there is a great deal of work ahead to tap the full potential of Alaska's gas resources, we're excited about Alaska's potential to become a worldwide leader in natural gas exports. To this end, we and our co-venturers are working to progress a large-scale gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas project for the benefit of all Alaskans. We look forward to working with the state on stable, predictable gas fiscal terms to find a way to make this happen. This next phase of development would benefit both Alaskan consumers and the state's economy.

We will keep you updated on the progress at Point Thomson as together we write the pages of the next chapter in the state's energy development legacy.

Karen Hagedorn is ExxonMobil's production manager in Alaska.

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