Miss a day
Miss a lot

Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.

 

EPA Issued Shell's Chukchi and Beaufort Air Quality Permits Today - Cause for Celebration?

NPG Readers: Please Comment on OCS before September 26, 2011  Comment in support of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193, against further delay and 'affirming Lease Sale 193".   Send Comments to:
COMMENTS: Final SEIS, Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193
c/o Regional Director, BOEMRE Alaska OCS Region
3801 Centerpoint Drive Ste. 500
Anchorage AK 99503-5820.

 

 NPG Readers: Please Comment on EPA O&G Emissions Regs.  Before October 24, 2011 send comments re: unnecessary natural gas emissions rules that will further slow down America's economy and employment without significant benefit.  Federal Register notice with filing instructions.

 

Comment on EPA release, below: Arctic exploration companies still face a gauntlet of Obama administrative agency permit approvals in order to mobilize for the 2012 summer season.  Shell's Alaska manager, Pete Slaiby (NGP Photo, 9-8-11), told audiences recently that the company would make its decision to 'go or no go' by mid October.  The EPA's multi-year delay of this OCS air quality permit complicated by lawsuits has already cost the Lessee (Shell) hundreds of millions as it prepared for earlier approvals and summer exploration seasons, then had to demobilize fleets of exploration assets when various permits were not forthcoming.  Alaskans who have witnessed the many ways interactive Obama administration agencies can act to 'go-no go' projects will not be comforted by this 'final permit approval'.  After all, the agency is now asking for 'petitions of review' to the 'final' decision and sister agencies can still stop America's greatest current domestic energy exploration effort dead in its tracks.  Remember 'the weakest link'?  Companies must sometimes think they are in a strange, opaque game show run by malicious children who take pleasure in saying, "go, no go" at times and in ways seemingly designed to bring America's domestic energy wealth and job production to a tragic and unnecessary end as caring citizens watch in horror.  We hope our suspicions are badly placed and that the governmental-enviroextremist cabal characterizing this Administration relents in the face of a national election long enough to let Arctic exploration thrive along with an improved job and economic recovery trend.    After all, they have robbed us of an innocent assumption that they value due process and they have given us much reason to be suspicious of their motives and moves.  -dh

(EPA Release From Seattle – Sept. 19, 2011) Today, EPA Region 10 issued final air quality permits to Shell for oil and gas exploration drilling in the Alaska Arctic. The permits will allow Shell to operate the Discoverer drill ship and a support fleet of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels, and supply ships for up to 120 days each year in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf starting in 2012.

Shell’s exploration drilling fleet will emit more than 250 tons of air pollutants a year and therefore, under existing law, must have federal Clean Air Act Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)/Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits. The permits set strict limits on air pollution from these vessels.
 
EPA Region 10 issued similar OCS/PSD air permits to Shell in 2010. Those permits were challenged by North Slope communities and environmental groups to the Environmental Appeals Board, which sent the permits back to EPA Region 10 in December 2010. EPA Region 10 revised the permits to address the issues raised by the Board.
 
Under the new permits, Shell will reduce its fleet emissions of most key air pollutants including fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide by more than 50 percent from the levels allowed in their 2010 permits. These reductions are largely due to new emissions controls Shell added to meet the new nitrogen dioxide standard that went into effect in 2011.
 
EPA Region 10’s approval of these revised OCS/PSD air permits is based in part on installation of state-of-the-art pollution reduction controls on the Discoverer drill ship to meet Best Available Control Technology requirements and to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The permits also require Shell to reduce air emissions by using Selective Catalytic Reduction and Oxidation Catalyst controls on two icebreakers, Catalytic Diesel Particulate Filters on the Nanuq oil spill response vessel and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel on the Discoverer drill ship and all vessels in the support fleet.
 
EPA Region 10 proposed the draft permits for public comment on July 6, 2011 and held informational meetings and a public hearing in Barrow, Alaska on Aug. 3 & 4, 2011.
The final permits and EPA Region 10’s responses to public comments are available on the web at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/AIRPAGE.NSF/Permits/ocsap/.
 
Public petitions for review of these permits must be received by the Environmental Appeals Board no later than Oct. 24, 2011. More information about the procedures for filing an appeal including using the Board's e-filing system can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/eab/.
 
EPA Region 10 has proposed two other draft air permits for oil and gas exploration in the Alaska Arctic. Shell applied for an OCS/Title V air permit to operate its drilling rig Kulluk, in the Beaufort Sea starting in 2012. Public comment on the Shell Kulluk draft permit closed Sept. 6.
 
ConocoPhillips applied for an OCS/Title V permit to operate a jack-up drill rig in the Chukchi Sea starting in 2013. Public comment on the ConocoPhillips draft permit ends Sept. 21. EPA Region 10 will issue final permits after comments from the public are reviewed and considered.
 
EPA Region 10 air permits ensure compliance with air quality regulations during drilling operations but on their own do not authorize drilling. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management and Regulatory Enforcement is the federal agency that authorizes oil drilling in offshore federal waters. Find more at: http://www.boemre.gov/
 
Note: If the link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser. 
Categories: