Apache Seeks Letter of Authorization from NMFS

March 16, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

This document highlights Apache Alaska (Apache), their accomplishments and recognitions for their operations in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Also noted are the positive impacts further exploration and development in Cook Inlet has and will continue to have on Alaska and its economy. Apache has recently applied for a five-year Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their proposed Cook Inlet exploratory seismic operations.

Apache appreciates your consideration in supporting this effort.

• Apache has leased over 850,000 acres of onshore, tidal, and offshore areas in Cook Inlet since 2010.
• Apache has worked closely with scientists, stakeholders, tribes, and state and federal government agencies to ensure their industry operations are conducted while minimizing impact to Cook Inlet beluga whales and other marine mammals.
• Apache has maintained open communication with tribal and local government entities.
• Apache has gone far beyond basic mandates and employed the first wireless seismic node survey in its industry.
• In 2013, Apache received the Chairman’s Stewardship Award from the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) for this use of the nodal system and resulting efforts to minimize environmental impact in Cook Inlet.
• Since 2011, Apache has worked closely with NMFS to achieve the appropriate incidental take authorizations (ITAs) and conduct operations in compliance with those authorizations.
Cook Inlet
• Cook Inlet has incredible potential for oil and gas exploration and development. This is driven by consumer demand and the favorable location of these resources in Southcentral Alaska, where over 60 percent of the state’s population resides.
• Cook Inlet oil and gas resources are comprised of approximately 1 billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas1.
• Recently, there has been a revival of interest and development of oil and gas resources in Cook Inlet, with potential for more activity in the area in the coming years.
• In 2014, Cook Inlet oil operations increased output by 25 percent, and production has doubled since 2010, from 8,900 barrels per day to 16,288 barrels per day2.
• These results invite further investment from exploration companies.
• Jobs created from industry operations in Cook Inlet have helped keep unemployment rates in the Kenai Peninsula Borough at record lows2.
• More than one third of Alaska’s jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry (34 percent petroleum sector, 26 percent government sector, and 40 percent other sectors)3.
• For a single oil and gas industry job, 20 other jobs are created through industry spending (9 in the private sector and 11 in the government)3.
Impacts to Marine Mammals from seismic activity
• Apache has been conducting operations in Cook Inlet since 2011 – no data indicate that the beluga population has been adversely affected by these activities.
• Apache has been diligent with MMPA compliance, flexibility in operations, and openly communicative with agencies and the public.
• Through the monitoring effort since 2011, Apache has contributed greatly to our knowledge of belugas and their habitat, as well as other marine mammals in Cook Inlet.
• Apache has conducted independent investigations of using unmanned aerial systems and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), but neither was worth further review or implementation. Apache’s trial with PAM in 2012 proved to be ineffective, however they have implemented a significant boat-, land-, and aerial-based observer program to minimize any potential impacts on marine mammals.
General statements
• Apache’s operations have and are planned to occur with the least environmental impact.
• Apache is invested in Cook Inlet resources and is committed to conducting activities in a safe, effective, and environmentally responsible manner.

Literature Cited
1. BOEM. 2014. Notice to Prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Potential Cook Inlet Lease Sale 244. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Public Scoping Meeting, 24 November 2014. Anchorage.
2. AEDC. 2014. Resource Extraction Projects 10-Year Projection, 2014 Report. Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, sponsored by Northrim Bank. http://aedcweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/10_15_2014-Resource-Extraction-Report-FINAL.pdf.
3. AOGA. 2014. Oil and Gas Update. Alaska Oil and Gas Association Presentation. Resource Development Council Alaska Resources Conference. 19 November 2014. http://www.akrdc.org/membership/events/conference/2014/presentations/moriarty.pdf.

Author: Ann Northcutt

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