U.S. Interior Dept retracts draft analysis of Alaska ConocoPhillips project

The ConocoPhillips logo is displayed on a floor screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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July 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday withdrew a draft environmental analysis of ConocoPhillips (COP.N)’s $6 billion Willow oil and gas drilling project in Alaska, hours after the posting on its website.

The draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) had been eagerly awaited by the oil and gas industry and environmental groups as President Joe Biden seeks to balance his climate change goals with calls to increase l supply of oil and gas in the face of soaring fuel prices. .

“Due to an error, we have temporarily removed the draft SEIS from this site. We will republish it as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience,” the agency wrote on a Bureau of Land Management website ( BLM) where the document was posted.

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What was incorrect in the analysis was unclear. The ministry made no further comment. A ConocoPhillips spokesperson did not comment on the error.

The draft, released earlier today, had analyzed five potential options for the project, including not building it at all. The bureau said it had chosen a reduced “overall gravel footprint” with fewer drill sites as its “preferred alternative”.

In a press release issued alongside the document, BLM did not specify a preference among the range of alternatives.

The analysis comes nearly a year after a federal judge overturned the Trump administration’s approval of the massive development, which Alaska officials hoped would help offset declining oil production in the state.

In the August order, Alaska District Court Judge Sharon Gleason overturned the BLM’s approval for Willow and said federal agencies should reconsider their environmental analysis.

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Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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