U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today applauded Apache for securing a key permit allowing them to move forward with seismic testing in the Cook Inlet basin. Today, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Apache. With the IHA Apache can begin work this spring.
Begich, as Chairman of the Senate Oceans Subcommittee, has been pushing NOAA to speed up the permitting over the last several months to ensure work can be done this year.
"While I wish it hadn't taken this long I am pleased NOAA finally issued the permit," stated Begich. "I was just in Anchorage and Homer and heard a lot of concerns about Cook Inlet development and the possible gas shortage in Southcentral in coming years. While Apache's work is focused on oil exploration there is considerable gas potential as well."
Begich was recently in Anchorage and Homer where he heard concerns about potential increases in Southcentral energy costs if utilities have to start importing natural gas. While he was in Homer he toured the Buccaneer jack-up rig and discussed other oil and gas opportunities in Cook Inlet. He has also pressed the U.S. Department of the Interior to use the Arctic Energy Working Group to coordinate federal permitting in Cook Inlet as it has successfully done in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday President Obama underscored the need for coordinated permitting to increase America's energy development.