Location of Devil's Paw

Location of Devil’s Paw

ConocoPhillips on Thursday revealed that it is moving ahead with plans to drill up to two exploratory wells in Alaska’s arctic waters in 2014 where rival Royal Dutch Shell suffered a number of setbacks this past year.

ConocoPhillips proposed exploratory drilling program, presented during NOAA’s annual Arctic Open Water Meeting, will focus on the “Devils Paw” prospect located 80 miles offshore in the shallow waters of Chukchi Sea, Alaska. The company says it intends to drill one or two exploration wells during the open water season of 2014 in water depths of approximately 140 feet.

ConocoPhillips’ plan calls for drilling to be conducted using a jack-up rig and a number of support vessels including tugs and barges, ice management and oil spill response vessels, and fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Reuters reports that the rig to be used is being built by Noble and will be designed for extreme weather conditions.

“We’re not going to bring up a 30-year-old piece of equipment,” said Mike Faust, ConocoPhillips’ Chukchi program manager, during the meeting in Anchorage. Faust also admitted that the company will take Shell’s experience into account, but added that there are a number of differences that set ConoccoPhillips’ program apart including a prospect that is further south, where ice melts earlier in the season.

ConocoPhillips’ exploration plan is currently under review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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