Photo courtesy of LGL Alaska Research Associates

Hilcorp may now blast seismic air guns at night in lower Cook Inlet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a modified permit Friday, allowing the company to explore for oil and gas after the sun sets.  

Two environmental organizations are asking NOAA to revoke the permit. 

Julie Simmonds, an attorney with Center for Biological Diversity, says this permit marks a significant shift--- now Hilcorp can put out more cables or lines with seismic equipment off their boats in the evening. 

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Two whale researchers are raising concern over Hilcorp’s activities in lower Cook Inlet. The company is using air guns to explore the area for oil and gas. But the researchers say it will cause irreversible damage to whales and other marine wildlife.

Biologist Olga von Ziegesar played a recording of seismic air gun blasts coming from Hilcorp. She recorded the underwater noise a few miles away from the company’s vessel.

Shooting sound into Cook Inlet

Aug 23, 2019

Seismic survey work in Lower Cook Inlet is scheduled to go forward this September.

Oil and gas company Hilcorp has announced plans for seismic mapping of about 200 square miles in the middle of Lower Cook Inlet near Homer beginning around September 10. Seismic mapping involves using soundwaves generated by a boat crossing Cook Inlet repeatedly, shooting the soundwaves to determine whether there may be oil or gas beneath Cook Inlet.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Oil and gas development company Hillcorp will conduct a seismic survey of lower Cook Inlet within the next few months. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave the company the green light this week to conduct the survey on an offshore lease site west of Kachemak Bay, according to a press release.

The bureau’s permit allows Hilcorp 60 days to run the survey on roughly 370 square miles. The company currently has eleven oil and gas units across the peninsula. 

Hilcorp Alaska

Oil and gas development company Hilcorp is planning to survey an offshore lease site in lower Cook Inlet. This survey is looking for untapped oil and gas deposits it could develop near Anchor Point and Homer.

The Texas energy company had originally hoped to conduct the roughly 45-to-60 day survey earlier this year. However, due to concerns about the effect of the survey during the fishing season as well as permitting delays, its plans were pushed back.

Hilcorp Alaska

Hilcorp said it’s holding off on plans to conduct seismic exploration for oil and gas in lower Cook Inlet because of potential conflicts with halibut and salmon fishermen. The company also lacks a crucial permit to conduct the work and it’s unclear when it may get the green light to move forward.

In Hilcorp’s permit application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the company said it wants to update 40-year-old seismic data in a 370-square mile lease site offshore from Homer and Anchor Point.

Courtesy of Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne

Earlier this fall, Hilcorp began exploring for natural gas and oil in an Anchor Point neighborhood where many own their mineral rights. That’s making it difficult for some residents and landowners near the drill site to get information about the project and any future plans Hilcorp may have.

About a month ago, Lorri Davis woke up to a strange noise.

“I was laying in bed the other night. I thought what in the world is that? They had just put it up, and when I opened the back door, I thought, oh yea, there it is,” Davis recalled. “You can hear it constantly."

Cook Inletkeeper

Hilcorp operation managers were in Kenai Friday to speak at an Alliance luncheon. Cook Inlet Offshore Operations Manager Stan Golis updated the pro-oil industry group on recent oil and gas leaks. 

Golis said repairs to a gas pipeline that supplies heat and power to two oil platforms should be complete. That leak was initially stopped in April, but the fix was only temporary. Golis said divers were set to finish installing a permanent clamp Friday morning.