An environmental assessment relating to Eni's Nikaitchuq North exploration project in Beaufort Sea in the US state of Alaska is all set to be launched by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The development comes in the wake of Eni US Operating meeting the regulatory requirements for its Beaufort Sea exploration plan (EP) with the federal agency now inviting public feedback on the same.

Eni US Operating, a subsidiary of Italian oil and gas giant Eni, has proposed to conduct drilling into the submerged lands of the Beaufort Sea belonging to the US government. This, the company plans to do from their pre-existing man-made island Spy Island Drillsite located in the state waters of Alaska.

The drilling of Eni’s Nikaitchuq North Project consists of four exploration wells, two mainbores and two sidetracks. Eni expects the proposed drilling activities to begin from December 10 and continue into 2019.

Stating that the evaluation will be site-specific, Boem said that the proposed exploration activities will be pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

The agency has 30 days to evaluate the EP in compliance with federal law and regulations. It may approve the EP at the end of 30 days or may ask for modifications or may even disapprove.

Apart from an approved EP, Eni according to BOEM is responsible for securing all necessary permits from other state and federal agencies.

As of now, there are four islands that produce oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea waters namely Spy Island, Northstar Island, Oooguruk Island and Endicott Island.

BOEM has revealed that a proposal to construct a fifth island submitted to it by Hilcorp Alaska is being reviewed by federal agencies.