Italian oil producer Eni has began drilling for oil exploration in the US waters off the north coast of Alaska, following the spudding of a new well in the Beaufort Sea.

The spudding of the well follows the Bureau’s approval of Eni’s application for permit to drill, and a pre-drill inspection.

Eni will carry out the drilling on Spy Island, a man-made artificial island approximately three miles offshore of Oliktok Point, in State of Alaska waters.

The island and Oliktok point are already home to Eni production facilities comprising 18 producing wells, 13 injector wells and one disposal well. 

US Interior Land and Minerals Management Assistant Secretary Joe Balash said: “The Arctic is an important component of the Administration’s national energy strategy, and today’s news is great for America as the United States advances toward energy dominance.

“Interior is actively working with a number of Alaska Native partners, who rely on the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas for their subsistence way of life, to ensure a healthy environment for today and future generations.”

US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) director Scott Angelle said: "The Arctic offshore is an important part of the federal Outer Continental Shelf.”

Angelle further said that BSEE will be working with operators to promote safe and environmentally-sustainable operations.

BSEE Alaska region director Mark Fesmire said: “It’s critical that our BSEE inspection team were on-hand this month to witness equipment tests and verify all operations.

“As drilling operations continue, BSEE will provide oversight to ensure operations are being conducted in accordance with approved plans and permits.”

Image: Eni started new oil exploration in the Arctic federal waters. Photo: courtesy of Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).