ConocoPhillips OK'd to drill in petroleum reserve

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:54pm EST

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips on Monday won a key permit that will allow construction of an oil field that is expected to provide the first-ever production from the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska on the western North Slope.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it granted a modified wetlands-fill permit that will allow ConocoPhillips to build a road, bridge and above-ground pipeline connecting its CD-5 project with the Alpine oil field on state land just east of the petroleum reserve.

The wetlands-fill permit -- initially denied to ConocoPhillips nearly two years ago -- is the last major government authorization that ConocoPhillips needs to build CD-5, said Natalie Lowman, a company spokeswoman in Alaska.

Construction could start in 2014 and production could start in 2015, assuming that the project gets final approval and funding from corporate leaders at ConocoPhillips and its partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Lowman said. Production at CD-5 is anticipated to range from 10,000 barrels per day to 18,000 barrels per day, she said.

(Editing by Bill Rigby)

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