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BP's Unusual Alaska Project Gets Closer Scrutiny From Regulators

A BP project to drill on an artificial island off the coast of Alaska will likely be delayed. Several news reports have raised concerns about the plan, and state and federal regulators now want more information.

A few weeks back, we flagged stories about a BP drilling project off the coast of Alaska called “Liberty” — a project that wouldn’t be subject to a deepwater drilling moratorium because both BP and regulators consider it to be “onshore.”

That’s because the project, as both Rolling Stone and The New York Times pointed out, is built on an artificial island made of gravel. While some in Alaska have defended the project, it seems the safety concerns raised in the reports have reached the ears of federal and state regulators.

A BP spokesman, in comments reported by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, said the company would likely postpone drilling till sometime in 2011. (It was previously expected to start as early as this fall.) Here’s the Journal:

The U.S. Interior Department and its new offshore drilling agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, as well as the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, have asked BP to provide more information about the Liberty project for a new round of reviews.

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