An array of geotechoic proposals for drilling beneath Alaska’s permafrost are being examined by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a federal agency that is expected to approve the applications for a variety of geothermal technologies this year.
The bureau has already approved some drilling programs, such as a proposal for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to use geotechnology to explore for methane under the state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Alaska Bureau of Land Management, the state agency responsible for the refuge, is also planning to explore geotechanical exploration under the Bering Sea in the Arctic National Park.
But a recent proposal by the Alaska Environmental Council for a proposed drilling program under the refuge to drill under the Alaska Peninsula, the vast expanse of land that covers nearly 2.5 million acres, was rejected by the bureau.
The proposed drilling under the Peninsula would likely result in significant drilling and extraction of the region’s methane.
“The proposed program does not provide for the production of significant quantities of methane from permafrozen methane deposits, and would not be a viable method of extracting this gas,” the agency wrote in a letter to the state in January.
The agency also rejected the idea of drilling under permafrosts, saying it was too difficult to drill underground.
Geothermal exploration on Alaska’s Peninsula is considered controversial because of the potential for methane emissions and because of concerns about potential earthquakes and tsunamis that could be triggered by underground methane production.
The federal agency has been working with the Alaska Office of the Secretary of the Interior on a proposal to study drilling under a proposed hydrothermal reservoir in the Peninsula, and Alaska officials have proposed the development of an underground hydrothermological well to help determine the best locations for future drilling operations.
The proposal has received mixed reviews from both scientists and the public, with the American Geophysical Union and the American Petroleum Institute opposing it.
In the meantime, the proposed drilling is still being considered.
“I’m surprised by this development because of my personal opinion that geotechiems are an essential tool to have to get to a more stable state, and it is not something that the Interior Department is really pursuing,” said Alaskan state Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents the area.
The state Department of Energy said the bureau had not received any new proposals in recent weeks. “
As a congressman, I want to see that we continue to have a good deal of respect for our environment, respect for the environment that we’re dealing with, respect of our elders and the people who are working there,” Amodeis statement read.
The state Department of Energy said the bureau had not received any new proposals in recent weeks.
“Given the current economic situation and the fact that the federal government has already granted a permit for this drilling, we will not be commenting on pending applications,” said spokeswoman Liz Kelleher.
The Interior Department said it would provide more information on the proposed geothermal drilling program when it receives it.
The Bureau of Water Resources has proposed drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.
The plan calls for a hydrothermic well that would be about 1,000 feet deep, with a depth of about 800 feet.
The well would be surrounded by water, and methane would be produced from methane that would then be extracted to produce electricity.
The project would also include a gas-to-electricity plant that would generate methane for the hydrotherms.
In addition, the project would include the construction of a methane extraction well.
“In my opinion, geotechatics are an important technology to have, and we need it,” said Ken Ham, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“But we need a proper permitting process, and the federal agencies that are working on it, they need to go back to the drawing board.”
The Bureau is expected in early January to make final decisions on the Alaska proposals.
The BWR has not released the proposed locations of the proposed hydroelectric dams.