Alaska rules Exxon playing 'shell game'

April 23, 2008 at 1:39 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Ala., April 23 (UPI) -- Alaska's Natural Resources commissioner Tuesday rebuffed Exxon Mobil Corp.'s development plan for a neglected oil and gas field, state officials said.

In a 78-page ruling, Commissioner Tom Irwin said Exxon Mobile and others who hold leases for the Point Thomson reserves have played, "a constant shell game," for more than 20 years, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported.

The 106,201-acre reserves, discovered in 1977, have been left dormant for years. The state is attempting to break up the field and lease it to others, the Daily News said.

Exxon had said it had an "unconditional commitment" to begin production at Point Thomson.

"We are surprise and extremely disappointed," by the ruling, the company said in a statement.

Point Thomson on the coast close to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Exxon has been reluctant to develop the field, estimated to contain 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, because there is no pipeline to the area, the Daily News reported.

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