ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two oil and gas companies have announced plans to invest $2.6 billion into developing a major oil field on Alaska’s North Slope.

Australia-based Santos and Spain-based Repsol made the announcement, which was lauded by state political leaders, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Santos has a 51% stake in the Pikka project, and the company said Tuesday that its investment will be $1.3 billion. Santos last year acquired Oil Search of Papua New Guinea, which had been working to advance the project.

Santos, in a statement, said the funds will cover the initial phase of development at the Pikka field, with 80,000 barrels of oil daily expected to begin flowing in 2026.

If developed, the field on state land east of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska could significantly boost the flow of oil through the trans-Alaska pipeline system. Development could also generate billions of dollars in state and local tax revenue, primarily through royalties to the state.

Another major North Slope oil prospect, ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, has been delayed by litigation and a new environmental review.

Alaska U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan lauded the plans for the Pikka project. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy said it “will continue the renaissance on Alaska’s North Slope.”

The companies said they would make efforts to offset and reduce fossil-fuel emissions, including through use of natural gas instead of diesel fuel during operations.

Fully developing the first phase will involve drilling 45 wells from a single well pad. Related infrastructure would include a production facility and pipelines, Repsol said in a statement.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2022. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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