A day after President Biden approved the Willow project in Alaska, ConocoPhillips’ $8 billion plan to extract 600 million barrels of oil from the largest remaining expanse of wilderness in the U.S., the New York Times reported under the headline “Big Oil Gets Its Mojo Back” that “confidence is high in the oil and gas world… That’s very different from where we were just a couple of years ago.” Times reporter Lisa Friedman said, “You could sense the industry’s growing optimism. I saw it for myself this month at CERAWeek.”
Jason Bordoff, dean of the Columbia University climate school, told Friedman in Houston that fossil fuel companies are feeling bullish about the future. “This is an industry that’s making a lot of money right now and is going to be for several years to come at least,” he said. “I think it is feeling good about the economic outlook. Energy security has re-emerged to the top of the agenda.”
Oil & Gas Journal said construction of Willow, three-pad development on Alaska’s north slope, will take 8-to-10 years. Rystad Energy vice president Radikha Bansal added, “The approval … is viewed by some as a prudent balancing act at a time when energy security during the bridge years of the transition becomes paramount… The asset is not going to start producing before 2028.” Rystad said the Willow project will have a competitive breakeven Brent oil price of less than $30 per barrel – “offering a solid cushion against any potential future oil price drop.” At its peak Willow is projected to produce 180,000 b/d.