ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released Armstrong Energy’s plans for its billion-plus-barrel Nanushuk oil project on the North Slope.

The project in the Pikka Unit is expected to produce about 120,000 barrels a day of conventional light oil at its peak rate, Alaska Journal of Commerce reported ( ) Wednesday.

An exploratory well and sidetrack drilled last winter about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the project area indicated the reservoir could hold more than 2 billion barrels of oil, company CEO Bill Armstrong said.

The company is proposing three gravel drill sites just near the Colville River delta to hold a total of 146 production and injection wells. A central processing facility to improve the oil to sales quality would also be located on the northernmost drill site pad.

Initial production from Nanushuk is targeted for some time in 2021, although that would overlap with the tail end of what is expected to be a four- to five-year construction period.

The workforce on the project is expected to start at just 20 to 50 construction-related workers during the first year of development and peak at about 1,450 construction and drilling personnel by year four.

A drilling workforce of about 450 people is expected to remain on the project for up to 15 years after construction, in addition to about 200 permanent operations personnel needed for the length of the expected 30-year production life of the project.

In total, Armstrong’s plan would require 331 acres (134 hectares) of new gravel pads, 26 miles (42 kilometers) of new gravel roads and use an estimated 2.74 million cubic yards (2.1 million cubic meters) of gravel fill from nearby mines.

It would impact an estimated 330 acres (134 hectares) of wetlands.

Drill Site 3, on the southwest edge of the project area, would be the closest infrastructure to the Village of Nuiqsut, which sits about 6.5 miles (10.5 kilometers) to the southwest and across the Colville River from the proposed development.

A final environmental impact statement is expected to be released next year, according to the Corps.

Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce,