ConocoPhilips Alaska slowing pace of investment on the Greater Mooses Tooth 1 project

ConocoPhillips Alaska said that it was slowing its pace of investment on the Greater Mooses Tooth 1 project, due to permit issues and oil prices, www.chron.com reported.

it had submitted permit applications in July 2013.

According to spokeswoman Amy Burnett, while the US, Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a record of decision, the US Bureau of Land Management had to yet issue a final decision for the project, which was in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

She added by email that if the agencies differed on road routes, the project would not move forward until the resolution of those differences.

She added, the company did not have a set time-frame for revisiting a final investment decision for the project. However, she said work to advance the project would continue, including a seismic programme and engineering.

Meanwhile, in the first instance of its kind since the 2008 financial crisis, ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil and gas producer, reported on Thursday that it had lost $39 million in the fourth quarter as against a profit of $2.5 billion the year before, The New York Times reported.

Also, another large producer in US shale fields and the Middle East, Occidental Petroleum, said it lost $3.4 billion in the quarter, as against a gain of $1.6 billion gain in the same quarter in 2013.

The fall in the earnings had been triggered by the collapse in oil prices since June by over than 50 per cent. That decline, which included  natural gas as well, had picked up only in January, leading energy experts to expect even worse results for the current quarter.

With little prospect that oil prices would rebound this year to anywhere close to the $100 a barrel executives had been accustomed to in recent years, oil companies are finding it difficult to hold on to their dividends and decide on job cuts.

Executives are discussing with geologists to determine which oil and gas fields were still economical to drill, while they renegotiated the prices of services offered by drilling companies like Halliburton and Weatherford International.