Alaska officials have rejected Exxon Mobil’s latest plans to develop the giant Point Thomson oil and natural-gas field, setting up a legal showdown to determine whether the state can revoke the lease.

The move is the latest sign of how testy the relationship between Alaska and oil companies has grown in recent months as state officials try to jump-start gas development on the North Slope. The state government was particularly upset by inaction at Point Thomson, one of the largest undeveloped oil fields in the U.S.

Recently, Exxon proposed a $1.3 billion plan to drill several wells in the field and produce 10,000 barrels a day of gas condensate by 2014. According to Exxon, Point Thomson could eventually produce 70,000 barrels of oil and 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day.

But yesterday, Alaskan officials said they had run out of patience with Exxon. “In light of the history, we can’t be convinced they will follow through on the project they are proposing,” said Kevin Banks, head of the oil-and-gas division in Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources.

Exxon is said to be heading for the courts.

Never a dull day if you are an Exxon lawyer….