April 16, 1998 --- Vol. 4, No. 17April 1998

DNR approves three Cook Inlet basin unit plans

Three Cook Inlet basin unit plans have been approved by the Department of Natural Resources: South Granite Point, Pioneer and Maverick. Unocal is the operator for both the Pioneer and the South Granite Point Units. Frontier Petroleum Corp. is the operator at Maverick.


Unocal spent eight years assembling the acreage for its Pioneer unit north of Anchorage, some 72,605 acres. The company’s primary objective is to identify and develop coalbed methane. The initial plan of exploration requires that three exploratory wells be drilled and tested prior to Sept. 1, 1999.

Unocal has a two-phase plan for the Pioneer unit. By Sept. 1, 1999, the company would drill and test one 2,500-foot well in each of three areas of the unit and would also reenter and test the ARCO BLT well in a fourth area. Any area not drilled and tested — tested only in the case of the BLT well area — by the 1999 deadline would be contracted out of the unit.

If encouraging results are found in the first phase, Unocal would drill five additional wells in excess of 2,000 feet by Jan. 1, 2003.


Three onshore leases southwest of West Foreland, approximately 17,157 acres, are included in the Maverick unit. The unit operator, Frontier Petroleum Corp. of Syracuse, N.Y., acquired the leases from Marathon Oil Co., identified two prospects on the leases and submitted a four-year unit plan of exploration committing to drill one 5,000-foot well in each prospect to test the Jurassic Talkeetna formation.

Wells at the prospect will be drilled during the winter season using ice roads and ice pads. Frontier must begin drilling operations on the first well, the Aegis, by Feb. 28, 1999, and must supply documentation to DNR by Nov. 1, 1998, that at least $650,000 has been committed toward drilling the first well. The second well must be drilled by March 31 in the year after the first well.

South Granite Point

The Unocal South Granite Point unit in Cook Inlet covers portions of three leases, one currently in production and two leases which would have expired at the end of March had the unit not been formed. Production will be from the Granite Point platform.

The state said in its decision approving the unit that the southern Tyonek oil pool is isolated from northern leases by a combination of stratigraphic pinch-outs and waterflood-injection wells.

Kuparuk extension to be expanded

The Alaska Public Utilities Commission said April 13 that the Kuparuk Transportation Co. has applied for a permit to enlarge the Kuparuk common carrier pipeline to 24 inches between central processing facilities No. 1 and No. 2 and to make certain other modifications that support additional pipeline capacity.

This section of the Kuparuk pipeline, the Kuparuk extension, currently has some 12 inch pipe and some 18 inch pipe. The Kuparuk pipeline, from CFP 1 to the trans-Alaska pipeline, is 24 inches in diameter.

Because oil from both Alpine and Tarn needs to move through the Kuparuk pipeline system, the 12-inch and 18-inch sections would have been a bottleneck.

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