August 26, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 40August 1999

ARCO, Anadarko increase producible estimates from Alpine by 18 percent

The Alpine field contains more recoverable oil than originally estimated, and more wells will be drilled at the field than earlier planned, operator ARCO Alaska Inc. and partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Aug. 26.

Recovery is now expected to hit 429 million barrels of oil, up from a 1997 estimate of 365 million barrels, the companies said. The 17.5 percent increase in projected recovery, an additional 64 million barrels, will also up daily production rates, now projected to peak at 80,000 barrels a day by 2001, up 10,000 barrels a day from a previous peak estimate of 70,000 barrels a day.

Production is expected to begin in mid-2000 with initial production of 40,000 barrels per day.

Changed drilling plan

The companies originally planned 94 wells, both horizontal and conventional. Now, subject to final regulatory approval, the companies will drill 112 wells — all horizontal penetrations — for a total of more than 60 miles of reservoir penetrations.

Enhanced oil recovery will be implemented at field start up, using miscible injectant from gas in the field. The companies said the EOR project, combined with the additional horizontal wells, will account for the increase in production and reserves.

“This has been a landmark year for development of the Alpine oil field. As we gather more information about the reservoir, it continues to exceed our expectations,” said Kevin Meyers, president of ARCO Alaska Inc. Meyers said that start up of the field would help to offset the decline in North Slope oil production.

“Alpine represents another Alaska oil industry success story and is a model for technological advances and environmental sensitivity,” said John Seitz, president of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

The companies said they will invest more than $1 billion, $750 million of that in Alaska, by the time the project is complete. Alpine is owned 78 percent by ARCO and 22 percent by Anadarko. The 40,000-acre field is 34 miles west of the ARCO-operated Kuparuk River field. Alpine surface development will be on 97 acres, with access by ice roads in the winter for construction equipment, production facilities, drilling rigs and drilling supplies and by air the remainder of the year.

NPR-A leases out from BLM

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has leases out for tracts won in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska lease sale.

ARCO Alaska Inc. officials paid the agency $55 million Aug. 20 — the remaining 90 percent of their winning bids and first year’s rent on the tracts.

Mike Richter, ARCO Alaska exploration manager, told PNA that the company wanted to drill at least three wells this year, dependent on permitting and weather. ARCO is working hard on the permitting process, he said.

Jim Ruud, ARCO’s land manager, said BLM had given great turnaround on the leases.

Fran Cherry, BLM’s Alaska regional manager, said the agency was pleased with both the bid response and the spread of locations staked for exploration in the leased area. Both ARCO and BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. have staked locations for drilling.

“And if you look at where the (North Slope) trend has gone, they’re following — in their industry terms — they’re following that string of pearls across there,“ Cherry said.

The next step, Cherry said, is for BLM to do an environmental analysis on the staked locations. He said that most of the work has been done and restrictions are in place, “but we have to look at each individual site” and negotiate changes or approve it before drilling permits are issued.

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