December 19, 2000 --- Vol. 6, No. 61December 2000

No tundra travel clearance yet

The companies don't have winter tundra travel clearance on the North Slope yet and probably won't until the end of December or the beginning of January.

Leon Lynch of the state Division of Mining, Land and Water said Dec. 19 that he had been out measuring frost depth and it was at about nine to 10 inches; 12 inches of frost are required for tundra travel.

Six inches of snow is also required, and Lynch said that part of the problem this year is that there are about 12 inches of snow which came early and has been insulating the ground and delaying the frost.

It also hasn't been cold enough to help develop enough frost, he said.

Lynch said that both Phillips and BP have been given permission to pre-pack the trails they need to get to their National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska prospects. He said they take summer approved tundra vehicles like rolligons out and pack the snow, which helps drive the frost depth down.

Phillips Alaska applies for SE Delta unit

Phillips Alaska Inc. has applied to the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas for approval of the SE Delta unit in an area between the Colville River unit and the Kuparuk River unit on the North Slope. Phillips has 100 percent of the working interest in the proposed unit area and is the designated SE Delta unit operator.

The company is proposing that seven oil and gas leases be included in the unit, approximately 31,802 acres. The leases form an approximately rectangular-shaped block off the southeast corner of the Kuparuk River unit.

A five-year primary term is requested for the unit agreement. Unless extended by inclusion in the unit, five of the leases expire March 31. One lease expires Oct. 31, 2005, and one lease expires June 30, 2006.

Phillips has identified two potentially oil-bearing prospects within the SE Delta unit area, both in the Torok formation: Atlas and Cronus.

Drilling operations would be completed at the Atlas well by June 1. "The Atlas well will be drilled as a winter operation from an ice pad and will be drilled to depths sufficient to penetrate the Torok formation or 6,200 feet TVD, whichever is the lesser depth," Phillips told the state in its plan of exploration.

The Atlas prospect is in the north/northeast portion of the proposed SE Delta unit.

Phillips has agreed to commit in writing on or before June 1 to drill an additional exploratory well within the proposed SE Delta unit the Cronus well. That well will be drilled on or before June 1, 2002. The Cronus prospect is in the south/southwest portion of the proposed SE Delta unit.

If both wells are drilled to completion, the plan of exploration would expire June 1, 2003, but Phillips proposes that if both wells are drilled, it would have the option but not the obligation to extend the plan of exploration until June 1, 2004, by drilling an additional well or completing a sidetrack greater than 500 feet from one of the original well bores. In that case, a second plan of exploration would be submitted 90 days prior to the expiration of the first plan.

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