November 20, 2001 --- Vol. 7, No. 146November 2001

Canadian Counsel tells Commonwealth North 1987 agreement gives Canada right to approve activity in ANWR

Roger Simmons, Seattle-based Consul General of Canada for Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Oregon, told Commonwealth North Nov. 20 that a 1987 agreement between Canada and the United States for the conservation of the Porcupine caribou herd gives the Canadian government approval rights over anything that would affect that herd including development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"In 1987 the two countries signed an agreement to conserve the herd," Simmons said.

"The undertaking in the agreement, by the way, is that each country will consult the other before it takes any initiative which would have any real adverse impact on the herd. We interpret that to mean that before any drilling would be decided on by the Americans, we, the Canadian government, would be consulted," he said.

"Our position relates to not only survival of the herd but the survival of the way of life of the Gwich'in people, both on the Alaskan and on the Yukon side. And that's our position," Simmons said, noting that he had no illusions that he was going to convince the audience.

The countries often have different positions on various issues, he said, "and on ANWR we not only have a very different position than yours, we've put our money where our mouth is. We have established two national parks up in the Yukon and we've closed off forever the development of those areas, even though studies had shown, preliminary drilling had shown, that there were substantial reserves of oil up there."

State and feds approve Cosmopolitan unit

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas and the U.S. Department of the Interior Minerals Management Service have approved Phillips Alaska Inc.'s application to form the 24,600 acre Cosmopolitan unit in Cook Inlet north of Anchor Point. The other majority working interest owner is Forest Oil Corp.

Cosmopolitan includes nine leases, seven state and two federal. The target is a potentially oil-bearing reservoir in the Hemlock formation. MMS approval came Nov. 15; the state signed off Nov. 16.

The initial plan of exploration requires that Phillips drill the Hansen No. 1 well to depths sufficient to penetrate the lower Tyonek sand prone interval correlative to the section seen in the Starichkof State No. 1 well between 6,740 feet and 7,006 feet measured depth or 6,500 feet total vertical depth, whichever is the lesser depth. Phillips was required to begin the Hansen No. 1 before Dec. 31 and to reach target depth by Sept. 1, 2002. Phillips is currently drilling that well.

Phillips and Forest control 90.52 percent of the unit area. The four minority working interest owners all hold interests in the lease held by the discovery well. Forest Oil has the majority interest in that lease, 41 percent; 25 percent is held by Devon Energy Corp.; 25 percent is held by ExxonMobil; 4.7 percent by Rosewood Resources Inc.; and 4.2 percent by Hunt Petroleum Corp.

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