January 22, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 6January 2003

MMS expects second season plan for EnCana’s McCovey project

U.S. Minerals Management Service officials told Petroleum News Alaska today that they expect EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to submit applications for a second season of exploration for the McCovey prospect. EnCana, a Calgary-based independent, is operator of the central Beaufort Sea unit, which includes three federal and four state of Alaska leases about five miles northeast of Reindeer Island, 12 miles due east of the Northstar field and 12.5 miles northeast of West Dock at Prudhoe Bay.

“They’ve told our people they are going to be filing an exploration plan for next season. We expect it any day,” MMS spokeswoman Robin Cacy told PNA Jan. 22.

The agency had no details on whether or not EnCana has drilled, or plans to drill, a sidetrack this season to the well the company spud Dec. 6 at McCovey. A sidetrack was included in EnCana’s first exploration plan for the prospect.

A plan by former McCovey operator Phillips Alaska to drill from an ice island raised concerns for Bowhead whales. By mutual agreement EnCana became the operator and the project was redesigned to use the steel drilling caisson. The SDC was moved into position before the fall whaling season and put into quiet mode Aug. 14.

According to the exploration plan, activity is supposed to be wrapped up before spring breakup.

ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips are both partners with EnCana in McCovey.

Jim Palmer forms consulting firm, signs Pioneer as first client

Newly retired BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. executive Jim Palmer has formed a consulting firm and signed his first client, Dallas-independent Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

The Palmer Group, located at 1400 West Benson, Suite 350, Anchorage, offers management consulting, strategic planning, and government and public relations — services Palmer provided as an executive with BP in Anchorage during his 22 years with the company.

On Oct. 24, Pioneer announced it had signed an agreement with Armstrong Resources LLC for a 70 percent working interest in 10 state oil and gas leases on the North Slope.

Pioneer took over operatorship of the prospect, 14,000 acres between the Kuparuk River unit and Thetis Island, and is planning to drill two to three exploration wells this season.

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