November 20, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 112November 2003

Unocal announces Happy Valley gas discovery; development

Unocal said today it has made a natural gas discovery at its Happy Valley prospect, part of the Unocal-operated Deep Creek unit, and seven miles southeast of the community of Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula.

The discovery well found 110 feet of natural gas pay and was followed by a successful appraisal well.

Unocal said it has approved development of the Happy Valley field and will likely drill three development wells in 2004.

First production from Happy Valley is planned for fourth quarter 2004. Average production is expected to be 20-25 million cubic feet of gas per day during 2005 at Henry Hub pricing, the company said in a statement.

The field is estimated to contain approximately 75-100 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas with finding and development costs averaging around 50 cents per thousand cubic feet, Unocal said.

Happy Valley is the second discovery for Unocal in its current exploration program on the southern Kenai Peninsula. The first discovery, Ninilchik, was made in conjunction with Marathon Oil in 2000.

Unocal said it “has a growing inventory of exploration prospects in this emerging gas play” and plans to drill two to three additional exploration prospects in 2004.

Editor’s note: See full story in the Nov. 23 edition of Petroleum News.

BLM releasing final EIS for NPR-A northwest at end of month

Henri Bisson, Alaska state director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told the Resource Development Council in Anchorage today that the agency’s final environmental impact statement for the northwest area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska proposes to keep all 8.8 million acres of BLM-administered lands and the federal subsurface lands open to leasing.

Bisson said BLM expects to release the final EIS Nov. 28, but an executive summary and maps are available now on the agency’s home page,

He said BLM took steps in its proposal to protect sensitive resources. It will defer leasing for 10 years on 1.5 million acres near Wainwright, creating a control area that can be scientifically compared to nearby areas to measure changes brought about by oil and gas exploration and development.

BLM is also proposing that for 1.6 million acres along coastal areas, deepwater lakes and key rivers, there would be no surface occupancy for permanent facilities.

A special area will be recommended to the secretary of the Department of the Interior and special study areas will be designated for Pacific black brandt and caribou.

A record of decision is expected in early January, Bisson said, and a lease sale for selected tracts in the northwest portion of the NPR-A in June.

Editor’s note: See full story in the Nov. 30 issue of Petroleum News.

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