August 13, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 80August 2003

State of Alaska wants industry consortium to drill ANWR test well

Officials from the state of Alaska met with oil industry executives yesterday to discuss the possibility of an industry consortium drilling a stratigraphic test well offshore the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the winter of 2004-2005.

Stratigraphic test wells, intended to evaluate the geology of frontier areas, are normally drilled by a group of oil companies in an area where there is little to no chance of hitting hydrocarbons but which is close to oil bearing structures. A spokesman from Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski’s office told Petroleum News today that the site being considered for the ANWR test well on “unleased state lands in the eastern portion in submerged lands” is considered a non-commercial, off-structure location.

In an email sent to several oil companies and interested parties on Aug. 4, Alaska Division of Oil and Gas Director Mark Myers said the “location near 69.94 degrees north latitude, 142.27 degrees west longitude, is a possible area of interest. This is near the oil seep at Angun Point and is approximately 14 miles southeast of the Chevron KIC #1 and Tenneco OCS 0943 (Aurora) #1 wells.”

The KIC well, drilled in the mid-1980s, is a tight hole, meaning the results have not been made public. The Aurora well was a dry hole.

“A depth in the range of 14,000 feet to 15,000 feet might be appropriate and allow the Eocene, Paleocene and, possibly, the upper Cretaceous sections to be evaluated,” Myers said in his email.

“These intervals are thought to be prospective beneath the southern and eastern portions of the ANWR 1002 area (coastal plain), but are not known to have been drilled to date,” he said.

“On the fastest possible track the open-water portion of the site-clearance survey might be acquired yet this season, completed over-ice this winter and a drilling platform emplaced the summer of 2004 for drilling during the winter of 2004-05,” Myers said.

The state does not intend to fund the project, “but envisions a multi-participant group sharing well costs and resulting data equally (similar to the COST well programs conducted on the outer continental shelf). Data confidentiality will be maintained by state agencies as per applicable regulations,” he said.

State of Alaska exploration incentive credit programs “might be applicable and should be considered by interested parties when evaluating this opportunity,” Myers told the companies.

Editor’s note: Watch for the full story in the Aug. 17 edition of Petroleum News, which is emailed to subscribers on Friday, Aug. 15.

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