March 26, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 33March 2004

Forest has partners for Copper River exploration; those partners Rutter and Wilbanks and Delphi International looking to spread the risk further

If all goes well, Forest Oil will be drilling the first well in Alaska’s Copper River basin since Copper Valley Machine Works drilled the Alicia No. 1 well in 1983.

And doing it with partners new to Alaska’s oil industry.

Forest’s here-to-fore unannounced exploration partners — Rutter and Wilbanks Corp. and Delphi International — were shopping for investors in the 398,445-acre Copper River block at the North American Prospects Exposition in Houston in February. The acreage, under an exploration license agreement with the state of Alaska since 2000, lies in the relatively unexplored Copper River basin of southern Alaska, west of the community of Glennallen.

Anschutz Exploration won the five-year Copper River basin exploration license in August 2000. Anschutz told Petroleum News that subsequent to winning the exploration license, the company entered into an agreement with Forcenergy — now Forest — to jointly explore the area.

The 50-50 partners recently signed an exploration agreement covering the 398,445 acres with Rutter and Wilbanks and Delphi. Forest will be the operator. Delphi has had a long-term relationship with Anschutz and has been involved in this Alaska project for several years, but is a newcomer to Alaska.

Now Rutter and Wilbanks and Delphi are looking for partners to share in the deal.

“We understand technology and we understand raising capital,” Bill Rutter III told Petroleum News. “We are hoping to bring in some of our investors as partners to help with this deal, but we are contractually obligated to perform under agreement with Anschutz/Forest, with or without partners. This is a risky deal, but we have a long history of taking risks. We have been wildcatters for three generations, and see no reason to stop now. We have a shot at some really big reserves on this deal.”

Rutter and Wilbanks and Delphi are seeking partners to participate in a three-phase gas prospect to explore the Copper River basin.

Phase I is a 2004 seismic program. A 2D seismic program is currently being permitted and PGS Onshore Inc. is scheduled to acquire the data this month.

Phase II buys the investor an interest in the well.

Phase III assumes commercial results of the test well and involves a 3D seismic program, additional drilling and laying pipelines.

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