Rutter and Wilbanks Corp. has completed its gas exploration well near Glennallen in Alaska’s undeveloped Copper River basin. The results are encouraging enough to test the well, Bill Rutter III told Petroleum News today.
The Midland, Texas-based independent will know if Ahtna No.119 contains commercial potential by July 4, Rutter said.
The company started drilling the well in February, but encountered high geologic pressures at a depth of 1,200 feet — earlier than expected, company officials told Petroleum News in early March.
Later, Rutter and Wilbanks had to switch from winter operations and using an ice drilling pad to summer operations with a gravel pad system.
Forest Oil and Anschutz Exploration are partners in the prospect, part of an exploration license obtained from the state of Alaska. The drill site was on land owned by Native regional corporation Ahtna Inc.
Rutter and Wilbanks hopes a major gas discovery will stimulate the North Slope spur line concept and convince the state to build a section of the line from Glennallen to Palmer, to get the company’s gas into the Enstar system for Southcentral Alaska consumers to help replace dwindling Cook Inlet basin production.
The company hopes to find 100 billion cubic feet or more natural gas to justify building a pipeline to more populous areas, Rutter said. If the field proves considerably smaller, the company is eyeing the local market, supplying Glennallen and the Copper Valley Electric Association, a Glennallen-based rural electric cooperative with 3,600 customers in the Copper River basin and Valdez.