July 29, 2005 --- Vol. 11, No. 64July 2005

Senate endorses national energy bill

A nearly three-quarters majority of the U.S. Senate approved national energy legislation today. Passage of a compromise version of H.R. 6 in a 74-26 vote followed light debate and an unsuccessful last-ditch effort by Democratic leaders to derail the legislation with a budget-rules challenge.

However, some Senate Democrats hailed the bipartisan package as a triumph of “statesmanship” for the two senators from New Mexico, Sen. Pete Domenici, a Republican and chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat and ranking member of the same panel.

Answering criticism of the energy bill, Domenici said, “It is impossible to legislate or dictate to the American people that they should change their car-buying habits so they will buy smaller cars.

“But the provisions in H.R. 6 will effect a change in those habits in short order,” he predicted.

The Senate vote followed passage of the bill by the U.S. House of Representatives July 28. The bill is now headed to the Oval Office. Once President Bush signs the measure, it will become law. Bush earlier asked Congress to send national energy policy legislation to his desk by Aug. 1.

Aurora tests successful west side gas wells

Aurora Gas is in the middle of a busy drilling season on the west side of Cook Inlet, company officials told Petroleum News in late July. The company has completed testing the Three Mile Creek No. 1 well, which flowed 5 million cubic feet per day from several Beluga sand intervals. Gathering lines and production facilities are nearly complete at Three Mile Creek, and that field should be ready to go into production in early August, said Aurora’s vice president of operations and engineer, Ed Jones. Forest Oil has a 30 percent interest in Three Mile Creek, which Aurora operates. Aurora is 100 percent owner at its other fields.

From Three Mile Creek Aurora moved the rig to the Moquawkie field, Jones said, “and drilled an offset to our old re-entry No. 1 well.” The Moquawkie No. 3 was drilled to a depth of 2,560 feet and completed in the Tyonek and Beluga sands, with combined flow rates of 5.5 million cf/d. This well is on the same pad as the earlier well, and will be on production by Aug. 1.

Aurora then moved the rig to the Lone Creek field and on July 3 spudded the Lone Creek No. 3, an offset to the Lone Creek No. 1. The well was drilled to 3,025 feet.

The company described the well as its best to date: it flowed at 16.4 million cf/d “from several upper Tyonek sands, with several apparently productive sands yet untested.”

Aurora said the well would be tied in with a short gathering line to the central production facility at the Lone Creek No. 1 well pad.

See Aurora Gas story in July 31 issue of Petroleum News.

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