August 09, 2006 --- Vol. 12, No. 45August 2006

Production has begun from Fiord

ConocoPhillips and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said today that they have started production from Fiord, the first Alpine satellite oil field.

Fiord is five miles north of the Alpine oil field on Alaska’s North Slope. The companies said Fiord is expected to have peak production of approximately 22,500 barrels of oil per day gross in 2008.

Fiord, discovered in 1999, was developed exclusively with horizontal well technology and will employ enhanced oil recovery, similar to the Alpine field. Development is expected to include 17 wells.

Nanuq, a second Alpine satellite south of the main field, is scheduled for startup later this year, the companies said. Production from Fiord and Nanuq will be processed through the existing Alpine facilities. Together, the two fields represent approximately $650 million in capital reinvestment and are expected to have peak production of approximately 35,000 bpd gross in 2008.

Alpine, Nanuq and Fiord oil fields owners are ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. (a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips), 78 percent, and Anadarko Petroleum, 22 percent.

Shell postpones Beaufort well cellar work

Shell is postponing the excavation of well cellars in the federal waters of Alaska’s Beaufort Sea until 2007. The company had been planning to excavate the well cellars, also known as glory holes, using the Kulluk drill ship during the 2006 open water season in order to get a jump on drilling for the following year.

“Mud line cellar work is scheduled for 2007 and this adjusted schedule will allow the necessary time for comprehensive planning including extensive stakeholder consultation, regulatory review and staging,” a company official in Anchorage told Petroleum News Aug. 8.

Well cellars protect well equipment, such as blowout preventers, from ice scouring on the sea floor. Shell said most of its Beaufort outer continental shelf leases “off Prudhoe and Kaktovik” were in 100 feet of water.

Shell initially told permitting agencies it would drill only in the open water season. Excavation of the well cellars was to start this month. Actual drilling was to run from July 2007 through 2009 and involve two drill ships, two Russian icebreakers and two Finnish anchor-handling vessels.

Shell did not say whether the decision to hold off on the well cellar excavations would impact its drilling schedule.

NOTE: See full stories in Aug. 13 issue of Petroleum News.

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