December 19, 2006 --- Vol. 12, No. 89December 2006

State working three Cook Inlet unit applications

The Alaska Division of Oil and Gas is working on three applications for units in Southcentral Alaska: Forest Oil Corp.’s application for a unit in Cook Inlet at its Corsair prospect; Escopeta Oil Co.’s application for a unit at its Kitchen prospect in North Cook Inlet; and Escopeta’s application for a unit at its North Alexander prospect, onshore on the west side of Cook Inlet.

All of the prospects include State of Alaska oil and gas leases which expire Jan. 31, 2007; inclusion in a unit — which would require state approval of an exploration plan for the unit — extends the terms of the leases as long as exploration commitments are met.

Escopeta described North Alexander as a natural gas prospect, with Beluga and Tyonek formation reservoirs; the company is looking for both oil and gas at Kitchen, a larger prospect offshore north of Kenai, and has estimated 2.33 trillion cubic feet of gas and 457 million barrels of oil at East Kitchen and 3.95 tcf of gas and 829 million barrels of oil at Kitchen.

Escopeta is proposing a single well by Jan. 31, 2008, at North Alexander, and three exploration wells, as well as seismic acquisition over the unit area, at Kitchen/East Kitchen, were the company plans to drill and test the Sterling, Beluga, Tyonek and Hemlock formations.

Both Escopeta’s Kitchen prospect and Forest’s Corsair prospect will require a jack-up rig, which will have to be brought to Cook Inlet.

Forest Oil is proposing inclusion of four leases in the Corsair unit, in an area where it has “identified large seismic amplitude anomalies located in the center of the Upper Cook Inlet approximately 12 miles southwest of the North Cook Inlet field.”

The Corsair primary objectives are the Sterling-Beluga sands “that are stratigraphically equivalent to the gas producing interval at the North Cook Inlet field,” Forest said in its application to the state.

Forest would commit to a rig by the end of 2007; and drill a well by the end of 2008.

DNR opens tundra travel in the coastal areas of the North Slope

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has announced that the eastern and western coastal areas of state land on Alaska’s North Slope are open for winter tundra travel effective 8 a.m. Dec. 19. The opening applies only to those operators with valid off-road vehicle travel permits for state-owned lands on the North Slope.

“Field sampling on Dec. 18, 2006, indicated that both the eastern and western coastal areas have met the criteria for opening (6 inches of snow and minus 5 C or colder soil temperature at 30 centimeters depth),” the department said.

However, DNR warned that snow is still thin in some areas and that operators should pay attention for stipulations for required ground frost and snow cover. It may be necessary to use special construction techniques to protect the tundra in areas of thin snow, or to avoid these areas altogether.

The lower and upper foothills areas remain closed to tundra travel. Until those areas are open, DNR will approve projects in those areas on a case-by-case basis.

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