In a Beaufort Sea exploration plan filed with the U.S. Minerals Management Service, Shell Offshore Inc. has proposed to drill 18 exploration wells between 2007 and 2012 in the Camden Bay area of the Beaufort Sea, offshore the eastern end of the North Slope and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Of those wells, 13 would target the Sivulliq prospect while five would target the Olympia prospect.
Sivulliq, formerly called Hammerhead, lies due north of Flaxman Island on the western side of Camden Bay. The prospect contains a known oil pool penetrated by two exploration wells drilled by Unocal in 1985 and 1986. The Olympia prospect, on the eastern side of Camden Bay about 7 miles northwest of Barter Island near the village of Kaktovik, was known as the Erik prospect in the mid 1980s.
“The dominant geologic structure within the (Olympia) prospect area is a northeast-trending anticline that extends along the general alignment of the five proposed Olympia wells,” the exploration plan says.
At an Alaska Support Industry Alliance meeting on Jan. 25, Rick Fox, Shell’s asset manager for Alaska, said that Shell plans to initially evaluate the Sivulliq prospect by drilling three wells in the summer of 2007. The Kulluk, a floating drilling platform Shell purchased in 2006, and the drillship Frontier Discoverer will drill the wells.
Also in the summer 2007 Shell hopes to acquire some new seismic data for its Beaufort Sea leases, Fox said. The company had intended to start acquiring this data in the summer of 2006 but difficult ice conditions prevented a planned open-water Beaufort seismic program.
Shell’s program of Beaufort Sea site surveys, searching for drilling hazards and shallow gas, will continue in the 2007 open water season. A short project to collect cores from the seabed will also provide information about the soil strength and composition, Fox said.
Shell is also working with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, the North Slope Borough wildlife department, ConocoPhillips and others to continue the marine mammal monitoring program that the company operated during the 2006 open water season. That monitoring program will likely include the trial use of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to Shell’s exploration plan.
For the full story see the Feb. 4 edition of Petroleum News.