The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas has approved Eni US Operating Co.ís application for expansion of the Nikaitchuq unit on the North Slope ó an expansion which more than doubles the size of the unit.
The former Tuvaaq unit ó adjacent to Nikaitchuq ó has been merged into Nikaitchuq, as has a lease segment formerly in the Kuparuk River unit.
Nikaitchuq formerly had 12,968 acres; the expanded unit has 33,870 acres.
Eni said in its plan of exploration that it will use results from on-ice seismic shot in 2006-07 to determine appropriate 3-D seismic acquisition for the expanded unit. ENI has committed to acquire 74 square miles of 3-D seismic by September 2010.
Because a producible resource has been delineated on the acreage, the division proposed benchmarks requiring Eni to commit specific leases in the expanded unit to participating areas by specific dates.
Eni told the state in a 2006 royalty modification application (which the division denied) that a gravel pad with drilling, gathering and production facilities would be constructed on Oliktok Point near the existing ConocoPhillips Alaska seawater treatment plant; initial drilling will be from that pad. Future drilling will be from a small gravel island shoreward of the barrier islands.
Eni told the state it hopes to submit an initial plan of development for Nikaitchuq to Eni USís management for approval prior to the end of the year.
Editorís note: Watch for full story in the Oct. 21 issue of Petroleum News, which is available online at noon Alaska-time on Friday, Cot. 19 at www.PetroleumNews.com.