Pacific Energy Resources Ltd. has lost its appeal of a state decision to maintain the boundaries of the offshore Corsair unit and allow four leases outside the unit to expire.
In a 13-page ruling on Dec. 3, Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin upheld the decisions made by Kevin Banks, acting director of the Division of Oil and Gas, in April.
Pacific Energy wanted to state to more than double the size of the Corsair unit to include four adjacent leases set to expire over the course of 2008. The company claimed it needed the leases to pursue another geologic target that improved the economics of the project.
Irwin upheld the Division of Oil and Gas ruling because neither Pacific Energy, nor its predecessor Forest Oil, has yet drilled an exploration well at or around Corsair.
“It is not in the State’s interest to renegotiate a commitment and extend additional lease primary terms through unitization when no work was completed by any lessee during the lease primary terms,” Irwin wrote. “PERL appears to have not fully and seriously considered the commitment it assumed when it purchased Forest’s working interests in Cook Inlet.”
With the ruling, three of the four leases expired as of April 30, and the remaining lease expires at the end of the year.
Pacific Energy maintains ownership of the existing unit, which is currently in default.
Pacific Energy made its request for expansion on March 26. The state rejected the request on April 30. Pacific Energy appealed the decision on May 16.
Pacific Energy now has 30 days to appeal the matter to state Superior Court.
See full story in Dec. 14 issue of Petroleum News, available to subscribers online at noon, Friday, Dec. 12 at www.PetroleumNews.com