The state has approved the formation of the Pikka unit.
With the June 18 decision from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Repsol E&P USA Inc. will become operator of a new unit including some 63,304 acres covering 33 state of Alaska and joint state and Arctic Slope Regional Corp. leases between the Colville River unit, the Oooguruk unit and the Placer unit in the central North Slope.
Repsol has been extensively exploring the region since it acquired the property from the Armstrong subsidiary 70 & 148 LLC and GMT Exploration Co. in 2011. The region is sometimes called the "billion-dollar fairway" because of its proximity to major fields and yet only in recent years have oil companies made a realistic push to develop the area.
Repsol has drilled at least nine wells, two pilot holes and two sidetracks within the boundaries of the unit since it began exploring the region in early 2012. Of those, only the results of the Qugruk No. 2 well have been released publically, although Repsol has announced several discoveries in the area, including one from this past drilling season.
In June, Repsol touted "better-than-expected" results from a three-well campaign completed this past winter and committed to a fifth season of exploration next winter.
Still, the company said it is unlikely to sanction development until early 2016.
- ERIC LIDJI
See story in June 28 issue, available online Friday, June 26 at www.PetroleumNews.com