January 09, 2018 --- Vol. 24, No. 2January 2018

Armstrong wells deferred but up to 9 others move ahead

Two wells planned for this winter's North Slope exploration drilling season were postponed until next winter by Armstrong Energy and its partners - the Pikka 2 well and Pikka 2A sidetrack, but nine other penetrations by three other companies are on track.

Last winter ConocoPhillips cancelled its Putu drilling program due to community concerns, but this winter it successfully secured a surface use agreement with Kuukpik Corp., the village corporation for nearby Nuiqsut, and is moving ahead with Putu 2.

Armstrong has an information sharing agreement with ConocoPhillips for Putu, a couple of miles from Pikka 2, and continues to move ahead with its plans for the Nanushuk development in the Pikka unit.

With ice road construction underway, ConocoPhillips is drilling five exploration wells, with a potential of seven separate penetrations that include sidetracks. Doyon Rig 141 is being used for drilling the Willow wells (three penetrations), Arctic Fox for Stony Hill (two penetrations) and Kuukpik 5 for Putu 2. All but the Putu well are in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. (Stony Hill, a Willow lookalike in NPR-A, is almost directly across the Colville River from Armstrong's successful early 2017 wildcat, Horseshoe.)

Eni US Operating Co. spud its Nikaitchuq North well on federal Beaufort Sea outer continental shelf leases in late December, using newly modified Doyon Rig 15. The modifications enable the rig to conduct the exceptionally long extended reach wells from Spy Island needed for the exploration well.

Glacier Oil & Gas (Savant) plans to drill the Starfish exploration well on its leases near the Badami field, exploring a formation behind a fault block that hasn't been drilled before, and using Nabors Rig 27E.

Glacier is waiting on its final drilling permit and building a 27-mile ice road from the Endicott road to the Badami pad in support of Starfish drilling, the company's new drilling manager, Steven Ratcliff, told Petroleum News Jan. 8.

This year's North Slope winter exploration drilling season is the busiest since 2014. ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack said this winter will be the biggest exploration drilling program that ConocoPhillips has conducted on the North Slope since 2002.


CIRI to partner with Doyon on new Nenana well

Cook Inlet Region Inc. has announced that it will partner with Doyon Ltd. in the drilling of a new exploration well in the Nenana basin next summer. The well, the Totchaket No. 1 in the more northerly part of the basin, will be the fourth well drilled in a Nenana basin exploration program spearheaded by Doyon. CIRI also partnered Doyon in the third well in the program, the Toghotthele No. 1 well, in 2016 in the more central part of the basin.

The hope is to find both oil and gas in the basin, which is located close to the main road and rail corridor about 50 miles southwest of the city of Fairbanks.

"CIRI values its continued partnership with Doyon," said Sophie Minich, CIRI president and CEO. "We believe our continued investment at Nenana offers the potential for a basin-opening oil and gas discovery in Alaska."

"The presence of direct hydrocarbon indicators in the 2017 seismic data represents a significant and new step toward the confirmation of a commercially viable oil or gas discovery by the Totchaket No. 1 well," said Ethan Schutt, CIRI senior vice president, land and energy development. "We see seismic data anomalies at multiple horizons spanning thousands of feet of sedimentary section that will be intersected by the Totchaket #1 well path."


See stories in Jan. 14 issue, available online Friday, Jan. 12 at

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