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May 27, 2005 --- Vol. 11, No. 50May 2005

BP restarting eastern North Slope Badami field

BP Exploration (Alaska) has applied to restart the Badami field for a three-year period to test new recovery techniques. The company applied to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for an air quality control construction permit earlier this year; DEC published a proposed permit for public comment today.

BP plans well drilling and workover activity from the existing pad as part of the restart and asked for a flexible permit to allow operation predominantly on gas-fired turbines, while in production, or on diesel-fired main generators while in warm shutdown.

The Badami field, developed in the late 1990s, is on Mikkelsen Bay east of Prudhoe Bay, and is the farthest east development on the North Slope. It was the first turbidite reservoir to be developed on the slope, and has been in warm shutdown because oil production from the field was at much lower levels than the company anticipated.

DEC said BP decided to restart Badami because of the current high price of oil and because of the availability of new reservoir oil recovery methods designed specifically for Badami. The permit covers three proposed operation modes because BP does not know “which oil recovery strategy will work best for the Badami reservoir specifics,” DEC said in a preliminary technical analysis report issued May 27. The field may go back into warm shutdown; it may be operated intermittently; or it may be operated continuously.

DEC said the restart project is “an evaluation project of limited duration to apply new drilling technology and to assess how the field will operate in the future.”

BP began producing Badami in August 1998, and expected to be producing more than 10,000 barrels per day by that fall. In October 1998, however, production was only at 4,000-5,000 bpd from eight reservoir penetrations. Production dropped to 1,350 bpd in early 2003, and production was suspended and the field put into warm shutdown.

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