This morning BP said it has sanctioned development of its Liberty oil prospect, which is offshore northern Alaska in the Beaufort Sea.
The $1.5 billion development plan for Liberty entails the drilling of six ultra-extended reach development wells from existing near-shore facilities at the Endicott satellite island under the Beaufort Sea to the Liberty reservoir, which is some five miles offshore the North Slope. The drilling would involve horizontal departures of 34,000 to 44,000 feet, requiring the use of a purpose-built rig that will be the largest land rig in the world, BP has said.
Using the Endicott satellite island allows BP to produce Liberty without building a remote offshore island and pipeline infrastructure, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact of the new development.
First production from Liberty is expected in 2011.
BP expects to recover about 100 million barrels of oil from Liberty. The company has said the reservoir is “high quality with wells capable of delivering 15,000 barrels of oil per day or more initial production.”
Liberty was discovered by BP in 1997, and is one of the largest undeveloped light oil fields in the BP Alaska portfolio.
The BP-operated Endicott field is east of Prudhoe Bay. It came online in 1987 and was the world’s first producing offshore Arctic oil field. Endicott is linked to shore with a 1.5-mile gravel causeway.