Escopeta Oil & Gas has attracted a new player to Alaska’s upper Cook Inlet basin. Altus Explorations (OTCBB: ATUX), an independent oil and gas company based in Olive Branch, Miss., has acquired 100 percent working interest in Escopeta’s North Alexander prospect and is moving forward with plans to drill a natural gas well in January or February, company officials told Petroleum News in mid-July.
Escopeta President Danny Davis and Altus Explorations President Milton Cox said Anchorage-based Fairweather will handle permitting and drilling operations.
As of July 17 no rig had been selected for the North Alexander project, but permit applications were expected to be filed starting in August.
The 17,122-acre prospect lies onshore on the northwestern edge of the Cook Inlet basin along the western margin of the Susitna River drainage, just southeast of the Castle Mountain Fault. The prospect is 6 to 10 miles north of the Stump Lake gas field; and 6 to 9 miles east of the Lewis River gas field, both of which have established gas production.
The well will target the Beluga and Tyonek formations, which Altus said are made up of sandstones, siltstones and pebble conglomerates. A secondary objective is the shallower Sterling sandstones.
The three objectives represent the major gas producing zones in the Cook Inlet basin and nearby gas fields, the companies said.
Estimated recoverable natural gas reserves from the first two objectives are expected to total 265.6 Bcf. (For Escopeta’s nearby East Alexander prospect, which was not part of the initial deal with Altus, the total estimated recoverable reserves are 132.9 bcf.)
Although it is not an operator, Altus has working interests in oil and gas leases in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Cox said the company was also looking at other Cook Inlet prospects.
In 2002 Escopeta transferred 100 percent of its working interest in its Cook Inlet leases to BBI Inc., a holding company owned by Davis and Lawrence Berry of Berry Contracting Inc. of Texas. At that time, BBI was the third-largest leaseholder in the inlet with 120,000 acres. In conjunction with Escopeta, it has since added to its inlet acreage base.
Editor’s note: Watch for the full story in the July 25 edition of Petroleum News.