On Sept. 30 the director of Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas published a finding, saying that it is issuing an oil and gas exploration license to Ahtna Inc., the Native regional corporation for the Copper River region. The license, called the Tolsona Exploration License, encompasses about 43,000 acres of state land west of Glennallen in the Copper River basin.
The Copper River basin, occupying a huge lowland area between the Alaska Range, the Chugach Mountains, the Talkeetna Mountains and the Wrangell Mountains, is thought to be prospective for natural gas rather than oil. The license area lies immediately west of Ahtna land where Texas-based independent Rutter and Wilbanks drilled a gas exploration well and a series of sidetrack wells between 2005 and 2009. Rutter and Wilbanks reported a possible gas find in its Glennallen well. However, the company eventually abandoned the drilling project, having been stymied by severe technical problems associated with water production and abnormally high subsurface pressures.
State exploration licenses provide a means of access to state lands for oil and gas exploration in regions outside the state’s major oil and gas provinces. Any requests for reconsideration of the license must be submitted to the division within 20 days of the issuance notice.
See story in Oct. 6 issue, available online at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, at www.PetroleumNews.com