Phillips Alaska Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said this morning that the Alpine oil field on Alaska’s North Slope has started production. The field is expected to reach peak gross production of 80,000 barrels per day by year end. Gross recoverable reserves are estimated at 429 million barrels.
Declared commercial in 1996, Alpine is the largest onshore oil field discovered in the United States in more than a decade. It is also the western-most producing oil field on the North Slope. Located in the Colville River area, Alpine is 34 miles west of the Kuparuk River field near the border of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
To date, 30 wells (16 production and 14 injection) have been completed at the first Alpine drill site. The entire Alpine development calls for two drill sites and more than 112 horizontal wells. Development of the first site includes the use of miscible injectant generated from the existing gas in the field to implement an enhanced oil recovery project at the time of field start-up.
The 40,000-acre field was developed on just 94 acres, or two-tenths of one percent of the field area. There is no permanent road to Alpine. In the winter ice roads are constructed to allow transportation of equipment and drilling supplies to the site. Small aircraft also provide service to the field.
Construction of the Alpine field took three years and six million man-hours, and created between 650 and 1,200 jobs annually in Alaska. Development of the field will total more than $1 billion, of which over $800 million has been spent with Alaska contractors.
Alpine is anticipated to generate more than $1 billion for the state of Alaska in tax and royalty payments over the life of the field.
The field encompasses land owned by the state of Alaska and by the Kuukpik Village Corp., a Native village corporation in which current and former Nuiqsut residents are shareholders. Alpine is the first significant commercial oil production on Native lands.
Phillips Alaska is operator of and holds a 78 percent interest in the field, while Anadarko holds a 22 percent interest.