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NEWS BULLETIN

January 08, 1998 --- Vol. 4, No. 3January 1998

State production up 1 percent for December

Colder North Slope temperatures brought December crude oil production up 1.01 percent over November, with the biggest gain coming from the state’s largest field, Prudhoe Bay.

Figures from the Department of Revenue’s division of oil and gas audit show total production for December at an average 1,358,975 barrels a day, up 1.01 percent from the average of 1,345,307 barrels a day in November. Statewide production was down 7.81 percent from December 1996, when average daily production stood at 1,465,153 barrels.

The division said December’s North Slope temperatures finally dropped below zero, averaging -9 degrees Fahrenheit, closer to the historical average of -11 degrees, and allowing for more efficient gas handling and increased production.

Prudhoe up 1.6 percent

December production at Prudhoe Bay averaged 691,382 barrels a day, up 1.64 percent from November’s average of 680,060 barrels a day, but down 9.39 percent from December 1996 production which averaged 756,272 barrels a day. Prudhoe Bay production accounted for 50.9 percent of Alaska’s crude oil production in December.

Kuparuk River, the state’s second largest field, averaged 266,128 barrels a day in December, up 0.48 percent from November’s average production of 264,848 barrels a day, and down only 0.11 percent from December 1996 average production of 266,418 barrels a day. Kuparuk accounts for 19.58 percent of state crude production.

The Lisburne production center, processing oil from the Lisburne, Niakuk, Point McIntyre and smaller fields, averaged 193,574 barrels a day in December, down 0.57 percent from November’s average production of 194,681, but down 9.95 percent from December 1996 production, which averaged 212,839 barrels a day. The Lisburne facility processed 14.24 percent of the state’s oil in December.

Endicott averaged 59,462 barrels a day in December, down 2 percent from the November average of 60,654 barrels a day, and down 22.11 percent from December 1996 production averaging 72,612 barrels a day. Endicott production was 4.38 percent of the state total in December.

Milne up from 1996

Milne Point was up 2.24 percent in December, to 53,416 barrels a day, from 52,219 barrels a day in November. Milne was the only field in this accounting to be up from December 1996, figures, a 2.39 percent gain from that month’s average of 52,139 barrels a day. Milne production was 3.93 percent of the state total in December.

Prudhoe Bay natural gas liquids production for December averaged 63,214 barrels a day, up 3.88 from November’s average of 60,763 barrels a day, but down 7.6 percent from December 1996 production of 68,017 barrels a day.

Cook Inlet production was 31,799 barrels a day for December down 0.92 percent from November’s average production of 32,092 barrels a day, and down 15.9 percent from December 1996 production averaging 36,856 barrels a day. Cook Inlet production accounts for 2.34 percent of the state total.

Tundra opens for off-road travel

The North Slope tundra opened for off-road winter travel Jan. 7.

Beginning in 1982, the tundra has been opened to winter off-road travel seven times in November, five times in December and three times in January, including Jan. 6, 1997. The latest opening was Jan. 11, 1990. The 1990 January opening and one in 1985 were due to lack of snow. Opening requires that the ground be frozen to a depth of 12 inches and six inches of snow on the ground.

Warthog a dry hole, says ARCO, but 1997 successful exploration year for company

ARCO Alaska Inc. spokesman Ronnie Chappell confirmed Jan. 7 that ithe company’s Warthog exploratory well in Camden Bay offshore the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska's North Slope was a dry hole (see December edition of PNA for related story).

“Overall, 1997 has been an exceptional year for our exploration program,” Chappell told PNA. “We drilled 12 exploratory wells; seven were successful — we encountered commercial hydrocarbons. Warthog was one of the wells that was not as successful as we had hoped. We have finished our evaluation of the well, and we did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons. ... We’ve released the rig and plugged and abandoned the well and we have no immediate plans to continue exploration in the area.”

Will ARCO be back in the Camden Bay area anytime soon? It’s not in the company’s plans right now, Chappell said, but “the Camden Bay area is an area we’ve been active on off and on,” he said. “We were active in 1990 when we drilled the Stinson well. We returned in 1992 and drilled Kuvlum, and were back in 1993 to delineate Kuvlum and drill the Wild Weasel. ... We were back again in 1997 because the prospect looked worthy of testing. Our history is, when there is a prospect out there worthy of a look, we go take a look and that’s not going to change.”

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