Armstrong Energy is drilling a wildcat well on the North Slope this winter, approximately 20 miles from the southern boundary of the Armstrong-operated Pikka unit, which is expected to go into production in 2021.
A second rig will drill an appraisal well right outside the unit, Bill Armstrong told Petroleum News.
The wildcat will "test a new idea" gleaned from the company's proprietary Horseshoe 3-D seismic program, shot and processed this past winter.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting an environmental impact statement on Armstrong's development of the Cretaceous Nanushuk formation and Alpine sands within the unit.
"We believe we have proven an oil pool that covers more than 25,000 acres, at a shallow depth of only 4,100 feet, with an oil column of 650-plus feet, up to 225 feet of net pay and an average porosity of 22 percent. Individual wells should be in excess of 10 million barrels each," Armstrong said.
According to U.S. Geological Survey geologist Dave Houseknecht the discovery could point the way to a new, unanticipated oil exploration play in Arctic Alaska, with the potential to bring many more barrels of oil to the northern end of the trans-Alaska pipeline.
Houseknecht, an established expert on Arctic Alaska petroleum systems, said Armstrong's discovery presented compelling evidence for looking into this new play possibility.
Essentially, while rocks of middle Cretaceous age, including the Nanushuk formation along the Beaufort Sea coast west of the central North Slope, have tended to play second fiddle to plays involving some of the older rocks of the region, the new discovery has revealed the possibility of major undiscovered oil resources along a fairway extending perhaps 100 miles west from Armstrong's recent discovery.
- KAY CASHMAN
See story in Aug. 28 issue of Petroleum News, available online Friday, Aug. 26, at www.PetroleumNews.com