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September 02, 2009 --- Vol. 15, No. 66September 2009

BP to close Nikiski GTL demo plant by year end

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. said today that it has successfully completed its gas-to-liquids demonstration project at Nikiski and will close the facility by the end of the year.

BP said the project has proved the company’s GTL process to make diesel and jet fuel from natural gas can be scaled up from the laboratory and operated safely and reliably.

“We have learned a great deal from the Nikiski test facility,” BP Alaska President John Minge said in a statement. “The technologies developed and improved there will eventually play a role in meeting the world’s growing demand for cleaner fuels.”

BP announced plans to build the 300-barrel-a-day test facility in 2000 and production of synthetic crude oil at the facility began in July 2003. BP said when first production began that it represented a significant milestone for BP and Davy Process Technology, partners in the new technologies being tested at the plant.

In its statement today BP said its GLT development program will continue in Europe where the company is working with Davy Process Technology on the engineering design of full scale GTL units.

Some 3 million cubic feet per day of natural gas are converted into 300 barrels per day of syncrude at the Nikiski plant; the syncrude is trucked to the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski for refining.

August production holds level with July

Alaska North Slope crude oil production averaged 572,967 barrels per day in August, an increase of 4,179 bpd or 0.73 percent from the July average of 568,788 bpd.

The largest increase, more than 332 percent, came at the BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Endicott field, which averaged 13,206 bpd in August compared to 3,055 bpd in July. BP replaced the production control system at Endicott over the summer, and the field was down completely during much of July.

BP’s Milne Point field averaged 27,277 bpd in August, up 12.5 percent from a July average of 24,246 bpd.

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine field averaged 104,113 bpd in August, up 11.2 percent from a July average of 93,666 bpd.

The BP-operated Lisburne facility averaged 30,394 bpd in August, up 10.9 percent from a July average of 27,396 bpd. Lisburne includes production from Point McIntyre and Niakuk.

The ConocoPhillips-operated Kuparuk River field averaged 149,353 bpd in August, up 4 percent from a July average of 143,608 bpd.

Crude oil from Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska’s Oooguruk field is produced through Kuparuk. Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission records for July — the latest available — show that Oooguruk production approached 8,500 bpd in July.

Production from the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay field averaged 225,949 bpd, a drop of 11.4 percent from a July average of 255,060 bpd.

In Cook Inlet, where production has been slowed due to shutdown of the Drift River Terminal, the average of 3,041 bpd is up 6.6 percent from a July average of 2,854 bpd as biweekly loading began from storage at Granite Point and Trading Bay.

Editor’s note: Watch for full stories in the Sept. 6 edition of Petroleum News, which will be available online Sept. 4, at noon Alaska time at www.petroleumnews.com

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