Midland, Texas-based independent oil and gas company Rutter and Wilbanks Corp. said it has tested its gas exploration well near Glennallen in Alaska’s undeveloped Copper River basin, and the results are disappointing.
“We never got enough gas to light a cigarette,” said Bill Rutter Jr.
Rutter said the company tested the lower zone of the company’s Ahtna No. 119 well even though well logs said the well contained water, because wells with similar log readings in Cook Inlet have gone on to produce gas. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at the Copper River basin well.
“The logs said it was water, and the logs were right,” he said.
Rutter said he now suspects that a small sand layer encountered early in the drilling was the source of gas traces the company detected along the way as it drilled the 7,500 foot well. The company plans to perforate the five-inch casing in that section as soon as it can get specialized equipment to the site, to see if it contains commercial quantities of gas.
Rutter and Wilbanks had hoped to find 100 billion cubic feet or more of natural gas to justify building a pipeline from Glennallen to Palmer to get the company’s gas into the Enstar system for Southcentral Alaska consumers to help replace dwindling Cook Inlet basin production.
If the field produces considerably smaller quantities of gas, the company is eyeing the local market, supplying Glennallen and the Copper Valley Electric Association, a Glennallen-based rural electric cooperative with 3,600 customers in the Copper River basin and Valdez.
Forest Oil and Anschutz Exploration are partners in the prospect, part of an exploration license obtained from the State of Alaska. The drill site is on land owned by Native regional corporation Ahtna Inc.