Evergreen Resources Alaska Corp. is permitting an eight-well two-pilot exploration project to test the ability of the coals in the company's 72,000 acre Pioneer unit in the Matanuska Valley to produce natural gas.
In a 12-month operations plan filed with the state the company said it is proposing to drill, complete and test eight wells situated in two areas called pilots.
The wells will be laid out with one well in the center, a second well 1,000 feet to the north of the center well, a third well 1,000 feet to the southeast of the center well and the fourth well 1,000 feet to the southwest of the central well.
"It is important to understand that we currently propose an exploration program designed to test the coal's ability to produce natural gas," Evergreen told the state.
"Exploration pilots incorporate a pod of wells being produced within close proximity to one another. In a development program, wells will be spaced at greater distances," the company said.
Evergreen bought the Pioneer unit, 30 miles north of Anchorage between Wasilla and Houston, from Ocean Energy and Unocal in May 2001. Unocal formed the unit in 1997 to explore for coalbed methane.
Evergreen said it would only drill two pilots, but would permit three.
"By having approval for more than two pilots," the company said, "we help ensure that the unit's well obligations can be met even if land, permitting or other problems arise."
The pilots are planned for an area north of the Parks Highway between Wasilla and Houston. Evergreen said it selected the sites to meet geological and engineering considerations and also to minimize "possible impact on the surrounding community." The pilots are all "away from residential houses and on lands where the owner has both the surface and the mineral rights."
Evergreen said it will begin building locations and roads July 15 and begin drilling Aug. 1 and will drill eight wells that month.
Gov. Tony Knowles has named Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations as 2001 Exporter of the Year. Anchorage manufacturer Dowland-Bach received the first-ever award as Governor's Exporter of the Year for Small Businesses.
The awards were presented yesterday.
Knowles presented the Agrium award to general manager Mike Nugent.
"Agrium Kenai sells its products around the world and in an increasing number of markets, and since 1999 the fertilizer export market has grown from $113 million to almost $190 million," Knowles said.
"Dowland Bach has applied its expertise in manufacturing North Slope well head control systems to make products for export markets," Knowles said, presenting the small business export award to Lynn Johnson.
Also recognized were Aleut Enterprise Corp., Circumpolar Expeditions, Natchiq Sakhalin LLC and Tesoro Alaska.