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March 04, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 23March 2004

ConocoPhillips spuds Carbon, drilling under way at Placer

ConocoPhillips Alaska has completed ice roads and pads for its 2004 winter North Slope drilling, and expects to spud the first of three wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska by the end of today.

Rick Mott, ConocoPhillips Alaska’s vice president of exploration and land, told Petroleum News that drilling is already under way at the Placer exploration well on the western edge of the Kuparuk River unit and drilling is expected to begin by Monday at ConocoPhillips’ second NPR-A well, Scout No. 1.

Alyeska owners approve $250 million upgrades to pipeline

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. said today that it has received approval from owners of the trans-Alaska pipeline system to invest more than $250 million in a project to upgrade the pipeline’s pump stations. Alyeska said the project is one of the most significant investments since construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The project includes installing electrically driven crude oil pumps at four critical pump stations, increasing automation and upgrading control systems.

Alyeska said it estimates the project could reduce the cost of operating the pipeline by approximately 10 percent annually and eliminate maintenance costs for equipment and facilities no longer required.

Pump stations 1, 3, 4 and 9 will be reconfigured and controlled and operated remotely and newly manufactured pump station units “will be modular and scalable to more easily accommodate changes in pipeline throughput,” the company said in a statement.

Alyeska said that some 350 job reductions will occur over the next two to three years from the Alyeska work force of approximately 1,600, including contractors, and will be “roughly split between Alyeska and contract employees.”

Changes to the system will not happen all at once, the company said, and the project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2005.

The next step in the project will be detailed engineering and ordering long-lead materials.

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