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Vol. 8, No. 50 Week of December 14, 2003
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Both Northstar and Alpine back on line

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Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News editor-in-chief

Two North Slope oil fields which had production difficulties at the end of November and the beginning of December are back at normal production rates.

The BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Northstar field came back on line Dec. 7, with full production expected Dec. 8, and ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine, where production had dropped by half Dec. 1, had resolved its mechanical issues and was ramping up Dec. 8.

The problem at Northstar was a transformer that had to be replaced, and that transformer drove both oil shipping and the water injection pumps, BP Exploration (Alaska)ís Daren Beaudo told Petroleum News. A transformer was available on the North Slope, but it was at Prudhoe Bay and a heavy duty helicopter was required to get it to Northstar Island. The nearest helicopter was in Oregon, and it didnít arrive in Alaska until Dec. 4. Meanwhile, BP kept Northstar operating at about 5,000 bpd, enough to keep the lines warm.

Beaudo said Dec. 8 that the transformer swap at Northstar went well and that production rates started coming up Dec. 7. As of 6 a.m. Dec. 8, Beaudo said, production was at full rates, some 76,000 barrels per day.

At Alpine, production had dropped by about half due to a problem with one of the oil separators.

ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Dawn Patience said the mechanical issues at Alpine had been resolved.

Alpine was ramping up Dec. 8, Patience said, with a target of 100,000 barrels.



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