Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
September 2006

Vol. 11, No. 37 Week of September 10, 2006

Brooks Range and partners may drill third North Slope well

Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

TG World Energy, a joint venture partner with Brooks Range Petroleum and Ramshorn Investments in Brooks Range-operated leases on Alaska’s North Slope, says the joint venture now hopes to drill a third exploration well in the 2006-07 winter drilling season. Brooks Range has previously said the partners would drill two wells in the winter season in the Gwydyr Bay area, north of the Prudhoe Bay unit.

The mention of the third well came as part of a TG World announcement about its approval of the budget and exploration plan for 2006-07 North Slope exploration.

“The current budget also allows for the drilling of a third well during the 2006/07 winter drilling season,” the company said. “Management of TG World is confident that technical work currently under way will lead to the identification of a third well location for addition to the 2006/07 drilling program.”

More 3-D seismic in works

The company said that drilling prospects are being identified from the mapping of 3-D seismic data and that “negotiations are ongoing for the purchase of several trade 2-D and 3-D seismic data sets covering JV prospect areas.”

The joint venture also plans to shoot some new 3-D seismic.

“A proprietary 3-D seismic program is also planned and budgeted for the 2006/07 winter season on JV lands,” TG World said. “That seismic data is expected to be used to generate a prospect inventory for exploration drilling during the 2007/08 winter season.”

TG World said it will fund 50 percent of the cost of the Gwydyr Bay drilling to earn a 35 percent interest in the Gwydyr Bay prospect area.

Brooks Range has contracted with Nabors Drilling to use rig 16E for the 2006-07 drilling — Nabors is currently readying the rig for the drilling season. The two previously planned Gwydyr Bay wells will be directionally drilled from the same onshore surface location to offshore subsurface targets, TG World said. Access to the drill site will be by ice road and permitting for the drilling activities is well under way.

Expanding holdings

The joint venture plans on expanding its North Slope lease holdings, TG World said. It will participate in the State of Alaska’s October 2006 areawide lease sale and is making other efforts to acquire additional North Slope leases “to consolidate the land position in joint-venture prospect areas.”

TG World has pegged its share of the cost of the current exploration program at US$17 million. The company said it closed a C$22.7 million equity refinancing on Aug. 24, net proceeds of which will fund oil exploration and development in Alaska and Niger, in addition to being used for general corporate purposes.

The company noted that ConocoPhillips’ new Qannik satellite field overlying the Alpine field represents the first discovery in a sandstone play fairway that may extend south to joint venture prospect areas and that in the coming year the joint venture will evaluate the play in those areas.

“The ConocoPhillips plan for first (Qannik) production by 2008 highlights the relatively short discovery to production cycle possible on the North Slope,” TG World said, adding that other oil discoveries in recent years demonstrate the exploration potential remaining on the North Slope.

Baker Energy hired

TG World also confirmed that Baker Energy, a unit of engineering and energy management company Michael Baker, is providing exploration support services for the joint venture. And, in the event of a petroleum discovery, Baker Energy will provide services for field development activities such as project management, infrastructure design, data management and supply chain management.

“The JV participants believe that having Baker Energy committed to provide services during any development phase is crucial, as the JV’s goal is to tie in a discovery and commence production in the following winter season, analogous to the Kerr-McGee Ataruq field plan,” TG World said.

Baker Energy’s current activities include logistical support for permitting for the winter drilling and the completion of a health, safety and environmental plan for field operations. The company is also procuring materials and services for drilling operations, TG World said.

“It is cost effective and it makes technical sense to outsource key operational services to a world class firm like Baker Energy who has a proven track record in field development and operations in challenging environments such as the Gulf of Mexico offshore and elsewhere,” Bart Armfield, vice president of field operations for Brooks Range said. “We are also very impressed with Baker Energy’s record of accomplishments in safety and environmental protection which are critical success factors for any operator in Alaska.”

Brooks Range Petroleum is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alaska Venture Capital Group. Former ARCO Alaska President Ken Thompson is managing director of AVCG.

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