State approves Ninilchik Pearl pad
State officials have approved a new drilling pad at the Ninilchik unit.
The Aug. 31 decision allows Hilcorp Alaska LLC to build the Pearl Pad just south of the onshore Cook Inlet unit to access a drilling target located within the unit boundaries.
The project includes a 3.77-acre gravel pad on privately owned surface land and a single delineation well - Pearl No. 2A - drilled to ADL 384372. The project also includes a 1,050-foot long and 20-foot wide gravel access road connecting Woodsong Court to the new pad and a widening of the Sterling Highway and Woodsong Court intersection.
One objective of the Pearl program is to determine whether or not the commercial viability of the Ninilchik unit “extends south of the Paxton Pad and potentially beyond the Susan Dionne-Paxton participating area,” according to the recent decision. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued drilling permits in June 2017 for the Pearl No. 1A, Pearl No. 3, Pearl No. 6 and Pearl No. 7 stratigraphic test wells.
The state Division of Oil and Gas received nine comments about the plan.
About half of the comments concerned the impact of development activity in a populated region, including concerns about correlative rights, noise pollution, truck traffic and eventual decommissioning. The other half concerned larger environmental questions that would be addressed by existing regulations, according to the company and state officials.
- ERIC LIDJI