Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
May 2008

Vol. 13, No. 18 Week of May 04, 2008

Savant to plug and abandon Kupcake

Partner in Beaufort exploration well near Liberty says intervals in Kemik formation are ‘thinner than anticipated’ and ‘water wet’

Eric Lidji

Petroleum News

Savant Alaska LLC plans to plug and abandon the Kupcake No. 1 exploration well offshore Alaska’s North Slope, according to a partner on the project.

Savant, an independent oil company and new to Alaska, drilled the Beaufort Sea well to a total depth of 10,686 feet, reaching the Kemik formation, but the target interval “was thinner than anticipated” and an evaluation of the porous Cretaceous sandstone there proved the formation to be “water wet,” according to a statement released by Bordeaux Energy Inc., a Canadian partnered with Savant on the well.

Water-wet refers to the tendency of rocks, especially porous rocks like sandstone, to absorb water, as opposed to oil-wet formations more likely to absorb oil, or intermediate-wet formations that absorb both water and oil. Rocks generally start out water-wet, until oil or gas displaces the water. Typically, the large amounts of water in these water-wet formations complicate the economics of a well.

Savant, a local affiliate of Denver-based Savant Resources LLC, declined to comment on the significance of the well results or the implications those results might have on the future of the company’s operations in Alaska.

“We currently have some outstanding business issues surrounding the Kupcake No. 1 well and are unable to comment at this time,” said Greg Vigil, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Savant Resources.

Vigil said the company might be able to comment in the near future.

Kupcake shares history with Liberty

One goal of the drilling program was to find out whether the Kupcake prospect is connected to BP’s nearby Liberty prospect.

The two prospects share some history.

Kupcake No. 1 sits just a few miles west of the Liberty No. 1, which BP drilled in 1997.

BP mapped out the Kupcake prospect the following year using 3-D seismic data it had shot in 1995, but allowed the leases south and west of Liberty to expire in 2005. Savant picked those leases up in 2006 when it first entered Alaska, and originally planned to drill Kupcake No. 1 last year, but couldn’t secure a rig in time for the winter drilling season.

Savant had estimated the Kupcake prospect could contain 100 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Under its joint venture deal with Savant, Bordeaux earns a 30 percent interest in seven Savant leases in the area by paying 40 percent of the cost of the Kupcake No. 1 drilling program. The total cost of the program has been estimated at $14 million.

Kuukpik headed south

Savant spud Kupcake No. 1 on March 26 from a specially built ice island east of Point Brower in the shallow waters of Foggy Island Bay. The company drilled the well using the Kuukpik No. 5 rig.

With work done at Kupcake, the Kuukpik No. 5 rig is headed to Cook Inlet, where ConocoPhillips plans to use it to drill from the Tyonek platform in the North Cook Inlet Unit.

ConocoPhillips is currently in the process of permitting three wells at the offshore unit.

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