Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
July 2017

Vol. 22, No. 29 Week of July 16, 2017

June ANS production down 10% from May

Largest percent drop in crude oil at Endicott, largest per-barrel drop at Prudhoe Bay; May Cook Inlet volumes up 9% over April

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Alaska North Slope crude oil production for June averaged 490,758 barrels per day, down 9.9 percent from a May average of 544,808 bpd, but down only 0.1 percent from a June 2016 average of 491,419 bpd. The largest per-barrel decline, 33,902 bpd, a drop of 11.3 percent, was at the BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Prudhoe Bay field, the Slope’s largest, which averaged 267,242 bpd, down from a May average of 301,144, but up 4.7 percent from a June 2016 average of 255,333 bpd.

Prudhoe volumes include satellite production at Aurora, Borealis, Midnight Sun, Orion, Polaris, Sag River, Schrader Bluff and Ugnu, as well as volumes from the Hilcorp Alaska-operated Milne Point and Northstar fields.

Information for June is from the Alaska Department of Revenue’s Tax Division which reports North Slope oil production consolidated by major production centers and provides daily production and monthly averages. More detailed data, including Cook Inlet and individual North Slope fields and pools, is reported by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on a month-delay basis.

AOGCC data show Milne Point averaged 18,129 bpd in May, down 14.5 percent, 3,077 bpd, from an April average of 21,206 bpd, and down 8.1 percent from a May 2016 average of 19,729. Northstar averaged 7,100 bpd in May, down 5.2 percent, 390 bpd, from an April average of 7,490 bpd, but up 7.5 percent from a May 2016 average of 5,341 bpd.


Volumes from Endicott, operated by Hilcorp Alaska, had the largest month-over-month percentage drop, averaging 8,470 bpd in June, down 33.4 percent, 4,255 bpd, from a May average of 12,725, and down 11.4 percent from a May 2016 average of 9,562 bpd.

Endicott volumes include Eider, Minke and Sag Delta, as well as volumes from Badami, operated by Glacier Oil & Gas subsidiary Savant Alaska, and volumes from the ExxonMobil Production-operated Point Thomson field.

AOGCC data show Badami averaged 865 bpd in May, down 1.2 percent, 11 bpd, from an April average of 876, and down 16.7 percent from a May 2016 average of 1,039 bpd.

Point Thomson

Also based on AOGCC data, Point Thomson averaged 2,993 bpd in May, down 53.4 percent, 3,423 bpd, from an April average of 6,416 bpd, but up 87.2 percent from a May 2016 average of 1,599 bpd. Point Thomson, which produces condensate while recycling natural gas, began production in April 2016. Field facilities are designed to recycle 200 million standard cubic feet per day of gas, while producing 10,000 bpd of condensate.

Prior to Point Thomson startup, Endicott volumes were in the 8,000-bpd range. In May, volumes ranged from almost 16,000 bpd down to 9,300 bpd, while in June the range was from almost 15,000 bpd at the beginning of the month to less than 7,000 bpd near the end of the month.

Point Thomson is the largest variable in the Endicott numbers, so that field appears to be having a wide range of production.

In a plan of development for the field, submitted to the state at the end of June, ExxonMobil had this to say about production:

“Production to date has been impacted by gas injection compressor availability and reliability. Several redesign and realignment efforts have been implemented to improve gas injection uptime while better understanding the operation of these industry-first compressors.”

Turnaround at Alpine

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine field averaged 56,414 bpd in June, down 13.9 percent, 9,081 bpd, from a May average of 65,495 bpd, and down 9.5 percent from a June 2016 average of 62,301 bpd. Alpine production includes satellite volumes from Fiord, Nanuq and Qannik.

The field was down entirely for two days, June 16-17, followed by production of 379 barrels June 18. ConocoPhillips Alaska told Petroleum News in May that scheduled maintenance for Alpine, the annual turnaround, was set for mid-June. The field started production at 64,255 barrels June 1 and ended the month at 60,768 barrels June 30.

Kuparuk, Lisburne

The ConocoPhillips-operated Kuparuk River field averaged 135,295 bpd in June, down 4.3 percent, 6,092 bpd, from a May average of 141,387 bpd, and down 3.9 percent from a June 2016 average of 140,780 bpd. Kuparuk River volumes include satellite production from Meltwater, Tabasco, Tarn and West Sak, as well as from the Eni-operated Nikaitchuq field and the Caelus Alaska-operated Oooguruk field.

AOGCC data show Nikaitchuq averaged 23,569 bpd in May, up 3.2 percent, 733 bpd, from an April average of 22,836, and down 2.3 percent from a May 2016 average of 24,126 bpd. Oooguruk averaged 12,601 bpd in May, down 11 percent, 1,558 bpd, from an April average of 14,159, and down 29.3 percent from a May 2016 average of 17,825 bpd.

BP-operated Lisburne, where volumes include production from Niakuk, Point McIntyre and Raven, averaged 23,337 bpd in June, down 3 percent, 720 bpd, from a May average of 24,057, and down 0.5 percent from a June 2016 average of 23,443 bpd.

Cook Inlet

AOGCC data for May show Cook Inlet production averaged 12,740 bpd, up 9 percent from an April average of 11,694 bpd, but still well down from recent highs of 15,000 bpd, last seen in August.

One reason for current Cook Inlet production is that May volumes for Hilcorp Alaska’s Middle Ground Shoal show a total of 55 barrels, an average of 2 bpd, for April. That field was shut down in late March until a subsea gas fuel line could be repaired, work which was completed in May after the field was down for part of March and all of April.

Hilcorp spokeswoman Lori Nelson told Petroleum News July 11 that the repairs are complete and said smart pigging of both A and C lines will begin later in July. “Once we have the data in-hand we will evaluate it and work in coordination with regulators to ensure we can restart production safely.”

Hilcorp’s Beaver Creek averaged 160 bpd in May, down 13.5 percent from an April average of 185 bpd.

The other small Cook Inlet field, BlueCrest’s Hansen, the Cosmopolitan project, averaged 148 bpd in May, up 2.5 percent from an April average of 145 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Granite Point field averaged 2,218 bpd in May, up 66.2 percent from an April average of 1,334 bpd. Production from the Anna platform at Granite Point was down for most of April after Hilcorp shut down crude oil production April 1 when an oil sheen was observed from the platform. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said 3 gallons or less of natural gas condensate had been released from the platform’s gas flaring system during maintenance, and authorized restart of the Anna platform and the associated subsea oil pipeline April 28.

Hilcorp’s McArthur River field, Cook Inlet’s largest, averaged 4,084 bpd in May, up 9.6 percent from an April average of 3,727 bpd.

Redoubt Shoal, operated by Glacier Oil & Gas, averaged 870 bpd in May, up 4.4 percent from an April average of 834 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Swanson River field averaged 2,033 bpd in May, up 0.2 percent from an April average of 2,029 bpd.

Trading Bay, also a Hilcorp field, averaged 1,789 bpd in May, down 17.8 percent from an April average of 2,178 bpd.

Glacier Oil & Gas’ West McArthur River field averaged 1,434 bpd in May, up 13.8 percent from an April average of 1,260 bpd.

ANS crude oil production peaked in 1988 at 2.1 million bpd; Cook Inlet crude oil production peaked in 1970 at more than 227,000 bpd.

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