Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
August 2009

vol. 14, No. 34 Week of August 23, 2009

BP to keep Badami idle another year; reservoir failed to recharge

Don’t look for BP to restart production from its troublesome Badami oil field anytime soon.

In an Aug. 14 status report to the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas, BP said it will submit an application to suspend operations and production at Badami for another year until Aug. 31, 2010. The state previously had approved suspension through August of this year.

BP also discloses in the report that idling Badami — BP shut down the field in the fall of 2007 — hasn’t worked as hoped to revive reservoir pressure.

“As of August 2009, no new oil is available for production through the Badami facilities,” the report says. “The last static pressure data for the Badami reservoir were obtained in August of 2008 and indicated a slow recharge of the reservoir. The measurement of new pressure data for the existing Badami wells has been delayed due to logistical issues but should be available by mid-September 2009.”

Difficult geology

Badami is the easternmost field to produce oil on Alaska’s North Slope.

BP put Badami on stream in August 1998 with hopes of making 30,000 barrels a day.

Production ramped up as planned initially but Badami soon went bust, making only about 1,400 barrels a day in 2003 when BP mothballed the field. It had six production wells at the time on a compact gravel pad.

BP restarted Badami in September 2005, then idled it again two years later.

Badami’s problem is reservoir compartmentalization — the oil doesn’t flow through producing zones.

In an effort to make something more of Badami, BP has worked a farmout agreement with Savant Resources, a small Denver-based independent oil and gas company.

Last winter, Savant spud an exploration well on March 20 targeting its Red Wolf prospect within the Badami unit. But Savant was forced to suspend drilling on April 24 due to deterioration of its ice access road. Well operations were shut down at the intermediate casing point, the BP report says.

This coming winter, Savant intends to complete the well and evaluate the target Kekiktuk formation, the report says.

Savant managers have said they’ll combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing — pumping large volumes of fluid into the ground to crack the formation — to try to improve Badami’s oil flow.

Hydraulic fracturing has been tried before at Badami, but only on traditional vertical wells.

Savant this winter also hopes to drill a sidetrack off one of Badami’s existing vertical wells to target the Brookian sands.

What’s needed

The BP report outlines a range of engineering studies and inspection activities completed in recent months toward a potential restart of the Badami plant.

Restarting the plant and bringing the field back on line would require filling vacant positions, possibly changing out some turbines, pigging the Badami pipeline, and taking care of some permitting, the report says.

“It is expected that it will take from eight to 12 months from the decision to restart production at Badami before oil will be produced,” it says.

— Wesley Loy

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