Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
January 2018

Vol. 23, No. 4 Week of January 28, 2018

BP’s Weiss talks oil incline benefits

Delivers on promise of shaved head if Prudhoe production above 280,000 bpd for 2017; marks 3rd level year of production at field

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Janet Weiss, president of BP Exploration (Alaska), had an upbeat message for the Alaska Support Industry Alliance’s annual Meet Alaska conference in Anchorage Jan. 19.

In 2014, she said, oil production was on the incline in 12 out of the 13 U.S. oil producing states: Alaska was the exception. Senate Bill 21, passed in 2013 and ratified in 2014 with the defeat of a repeal initiative, was a great thing, Weiss said. It made the Alaska basin competitive again and Alaska got to join the incliners.

At the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay field, which celebrated 40 years of operation, there have been three years of no decline in production, Weiss said, acknowledging a focus on safety and recognizing three Alliance companies, Jacobs’ (formerly CH2M) fire and gas team at Flow Station No. 1 for zero injuries in 2017, Conam for completing a project at Flow Station No. 2 and for a focus on safety and Parker Drilling Co., whose rig 272 had no first aid incidents in 2017 and three years without a recordable injury. She said Parker rig 272 is the number 1 ranked land rig across BP’s fleet for both safety and operations.

She said safety is BP’s priority, and the company has more to do, but welcomes the continued partnership and focus on safety of its contractors.

Three years at Prudhoe

Prudhoe production was 281,800 barrels per day in 2015, 280,700 bpd in 2016 and 280,040 bpd in 2017. “In my book that’s no decline,” Weiss said, noting that Prudhoe was supposed to have a 30-year life and has now passed 40, and was supposed to produce 9.6 billion barrels, has passed 12.5 billion and is well on its way to producing more than 14 billion barrels.

So how did Prudhoe do it?

She said there’s a real focus on doing base operations better, from 79 percent to more than 85 percent operating efficiency, a lot more plant reliability.

More than 500 well jobs were completed and the count of active wells is up by 100, she said.

And there’s also been two years of incline in production down the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, Weiss said.

At the 6-8 percent decline in throughput the state saw in earlier years, by 2055 1.5 billion additional barrels would move down TAPS, worth $11 billion to the state in taxes and royalties. But at a 1 percent decline, it’s 5 billion barrels, and $66 billion to the state.

It’s about staying in the game, Weiss said, which takes a stable fiscal policy, innovation and true Alaskan grit.

Staying competitive

Teams across Prudhoe have been working to stay competitive, Weiss said. She said that in 2017 she visited various teams and saw some inspiring leaders who helped get teams to a level they didn’t think possible. One team leader promised early in the year to shave his head if his team met their goals.

Weiss said the Prudhoe production forecast for 2017 was 266,000 bpd, which would have been a decline from 2016. She said she promised that if production was held flat she would shave her head. Well, she told Meet Alaska Jan. 19, “tomorrow is the day.”

If you see me around town with a shaved head, she said, it’s in honor of the great people with true grit innovation.

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