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March 2014

Vol. 19, No. 12 Week of March 23, 2014

Apache gathering more Cook Inlet seismic

Apache Alaska Corp. has resumed its program of seismic surveying in the Cook Inlet basin and in February started an onshore survey in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Kenai Peninsula, Lisa Parker, Apache Alaska’s manager, government relations, told Petroleum News March 18. In July the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a special use permit, allowing Apache to conduct a seismic survey on surface land in the refuge.

“We have some plans for conducting additional seismic operations and currently have seismic operations in the area north of Nikiski,” Parker said.

The company expects to soon start a new marine seismic survey in the northern Cook Inlet, offshore the area where the onshore survey is taking place, Parker said. This new offshore survey will be to the north of a marine survey that the company conducted in 2012 along a fairway across the upper Cook Inlet to the west of the northern Kenai Peninsula.

Parker did not comment on any other exploration activities that Apache might be planning.

“We are evaluating our options and our alternatives,” she said.

On March 4 the National Marine Fisheries Service issued an incidental harassment authorization, allowing Apache to conduct offshore seismic surveys across much of the upper Cook Inlet in 2014. The authorization allows the unintended minor disturbance of marine mammals in the inlet, provided that Apache implements specified mitigation measures for minimizing wildlife impacts.

Apache is conducting a major multiyear program of 3-D seismic surveying in the Cook Inlet basin, exploring primarily for oil but also with an interest in natural gas. In addition to the marine survey across the northern part of the inlet, the company has conducted an onshore survey on the west side of the inlet. The company, which has said that it sees the gathering of 3-D seismic as essential to finding new opportunities in the basin, is using a high-tech system of wireless seismic recording nodes that simplify the logistics of conducting surveys while also reducing environmental impacts. In 2012 the company spud an exploration well onshore the west of the inlet but later commented that the results from that well had proved disappointing.

—Alan Bailey






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