Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
February 2019

Vol. 24, No. 6 Week of February 10, 2019

PODs approved for Duck Island, Northstar

Hilcorp plans workovers, facility projects at both offshore North Slope facilities this year; says no new wells will be drilled

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Alaska Division of Oil and Gas approved Hilcorp Alaska’s plans of development for the Duck Island and Northstar units in January. In both cases at the company’s request the periods of the PODs have been changed to align more closely with the calendar year. The PODs formerly ran from August to July; the previous plans were amended to run through early February and the new plans run from February of this year to February of 2020.

Duck Island unit

Duck Island unit, the Endicott field, is the older of the two units and the newly approved POD is the unit’s 37th. In its November proposed POD Hilcorp said production from Duck Island comes from three participating areas and one tract operation: the Endicott PA produces from the Kekiktuk reservoir; the Sag Delta North PA and the Sag River Reservoir Eider PA both produce from the Ivishak reservoir; the Minke tract operation produces from the Sag River reservoir.

Duck Island produced an average of 7,242 barrels of liquid hydrocarbons (oil plus natural gas liquids) per day from Jan. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, the division said, and some 334.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Hilcorp drilled the SDI3-23A sidetrack during the 36th POD, the division said, but because that drilling project absorbed the majority of drilling time during the 36th POD, the company was only about to drill two additional sidetracks. Hilcorp had committed to evaluate shut-in wells and drill as many as six additional sidetracks in addition to SDI3-23A. (Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data show 14 wells at the field shut-in as of December.)

In addition to rig workovers and other well work, the company completed a number of facility projects.

For the 37th POD, Hilcorp said it plans no new wells, but “will continue to pursue efficiencies through various well optimizations, including the evaluation of shut-in wells utility and their potential return to service.” The company said it plans up to five well workover projects which “may include return to production, producer to water injection conversions, or water/gas shutoffs.”

The company also plans major facility projects.

Northstar unit

In its proposed POD for Northstar Hilcorp said the unit is jointly managed by the division and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

There are three sand accumulations at Northstar, the company said: the Ivishak sands in the Northstar PA and the Fido PA; and the Kuparuk sands in the Hooligan PA.

In its POD approval the division said Northstar produced an average of 10,361 bpd of liquid hydrocarbons (oil and NGLs) between January and the end of November last year, and a daily average of 516.2 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.

In the just completed POD, the 14th, Hilcorp said it drilled no new grassroots wells or sidetracks, but completed various well work jobs, including two rig workovers recompleting wells from the Ivishak reservoir to the Kuparuk, and conversion of an Ivishak gas injection well to production.

The company completed various facility projects, and said it purchased a helicopter, a hovercraft and 50 percent of a barge and hired several helicopter pilots to support Northstar unit access and operations.

In the 15th POD, which will run from this February to February 2020, the company said it does not anticipate drilling any new wells, but does anticipate completing two rig well workover projects, one to recomplete an Ivishak reservoir producer to a Kuparuk C producer and one to recomplete an Ivishak reservoir gas injector to a lean gas injection well in the Kuparuk A and C reservoir.

The company said it would also continue to evaluate well work opportunities as they arise and “pursue efficiencies through various well optimizations, including the evaluation of shut-in wells utility and their potential return to service.” (AOGCC’s December data shows four shut-in wells at Northstar.)

Facility projects that the company may undertake during the 15th Northstar POD include a feasibility study and economic analysis of the potential of a project to improve NGL recovery during warmer ambient temperatures. (Northstar, Endicott and Prudhoe Bay produce NGLs in addition to crude oil.)

Hilcorp said that if such a project were sanctioned, “the necessary infrastructure, facility modifications and tie-ins and potential module delivery could occur during the 15th POD period.”

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