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Vol. 15, No. 46 Week of November 14, 2010
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

The Explorers 2010: Chevron Alaska

If Alaskans spoke of a “Big 4” instead of a “Big 3” Chevron would be a contender for the extra spot, but as it stands the California major is often overshadowed by companies that operate more units or run larger exploration campaigns in Alaska. Chevron arrived in Alaska more than 100 years ago, and now holds minority shares in the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson units, leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a share of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and a large oil and natural gas operation in the Cook Inlet basin. The company, along with its affiliate Union Oil Co. of California, owns some 176,000 acres in Alaska, and produces 14,000 barrels of oil and 99 million cubic feet of gas per day.

A 2005 acquisition of Unocal re-energized Chevron’s exploration efforts in northern Alaska, primarily at the White Hills prospect in the central North Slope, just south of the Kuparuk River unit. Chevron won’t discuss White Hills publicly, but state filings show the company drilled five wells in 2008 and 2009, and relinquished the southern two-thirds and the northern tip of the prospect in 2010. Chevron is now analyzing that refined prospect, but hasn’t announced future plans. Chevron holds 70 percent ownership of the leases at White Hills with the French company Total owning the remaining 30 percent.

Chevron also maintains active operations in the Cook Inlet basin. Exploration efforts at the Nikolaevsk unit on the southern Kenai Peninsula are on hold while Chevron appeals a state ruling rejecting a recent plan of development. Meanwhile, the company is focusing on development work at its legacy fields and maintaining its aging infrastructure, like the Anna platform it shut in for several months due to corrosion concerns and the 25 wells from the lighthoused Baker platform that Chevron plans to plug and abandon.

Current exploration focus:

Northern Alaska: Chevron is not planning any exploration work this year, but continues to analyze data gathered at its White Hills oil and gas prospect south of Kuparuk River.

Cook Inlet: Chevron said it plans to focus on cost-effective development in its producing fields in 2011, including work planned in the coming year at the Swanson River unit, Beluga River unit, Ninilchik unit and the Grayling Gas Sands in MacArthur River field.



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