The Explorers 2010: Renaissance Alaska & Renaissance Cook Inlet
Renaissance may be small, but itís still aiming big. The Houston independent sold most of its Alaska acreage this year, but kept the Umiat prospect, one of the largest undeveloped oil fields on the North Slope. Renaissance arrived in Alaska in 2006, building up land positions both on the North Slope and in the Cook Inlet basin. In Cook Inlet, Renaissance picked up the offshore Northern Lights oil prospect, previously known as Sunfish, as well as the offshore Middle Ground Shoal and Northwest Cook Inlet prospects, and the North Sterling and West Eagle prospects on the Kenai Peninsula. On the North Slope, Renaissance pursued Umiat, near the Colville River on the east side of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Umiat is one of many northern prospects discovered by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1940s and 1950s.
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In early 2009, Renaissance transferred Northern Lights to Escopeta Oil as part of a three-company lease swap that led to the creation of the Kitchen Lights unit. In late 2009, Renaissance transferred its remaining Cook Inlet acreage to Stellar Oil and Gas, a sister company made up of the same investors and executives, a way to focus fundraising efforts for its Cook Inlet acreage. In March 2010, Stellar turned around and sold the acreage to Australian independent Buccaneer Resources. Now, the Renaissance-Stellar team works for Buccaneer Alaska, which is aggressively pursuing multiple prospects.
Throughout that shuffle, though, Renaissance kept 19,348 acres of state and federal leases at Umiat. The Renaissance team still wants to develop the field. In partnership with other independents, Renaissance planned to drill at Umiat in early 2008, but the risky program, combined with a shortened drilling season that year, prompted the company to shoot 3-D seismic instead. The results from that shoot suggested 250 million barrels of recoverable oil at Umiat, encouraging enough to keep the leases. Renaissance is now pinning its hopes on state plans to build a road and pipeline corridor to Umiat, a major infrastructure project that would significantly lower development costs in the Brooks Range foothills.
Current exploration focus:
Northern Alaska: Renaissance wants to develop the Umiat oil field in the foothills of the Brooks Range and is tying its efforts to state plans to build a road to the Umiat area.
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