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Vol. 11, No. 32 Week of August 06, 2006
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

FEX to drill 3 to 4 wells

Talisman’s FEX will use two drilling rigs for upcoming NPR-A exploration

By Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

Talisman subsidiary FEX is moving ahead with plans for continued exploration drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska this winter.

“We will be drilling three to four wells this winter,” Barry Nelson, spokesman for Talisman, told Petroleum New on Aug. 1. Nelson declined to say which prospects the company would target.

In the winter of 2005/2006 FEX completed the Aklaq 2 well, south of Cape Simpson and west of the Ikpikpuk River, and drilled a sidetrack to that well. However, the company has not tested the well. Nelson said that weather problems had delayed the drilling.

The company will use two drilling rigs in NPR-A for the 2006-07 drilling season, Nelson said. One of those rigs will be the Nabors 14E rig currently stacked at Cape Simpson and used by FEX for drilling in the winter of 2005-06. Petroleum News has heard that the other rig will be the Arctic Wolf, newly built by Akita drilling in partnership with Doyon Drilling. Arctic Wolf has been custom designed for use in “northern applications.”

FEX has talked in the past about using as many as three drilling rigs in NPR-A.

In the spring FEX applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an Incidental Harassment Authorization for barging equipment and supplies for the 2006-07 winter drilling program. The company planned a barging operation from the West Dock at Prudhoe Bay to Cape Simpson or Point Lonely (on the east side of Simpson Bay). The company has established a staging area at Cape Simpson for exploration in the northwestern part of NPR-A.

Substantial acreage

Northwestern NPR-A includes a major portion of the substantial NPR-A acreage that FEX has amassed since 2003. The FEX acreage is concentrated in an area south of Smith Bay. In the State of Alaska’s March 2006 Beaufort Sea areawide lease sale the company acquired 25 leases covering 120,000 acres in Smith Bay itself. The company already owned a substantial position in state acreage on the west side of Harrison Bay, offshore NPR-A to the east of Smith Bay.

Talisman has in the past expressed expectations of finding substantial volumes of oil in its FEX acreage onshore and offshore NPR-A. Talisman Exploration Executive John ‘t Hart said that because of the remoteness of Alaska “we are going for a big prize, bigger than we have ever drilled.” And Tim England, senior manager, exploration, for FEX, said the company had “identified several prospects in the NPR-A” and is “quite bullish on these areas.”

In 2005 FEX told the residents of North Slope Borough that it planned a three-year exploration program, running from 2005 to 2008, in which “a total of two to three drill site ice pads will be constructed per year” east and north of the village of Atqasuk and southeast of Barrow. FEX staked a total of eight potential wells in the area with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (staking a well initiates the well permitting process but does not necessarily indicate that a well will be drilled).

Seven possible well pads

Two of the wells would be drilled from a single pad, so that seven pads would be required to drill all eight wells. The seven pad locations and the ice road lengths are: lease AA-085574, ice road origin, section 15, township 15 north, range 11 west, Umiat Meridian (Aklaq 1); AA-085503, two miles, 34-T15N-R12W, UM (Aklaq 2B); AA-085574, one mile, 15-T15N-R11W, UM (Aklaq 1A); AA-085494, 10 miles, 23-T14N-R14W, UM (Aklaqyaaq 1); AA-085503, seven miles, 29-T15N-R12W, UM (Aklaq 2); AA-085486, seven miles, 7-T13N-R14W, UM (Amaguq 1); and AA-085503, two miles, 31-T15N-R12W, UM (Aklaq 2A). Four additional drill sites (Uugaq, Kanayuq, Siulik and Agviq) were identified by FEX as possible future drill locations.

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