Cook Inlet Energy is permitting a three-well exploration program starting this winter.
The Stingray program would take place on the West Foreland peninsula near the Trading Bay production facility on the west side of Cook Inlet in Southcentral Alaska.
The local subsidiary of Tennessee-based Miller Petroleum wants to start fieldwork in December in preparation for drilling in January. The program would end in early March, with inspection and any necessary remediation work scheduled for next summer. The Alaska Coastal Management Program is taking comments on the plan through Dec. 28.
Cook Inlet Energy described Stingray No. 1 as a shallow gas exploration well located some three-quarters of a mile west of the Trading Bay production facility runway. The company plans to drill the vertical well between 2,000 and 2,500 feet to “test the gas producing potential of Beluga sands identified in an offset well, the West Foreland State A1, and mapped seismically.” The company hopes to spud around the first of the year.
Cities Service Oil Co. drilled West Foreland State A1 in June 1973 to 8,678 feet.
The proposed wells are also near Iliamna No. 1, a dry hole that Pelican Hill Oil and Gas drilled in late 2003. That well also targeted shallow natural gas deposits in the area.
Stingray No. 2 would be about a quarter mile southwest of Stingray No. 1. Cook Inlet Energy recently asked the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for an exemption of state spacing requirements because the proposed site is within 1,500 feet of a property line where ownership changes. The AOGCC is taking comments on the request through Dec. 20.
Stingray No. 3 would be less than half a mile northeast of Stingray No. 1.
The AOGCC previously said that Iliamna No. 1 was “highly unlikely to encounter oil or oil-bearing formations” between the surface and 5,500 feet vertical depth. In this case, the AOGCC made a similar ruling, deciding “with reasonable certainty that the proposed Stingray exploratory gas well will not penetrate a formation capable of flowing oil to the ground surface.” As a result, Cook Inlet Energy does not expect to need an Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan for the wells.
Using truck mounted rigCook Inlet Energy currently plans to use Miller Rig No. 34, an Atlas Copco RD-20 rig, for the program, mobilizing it to West Foreland by barge and winterizing it if necessary. The back-up rig would be AWS No. 1. Both of these are smaller, truck-mounted units.
If Cook Inlet Energy drilled all three wells, the onshore program would require three temporary ice pads and a mile of snow roads to accommodate a truck-mounted rig.
Cook Inlet Energy plans to use its existing operations at the West MacArthur River field, including existing gravel roads, as a hub for getting to and from the exploration site.
The prospect is close to existing infrastructure on the west side of Cook Inlet, and developing the field would require only a short gas pipeline to connect to CIGGS.
Since arriving in Alaska in late 2009, Cook Inlet Energy has focused on working over idle wells in the West MacArthur River field, producing some 1,100 barrels per day.
However, in financial filings from September, the company detailed plans to drill five new wells over the coming year, as long as it could raise sufficient capital.