NordAq Energy Inc. is planning a multiyear oil and gas exploration program in the Smith Bay area off the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and onshore in NPR-A.
The company holds a block of State of Alaska oil and gas leases in Smith Bay and a block of federal leases in the NPR-A northwest planning area. The NPR-A leases are inland to the southwest from Smith Bay.
NordAq, which has been exploring in the Cook Inlet area in recent years, applied to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for an oil discharge prevention and contingency plan “on current and future lease holdings offshore at the southern extent of Smith Bay,” DEC said in a notice published July 18. DEC said “drilling is proposed in shallow water and on shore in the Northwest National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.”
NordAq plans to drill as many as eight exploratory wells during the winter drilling seasons from 2013 to 2015, the agency said, with operations proposed “only during the frozen winter seasons” and a proposed drilling end date of April 21 each season to allow for demobilization and completion of any potential response activity prior to May 15, which is the average date of tundra travel closure, or loss of grounded sea ice in Smith Bay, which typically occurs in June or July.
DEC said access would vary depending on exploration location but would generally be via ice road, snow trail, Rolligon and/or airstrip.