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Vol. 14, No. 32 Week of August 09, 2009
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Maintenance continues production impact

July North Slope production averages 568,788 bpd, down 3.9 percent from June’s 591,666 bpd; Cook Inlet barrels up marginally

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Summer maintenance work on the North Slope continued to impact production rates in July, with production averaging 568,788 barrels per day, down 3.87 percent from a June average production level of 591,666 bpd.

Trans-Alaska oil pipeline operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. had a planned maintenance shutdown July 18-19. June production was impacted by the first Alyeska summer maintenance shutdown, June 20-21.

North Slope operators have also been doing planned maintenance this summer, where possible coordinated around planned pipeline shutdowns.

ANS production averaged more than 700,000 bpd most months from last September through this May, dropping below that level only in April due to a weather-related reduction in tanker traffic out of the Valdez Marine Terminal which resulted in a requirement for reduced production.

The BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Endicott field — where the main work this summer is replacement of the production control system on the main production island — had no production from July 9 through July 30. Production averaged 3,055 bpd in July, down 78.4 percent from a June average of 14,141 bpd.

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine field had two days of zero production, July 19 and 20, overlapping the June scheduled shutdown of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Alpine production averaged 93,666 bpd in July, down 9.73 percent from a June average of 103,760 bpd.

Maintenance continues

BP had three month-long turnarounds scheduled for this summer: beginning June 6 at Gathering Center 2; beginning July 7 at Flow Station 2; and beginning July 31 at Gathering Center 1.

The company also planned two to three weeks of work at Gathering Center 3, in addition to the replacement of the production control system at Endicott.

“Our busy summer maintenance season continues,” BP Exploration (Alaska) spokesman Steve Rinehart said in an Aug. 3 e-mail in response to questions on how the scheduled projects were proceeding.

ConocoPhillips Alaska had maintenance planned over the summer at Alpine and the Kuparuk River unit. Kuparuk had a small month-over-month decline, averaging 143,608 bpd in July, down 0.74 percent from a June average of 144,674 bpd.

ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in an Aug. 6 e-mail that Kuparuk Central Processing Facility 2 maintenance was completed July 23 and that the company had no other significant work under way.

Other July-over-June production declines occurred at BP’s Milne Point field, which averaged 24,246 bpd in July, down 17.96 percent from a June average of 29,555 bpd, and at the BP-operated Northstar field, which averaged 21,757 bpd in July, down 7.34 percent from a June average of 23,481 bpd.

Prudhoe volumes up

The BP-operated Prudhoe Bay field averaged 255,060 bpd in July, up 2.54 percent from a June average of 248,747 bpd, while Lisburne, also operated by BP, averaged 27,396 bpd in July, up 0.32 percent from a June average of 27,308 bpd.

Cook Inlet production averaged 3,212 bpd in July, up 6.96 percent from a June average of 3,003 bpd.

Prior to April, Cook Inlet oil production was averaging more than 14,000 bpd, but the Drift River Terminal, which transports crude oil from the west side of the inlet, was shut down because of the threat of continued eruptions from Mount Redoubt.

Cook Inlet Pipe Line Co. said in mid-July that it plans to begin shipping from the west side in mid-August by pumping oil from the pipeline directly into tankers moored at the Christy Lee platform, without using the storage tanks at the Drift River Terminal.

ANS crude oil production peaked in 1988 at some 2 million barrels a day; Cook Inlet crude oil production peaked in 1970 at more than 227,000 bpd.

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