Looking to expand its land holdings at Gwydyr Bay, Brooks Range Petroleum Corp. recently acquired 5,120 acres on three state leases on the coast of the North Slope.
On behalf of a four-company joint venture, BRPC acquired the land on June 6 from Pioneer Natural Resources, which owned a 100 percent working interest in the leases.
The three leases — ADL 390425, ADL 390426 and ADL 390427 — sit on the northern border of the Prudhoe Bay unit and expire on April 30, 2011.
The new acreage is adjacent to a 45,598-acre block of leases already owned by the joint venture, which includes TG World Energy, Bow Valley Alaska Corp. and the Nabors subsidiary Ramshorn Investments Inc. in addition to BRPC.
That joint venture was one of the busiest explorers on the North Slope this winter, re-drilling one well, spudding a second well and drilling a pair of sidetracks, in addition to commissioning a seismic survey.
The new leases sit due east of the North Shore No. 1 exploration well the company started last winter and re-drilled this winter. The new leases also cover an area of land included in a 3-D seismic survey the joint venture acquired last year.
The joint venture has talked in the past about drilling a North Shore No. 2 exploration well in the Gwydyr Bay region.
Leases near Pete’s Wicked No. 1The new leases sit over the bottom hole of the Pete’s Wicked No 1 exploration well drilled by BP in 1997. Although BP discovered oil with the well, the company ultimately decided the prospect wasn’t large enough to justify a conventional development scheme.
But Pioneer came to Alaska in 2002 specifically to develop prospects deemed “too small” by the bigger companies, a business model the company recently used to bring the Oooguruk unit online in the Beaufort Sea.
After acquiring the Gwydyr Bay acreage in the 2003 Beaufort Sea lease sale, Pioneer applied for permits to build a small gravel pad and a corridor running south to T Pad in the Prudhoe Bay unit. The company also announced plans to drill two exploration wells in the winter of 2005 and 2006.
But the company never followed through on either effort, choosing instead to focus on developing the Cosmopolitan unit in Cook Inlet and Oooguruk off of the North Slope.
Pioneer’s decision to drop the Gwydyr Bay leases follows its announcement last September to suspend exploration efforts in Alaska following several unsuccessful wells.