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Vol. 17, No. 15 Week of April 08, 2012
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Apache plans 2 wells this year, onshore on either side of inlet

Apache Corp. plans to drill its first two wells in Alaska in the second half of the year.

As part of a regional, multiyear oil exploration campaign in Cook Inlet, the Houston-independent is permitting onshore wells on both the east and west side of the inlet.

Apache plans to start by drilling the Aspen well in July.

The well would be located about four miles west of Tyonek, amid a thicket of previously drilled wells. Those in the immediate vicinity include Aurora Gas’ Aspen No. 1, Humble Oil’s Tyonek Reserve No. 1 and Simasko’s Simpco East Moquawkie No. 1.

Aurora drilled the Aspen No. 1 wildcat to 4,485 feet in mid-2005, but did not find commercial quantities of natural gas. The company re-entered the well in mid-2008.

Aurora operates the nearby Lone Creek and Moquawkie units.

Humble drilled the Tyonek Reserve No. 1 to around 13,600 feet in 1965. Simasko drilled the Simpco East Moquawkie No. 1 in 1979 to a total depth of 10,852 feet.

Although it isn’t discounting the possibility of associated gas discoveries, Apache is looking to develop oil deposits overlooked when Cook Inlet exploration moved north.

In the fall or winter, Apache plans to move across the Inlet to drill the Captain Boomer well along the shoreline some four miles southwest of Moose Point. The well would be about a quarter mile inland, but still outside of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

The proposed location is north of the Birch Hill unit and northeast of the Moose Point Unit No. 1 well that Amarex Inc. drilled to a total depth of 10,058 feet in early 1978.

Captain Boomer would be within spitting distance of a Tesoro multiproducts pipeline.

Alongside offshore leases

Those two proposed well locations in effect bookend the northern section of the offshore Kitchen Lights unit where Furie Operating Alaska LLC is currently drilling and the southern section of the North Cook Inlet unit, a legacy field operated by ConocoPhillips.

Apache holds a fairway of offshore leases just east of those existing units. When the company picked up the leases in early 2011, the state speculated that the company might be targeting smaller structures hidden between the major structures in the region.

“There’s a lot of playing room between the big, big structures,” Robert Swenson, director of Alaska’s Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, said at the time.

Toward the end of last year, Apache kicked off a three-year 1,200-square mile 3-D seismic shoot across its entire leasehold in Cook Inlet using a new nodal technology.

With more than 800,000 acres, Apache is the largest leaseholder in Cook Inlet. Its portfolio covers the entire the basin, from the southern Kenai Peninsula to the mouth of the Susitna River and including the east and west sides, as well as offshore leases.

Apache recently submitted an oil discharge prevention and contingency plan to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The plan is meant to cover the entire multiyear program, but Apache is only detailing drilling plans for the first year.

—Eric Lidji



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