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Week of August 26, 2012
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Fortune Hunt Alaska 2012: ENS pearls about to be strung

It has been more than 20 years since Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas officials coined the phrase “string of pearls” for the infrastructure-led exploration of the eastern North Slope. It has taken two more decades for the “string” — a metaphor for new pipelines — to come close to making its way from Pump Station 1 of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline at Prudhoe Bay to the border of ANWR’s 1002 area, some 60 miles east.

Between ANWR and Endicott are numerous on- and offshore discoveries, several of which are thought to hold upwards of 100 million barrels of oil.

Not all are under lease, although that might change in the State of Alaska’s annual areawide lease sales for the North Slope and Beaufort Sea, scheduled to occur sometime this fall.

First ‘pearl’ is Badami

Thirty-five miles east of Prudhoe Bay, the first “pearl” on the string is the Badami oil field. Put online in 1998 it is the farthest east development along Alaska’s northern coast, its 35,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, or “string,” connecting it to the Endicott field.

Today Badami produces a steady 1,300-1,500 barrels per month, leaving considerable space for third-party shippers.

By late 2016, it will likely be transporting oil and natural gas condensate from ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson field, at its peak expected to produce 10,000 barrels a day from a gas-cycling development, and leaving two-thirds of the line open — and twice that amount open in the 22-mile, 70,000 barrel a day pipeline from between Badami and Point Thomson, the next pearl in the chain.



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