Last winter, ConocoPhillips’ exploration program reached far into the western National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. This winter Conoco is drilling closer to infrastructure, on the eastern border of NPR-A, near the Alpine oil field in the Colville River unit, where the company is a partner with Anadarko Petroleum.
Recent Conoco filings with government permitting agencies say the company plans to drill wells at two different prospects this winter, Char and Spark Down Dip 9. Conoco also plans to re-enter the Rendezvous 2 well with “well work equipment” that will not require the use of a drilling rig. The two wells will be drilled with Doyon 141 drill rig.
The Char 1 well site is on the edge of Harrison Bay outside the northwest edge of the Colville River Delta, in the Colville unit northwest of Alpine, about one mile south of Conoco’s 2005 Iapetus exploration well and 12 miles north of the Village of Nuiqsut. Due west of the Fiord development, the Iapetus prospect was viewed by Conoco as a potential Alpine satellite, specifically, a new discovery or an extension of Fiord, but the well was plugged and abandoned.
The Char prospect, Conoco told Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas, is on surface lands owned by Kuukpik Corp., a Native village corporation. The subsurface is owned by the State of Alaska and Arctic Slope Regional Corp.
Conoco is permitting two other Char wells, but it does not expect to drill them this winter.
The Spark DD 9 exploration well was permitted last year on lease AA-081800 in the Northeast NPR-A Planning Area, southeast of Teshekpuk Lake in the Kuukpik land selection area. The Spark DD wells are adjacent to the proposed site for CD-7, which has been evaluated as a development node with permanent road access and a pipeline to Alpine. Spark is some 15 miles southwest of Alpine.
If the Spark and nearby Lookout (CD-6) discoveries are developed, as little as two miles of pipeline would be needed to connect the Spark DD sites, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said.
Rendezvous 2, on lease AA-081781, is four miles directly west of Spark DD 9. It was drilled and suspended in the winter of 2003.
Permitting Cassin, Stony HillConoco is also permitting two other NE NPR-A wells as part of its 2007-12 NPR-A drilling program. One well is at Cassin and the other at a newly named prospect, Stony Hill. But the company does not expect to drill either of those wells in the current winter exploration season.
Cassin is southeast of Teshekpuk Lake between the Trailblazer and Scout prospects.
The Stony Hill 1 well site in lease AA-081775 was staked in August, and is about eight miles southwest of Nuiqsut. The plan of exploration Conoco filed with BLM in November said more wells would likely be drilled at Stony Hill within the next five years, depending on the results of the first well.
Primary access to all of the well sites will be by winter trail and ice roads. Staging for this year’s winter exploration season will be done using the ice road to Alpine, which is built every year to move supplies to the Colville River unit.