ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. plans to drill as many as 14 wells at the Colville River unit this year and in the first quarter of next year, according to a recent development plan.
The proposed program is mostly associated with the ongoing initial development activities at the new CD-5 pad. But the company is also considering additional development wells at existing pads targeting satellites at the central North Slope unit.
The company announced the 14-well program in its most recent plan of development, submitted to state officials in mid-March and revised in mid-April. The company asked the state to keep the details of the drilling program confidential, and the state obliged, which means the names and locations of many of the proposed wells are not public. The state often allows confidentiality for upcoming development plans on the North Slope.
The proposed 14-well development program does not include an exploration well that the company wants to drill in a proposed expansion area south of the Colville River unit.
The future of the exploration program is currently tied up in a regulatory dispute. The state rejected a request from ConocoPhillips to expand the unit, but subsequently agreed to a request from the company to reconsider that decision. ConocoPhillips has offered to drill an exploration well over the coming year or relinquish the expansion acreage.
Alpine activityThe proposed Putu No. 1 exploration well would target the Nanushuk formation, which is the same formation underlying the recent Armstrong Oil & Gas discoveries at Pikka.
The proposed 14-well development program ConocoPhillips is planning for the Colville River unit this year is largely an extension of its ongoing CD-5 pad development work.
The newest drilling pad at the unit targets the Alpine formation, which is the main oil pool at the unit. ConocoPhillips completed initial development of the Alpine participating area from the CD-1 and CD-2 pads in November 2005 and has since pursued “peripheral opportunities” at corners of the Alpine pool using wells from its satellite drilling pads.
After years of regulatory delays, and months of construction and drilling activities, ConocoPhillips brought the new CD-5 pad into production in late October 2015.
The company drilled nine wells - three producers and six injectors - from the CD-5 pad into the Alpine participating area in 2016, according to its plan of development.
Over the coming year, the company plans to drill both rotary and coiled tubing drilling wells. The rotary program includes seven multilateral wells - three producers and four injectors - into the Alpine participating area, all from the new CD-5 pad. The wells are CD5-20, CD5-17, CD5-19, CD5-9A, CD5-9C, CD5-10AB and CD5-10BC. The company already completed the CD5-18 multilateral well at the unit this January.
The company is also planning four other Alpine participating area wells: three multilateral wells from CD-5 and a re-drill of an existing well at the CD-4 pad. All four wells are currently scheduled for subsequent years, but could be moved to this year.
The coiled tubing drilling program involves adding one or more laterals to the existing CD2-39 and CD2-47 wells. Depending on the results, the company might pursue similar opportunities at the CD2-42, CD2-33B and CD1-03A wells, and other confidential wells.
At the start of 2017, the Alpine pool had 156 wells between the Alpine and Nanuq-Kuparuk participating areas, with 145 wells associated with the Alpine participating area.
The Alpine participating area produced 37,100 barrels of oil per day in 2016, up from 33,300 bpd in 2015. The company attributed the increase to a six-well fracture stimulation program at the Alpine pool. The company is currently planning a five-well fracture stimulation program at the Alpine pool this year, although “the final number could change depending on the opportunities available,” according to the company.
The Nanuq-Kuparuk participating area produced 9,600 bpd in 2016, up from 2,300 bpd in 2015. The company said the Nanuq-Kuparuk work “continues to exceed expectations.”
ConocoPhillips produced 16.3 million barrels from the two participating areas at the Alpine pool in 2016, up from 13 million barrels produced at the Alpine pool in 2015.
Since bringing the unit into production, ConocoPhillips has drilled three Alpine pool wells on a tract basis: CD1-04, CD1-17 and CD1-47. Although details are confidential, the company provided the state with potential tract wells for 2017 “if geology is present.”
SatellitesThe recently drilled CD5-18 multilateral well, the seven planned rotary wells, the four un-named wells at CD-5 and CD-4 and the two coiled tubing drilling wells total 14 wells.
But in its plan of development, ConocoPhillips also referred to “other opportunities” at the Alpine participating area and at the other Alpine satellites: Fiord, Nanuq and Qannik.
Those are the confidential listings, at the moment.
ConocoPhillips is not planning any new drilling at the Fiord-Nechelik participating area or at the Fiord-Kuparuk participating area at CD-3 over the coming year, aside from a re-drill of the existing but “collapsed” CD3-111 well. The operation was scheduled for the first quarter of this year. The project includes plans to fracture-stimulate the new well.
As of the start of 2017, the Fiord pool included 28 development wells - 23 at Fiord-Nechelik and five at Fiord-Kuparuk. The participating area produced 8,900 barrels of oil per day in 2016 - 7,800 bpd from Fiord-Nechelik and 1,100 bpd from Fiord-Kuparuk - down from 11,700 bpd in 2015. The decline came entirely from the Fiord-Nechelik.
ConocoPhillips produced 3.2 million barrels of oil from the two participating areas at the Fiord pool in 2016, down from 4.3 million barrels of oil over the course of 2015.
At the Nanuq participating area at the CD-4 pad, ConocoPhillips is considering several potential rotary wells and coiled tubing drilling sidetracks over the coming year.
The list of potential drilling candidates was kept confidential in the plan of development.
At the start of 2017, the Nanuq pool had nine wells. The participating area produced 1,500 barrels per day in 2016, down from 1,600 bpd in 2015. ConocoPhillips produced 500,000 barrels at the participating area in 2016, down from 600,000 barrels in 2015.
ConocoPhillips is also considering several potential rotary wells and coiled tubing drilling sidetracks at the Qannik participating area at CD-2 over the coming year and has also kept the list of potential drilling targets confidential in its plan of development.
At the start of 2017, the Qannik pool had nine wells. The participating area produced 1,500 barrels per day in 2016, down from 1,600 bpd in 2015. ConocoPhillips produced 600,000 barrels at the participating area in 2016, equal to the production rate in 2015.