Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska Inc. wants more room at its Oooguruk unit.
The independent is proposing to significantly expand both its offshore and onshore operations to improve seawater-delivery and to accommodate Nuna drill site facilities.
The company is asking the Department of Natural Resources for permission to add 4.15 acres to its six-acre offshore island and 1.4 acres to its onshore tie-in pad at Oliktok Point, and to build a 5.2-mile seawater flowline connecting the island to a new tie-in pad to be located some two miles north of Central Processing Facility 3 at the Kuparuk River Unit.
The construction would run through October 2015.
The Oooguruk drill site expansion would accommodate additional wells to increase oil production and improve logistics for the helicopters required to serve the offshore unit.
The expansion of the existing tie-in pad would accommodate facilities for a Nuna drill site, the onshore facility Pioneer is proposing to give it better access to the southern reaches of the Torok formation, the shallowest oil pool at the Oooguruk field.
The seawater delivery system would allow Pioneer to improve its water sourcing for drilling operations. The company currently sources seawater through a third party, making it vulnerable to shortages that can cause lower production rates from the field.
The Department of Natural Resources is taking comments through Sept. 20.
The expansion would allow Pioneer to both grow its operations and add to them.
Because of the way the gravel settles to provide a foundation, the offshore expansion would add 4.15 acres to the base of the island, but only 3.5 acres to the working area.
As Pioneer did when it built the island in 2007, the company plans to move the gravel to location by winter ice roads. By installing drains on the seabed prior to construction, Pioneer will be able to eliminate the traditional “settling” period required for the gravel.
The expansion would accommodate 12 additional well slots in two rows of six.
The renovation is also designed to accommodate a new helicopter sling loading operation on the northwest side of the island, near an existing gravel loading ramp for barges.
By placing the facilities for the Nuna drill site at the existing tie-in pad, Pioneer would be able to maximize its existing infrastructure and avoid some duplication. The expansion would include a short 12-inch three-phase flowline from the tie-in pad to Kuparuk River Unit Drill Site 3H, where production from Nuna would join Oooguruk production.
The seawater flowline and the new tie-in pad would serve both drill sites.
To accommodate both the existing Oooguruk drill site and the proposed Nuna drill site, the proposed seawater flowline would be larger and more reliable than the existing flowline, according to Pioneer. The new flowline would connect to an existing ConocoPhillips 30-inch supply header coming from the Seawater Treatment Plant.
Pioneer wants to decommission its existing flowline, but leave it in place.
Pioneer said it considered two alternative routes for the proposed pipelines, but found the alternatives to be costlier without any offsetting environmental or safety benefits.