Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska has begun drilling its offshore Cosmopolitan appraisal well from private land on a bluff overlooking Cook Inlet, about a quarter mile from Stariski Creek off the southwest coast of the Kenai Peninsula. Company spokesman Tadd Owens told Petroleum News that the oil well, sidetrack Hansen 1A L1, was spud Sunday, Sept. 9, with Rowan Rig 68.
Owens said Pioneer expects drilling to last 60 to 70 days with an equivalent amount of time for testing.
“The gross recoverable resource potential is 30 to 50 million barrels of oil,” he said. If the well is successful Pioneer is looking at 12 more horizontal directional wells for development.
Former Cosmopolitan unit operator ConocoPhillips Alaska drilled a long-reach well and sidetrack, the Hansen No. 1 and Hansen No. 1A, from the onshore site in 2003, but since that time Pioneer has bought out all the working interest owners, including ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy and Forest Oil, taking over as operator of the unit, Owens said. ConocoPhillips retained a small royalty share, he said.
The 25,000-acre state/federal unit is approximately two miles offshore. The onshore pad is six miles north of Anchor Point and one-half mile west of the Sterling Highway.
Cosmopolitan’s oil accumulation was discovered by Pennzoil in 1967 in the 12,112-foot vertical, Starichkof State No. 1, drilled offshore with a jack-up rig. The company recovered 30 barrels of 20 degree API gravity oil from a drill stem test at about 6,900 feet and 21 barrels from a drill stem test at about 6,800 feet. Pennzoil reported encountering the top of the Hemlock formation at 6,745 feet. A second well, also drilled in 1967, found some gas at 4,000 feet but water in the Hemlock formation at 7,355 feet some two miles from the first well.
In mid-2005 Tim Dove, Pioneer’s president and chief operating officer at the time, said the 2003 Hansen well and sidetrack “tested at a stabilized rate of 600 to 800 barrels a day over different intervals that lasted for three to four months.” In the third unit plan of exploration approved by Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas in 2006, Pioneer was required to drill a new well or a sidetrack well to a minimum true vertical depth of 6,000 feet, with drilling to commence by Nov. 14, 2007. The well was to penetrate the Lower Tyonek sand-prone interval found in the Starichkof State No. 1 well.
Jack-up not neededOnly onshore drilling is being considered at this time, Owens said when asked if Pioneer was talking to the three companies looking at bringing a jack-up rig into Cook Inlet — Escopeta Oil, Renaissance Alaska and Pacific Energy.
Pioneer’s tentative development schedule calls for permitting in 2008, facility construction in 2008-09 and development drilling in 2009-10. If all goes well, the Texas independent is hoping for first production in 2010, he said, emphasizing development had not yet been sanctioned by Pioneer and that approval was contingent on further appraisal of the prospect.
Pioneer is looking at both trucking and pipeline options for Cosmopolitan oil. Initially it will be trucking oil 75 miles to the Tesoro refinery, but if economics allow, the company will likely build a pipeline to the refinery, Owens said.