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Vol. 15, No. 46 Week of November 14, 2010
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

The Explorers 2010: Aurora Gas, LLC

Aurora Gas was formed in 2000 to pursue natural gas opportunities in the Cook Inlet basin. Within five years, the company became the operator of five fields on the west side of the Cook Inlet basin: Albert Kaloa, Lone Creek, Moquawkie, Nicolai Creek and Three Mile Creek. Since 2005, Aurora’s fortunes have shifted both for better and for worse. The company discovered gas with an exploration well at Three Mile Creek, but hit a dry hole with its next wildcat, Aspen No. 1. A joint venture with Swift Energy in 2006 led to an unsuccessful well. A legal battle with Enstar over a contract dispute led Aurora to suspend drilling operations for more than a year. Aurora resumed drilling operations in mid-2008, re-entering the Aspen dry hole, recompleting Three Mile Creek No. 2, and drilling Moquawkie No. 4, which experienced a blowout that the company got under control in less than 24 hours. In 2009, Aurora drilled the Kaloa No. 3 well, a dry hole.

This year, Aurora focused on the Nicolai Creek unit, bringing the NCU No. 11 well online and planning an NCU No. 10 well. In 2011, Aurora plans to use the existing NCU No. 2 wellbore to inject up to 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas into a nearly depleted reservoir for third-party storage, and wants to eventually drill another, horizontal well into the storage sands. That plan passed legislative and regulatory hurdles this year, but Aurora is still in negotiations with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources over a storage lease. In 2010, Aurora also recompleted and tested Moquawkie No. 4, and applied to form the Cohoe unit over leases southwest of Soldotna, promising to shoot 3-D seismic and re-enter the Cohoe No. 1 well in order to keep several leases from expiring.

Aurora produced some 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas in Alaska in 2007. The company currently leases more than 25,000 acres of state land across the Cook Inlet basin.

Current exploration focus:

Cook Inlet: Aurora is developing the Nicolai Creek unit on the west side of Cook Inlet, where it also plans to start third-party storage. The company is also minding existing wells across its acreage, including the Moquawkie unit and the proposed Cohoe unit.



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