The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recently approved the first two drilling permits for the 2008-09 winter exploration season in northern Alaska.
On Dec. 9, AOGCC approved a permit for Chevron, through its subsidiary Unocal, to drill the Muskoxen 36-7-8 exploration well in the White Hills prospect on the central North Slope south of the Kuparuk River unit. The well will be on lease ADL 390941, some 30 miles due west of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
Chevron drilled three wells at White Hills this past winter, and recently began permitting four new well locations. The company permitted Muskoxen 36-7-8 several years ago.
The proposed Muskoxen 36-7-8 well sits about six miles northwest of the Panthera 28-6-9 well Chevron drilled this past winter near the northern end of the prospect. Chevron drilled Panthera using Nabors rig 106E, which the company also plans to use this winter.
Chevron has said it is looking for both oil and gas at White Hills. The company is planning several “relatively shallow” wells, which could signify a natural gas target.
“This is probably mostly gas, but it is an area where they could also find oil,” Marty Rutherford, deputy commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, said at the “Energy in Alaska” conference hosted by Law Seminars International in Anchorage.
Chevron is partnering on the exploration program with the French oil company Total.
Anadarko in the foothillsOn Dec. 16, AOGCC approved a permit for Anadarko to drill the Wolf Creek No. 4 exploration well about 30 miles west of Umiat in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
The well will be on federal lease AA-86604 in the northwest planning area of the reserve.
Anadarko previously told Petroleum News it plans to use the Doyon Arctic Fox rig to drill Wolf Creek No. 4 to a depth of some 4,000 feet to test the Nanushuk formation.
The company is still waiting for a drilling permit from the Bureau of Land Management.
Anadarko plans to drill two exploration wells this winter and finish a third started this past winter to continue and broaden its search for natural gas in the foothills of the Brooks Range. The company is partnering on the program with Petro-Canada and BG.
Petroleum News is projecting that as many as seven companies could drill up to 15 exploration wells in northern Alaska this winter, roughly similar to last winter.
As of Dec. 29, seasonal travel restrictions remained in effect on some state lands in northern Alaska, but had been lifted on federal lands in NPR-A. The state lifted off-road travel restrictions Dec. 29 for both eastern and western coastal areas.