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Vol. 16, No. 38 Week of September 18, 2011
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Permitting under way

Repsol presents lease plan of operations to drill 15 wells using 5 rigs this winter

Eric Lidji

For Petroleum News

Repsol YPF S.A. is planning to conduct one of the broadest single-season North Slope exploration campaigns in recent memory, according to recently filed documents.

The Spanish major plans to run five rigs this winter to drill as many as 15 wells and sidetracks from five ice pads to onshore and offshore central North Slope targets.

The five proposed drilling locations would run down the fairway between the Colville River unit to the west and the Oooguruk and Kuparuk River units to the east.

Repsol is planning a vertical well and as many as two sidetracks at each location:

• Qugruk No. 1 would be in the Colville River Delta near ARCO Kuukpik No. 3 and Gulf Colville Delta State No. 1. Repsol plans to drill the well using the Nabors rig 2ES.

• Qugruk No. 2 would be about five miles east of Qugruk No. 1. Repsol plans to drill the well using the Doyon Arctic Fox, a lightweight truckable rig that Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska Inc. first used at the NE Storm and Cronus units in 2006 and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. later used to drill two wells at its Gubik Complex in early 2009.

• Qugruk No. 3 would be about five miles south of Qugruk No. 1 and five miles west of the ConocoPhillips’ Placer wells. Repsol plans to drill the well using Nabors rig 105AC.

• Qugruk No. 4 would be an offshore well several miles off the northern coast of the Colville River unit. Repsol plans to drill the well using Nabors 106AC.

• Kachemach No. 1 would be farther south, just east of the Meltwater participating area of the Kuparuk River unit. The proposed site is some five miles southwest of the Chevron Ruby St. No. 1 well and five miles northwest of the BP Exploration (Alaska) Narvaq No. 1 well, and near several of the Union Oil Co. of California White Hills wells.

Repsol plans to drill Kachemach No. 1 using Nabors rig 9ES, the rig that Brooks Range Petroleum Corp. used earlier this year to drill North Tarn No. 1 several miles to the west.

Although it has held offshore leases for years, Repsol picked up 494,211 state acres this past March in a deal with 70 & 148 LLC, the North Slope subsidiary of Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas, and GMT Exploration Co. LLC, also based out of Denver.

Repsol acquired a 70 percent interest in 157 leases for $768 million. The vast majority of that money will be directed toward exploration, according to Petroleum News sources.

Field work under way

Repsol is already preparing for that drilling program.

The company conducted fieldwork this summer to define the route and location of the ice roads and pads it plans to build this winter and to indentify water sources for that construction. The company will begin monitoring soil temperatures along the route this month, September, using thermistor strings and pre-pack the roads in November and December.

Once temperatures permit in December and January, Repsol plans to build 30 miles of onshore ice roads and 30 miles of offshore ice roads.

In total, the company will build seven ice pads, two near Drill Sites 3S and 2P in the Kuparuk River unit for staging, and five — four onshore and one offshore — for its 15-well drilling campaign. Repsol plans to drill “at least” one vertical well and, “time permitting,” up to two sidetracks from each pad.

The staging pad near Drill Site 2P will be about 600 feet by 600 feet and used to support the southernmost drilling site; Drill Site 2P is located along existing all season roads that connect to the Dalton Highway. The pad will house a 40 to 60-man camp.

The staging pad near Drill Site 3S will be some 600 feet by 1,200 feet and used to support the four northern drilling locations. The site is also connected to existing all-season roads. The pad will house a 120-man camp. Repsol said it “may share some of the staging capabilities with another operator in the area,” but offered no further details.

The four onshore drilling pads will be about 500 feet by 500 feet, but could be expanded to 600 feet by 600 feet “if needed.” The offshore drilling pad will be larger with additional design elements to accommodate the harsh conditions of Arctic coastal waters.

The company expects to begin demobilization and clean up in April or May.



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