Oil prices are recovering, and the big question is whether development is recovering as well. This issue of The Producers suggests that operators are slowly gaining confidence.
BP is maintaining and occasionally increasing oil production at the Prudhoe Bay unit while reducing drilling. ConocoPhillips is doing something similar in older areas of the Kuparuk River unit while confidently expanding its development activities at the Colville River unit and the Greater Mooses Tooth unit (and inching into the Bear Tooth unit).
Eni ended its drilling suspension at the Nikaitchuq unit with an ambitious exploration well to the north, while Caelus maintained its drilling suspension at the Oooguruk unit.
ExxonMobil is working to overcome the technical challenges hampering production at the Point Thomson unit, while Brooks Range Petroleum is working to overcome the longstanding hurdles that have delayed production at the Southern Miluveach unit.
Hilcorp is increasing its investment on the North Slope, particularly with a new pad at the Milne Point unit and momentum building for its Liberty project with BP. In Cook Inlet, the company appears to have entered a less aggressive phase of its reinvestment.
The only other operator with assets both on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet, Glacier, found success with a well at the Badami unit and continues to take a measured approach in the Cook Inlet region at West McArthur River, Redoubt and North Fork.
Amaroq tackled several maintenance projects at the Nicolai Creek unit. AIX Energy continues to find ways to defer similar expensive investments at the Kenai Loop field.
With three wells online and a fourth coming, Furie is approaching a turning point at the Kitchen Lights unit and will have to decide how to proceed. BlueCrest found success at the Cosmopolitan unit with a new well design that it intends to replicate in the future.
And as always, the North Slope Borough chugged along as the most consistent operator in Alaska, continuing to produce from its three gas fields for the benefit of its citizens.
- ERIC LIDJI