BP plans to temporarily restart a pipeline at the Badami unit in the near future, an early step in bringing the dormant eastern North Slope oil field back into regular operation.
BP is bringing the Badami Gas and Products Pipeline online soon to make a one-time shipment of some 15 million cubic feet of natural gas from the nearby Endicott field, according to filings made with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on June 14.
Steve Rinehart, a spokesman for BP Exploration (Alaska), said the gas would be used to help with pigging operations on the Badami Oil Pipeline and as fuel for restarting the Badami facilities.
BP doesn’t plan to restart the main Badami Oil Pipeline, or the Badami plant needed for operation of the unit, until late summer or early fall, the company said in the RCA filing.
Once Badami is restarted, it can run on gas produced at from own wells. At that point, the Gas and Products Pipeline won’t ship gas, but will remain available for backup.
The company shut down Badami in August 2007, the most recent attempt to recharge reservoir pressure and subsequently improve production rates by leaving the field fallow a while. Nearly two years ago, the independent Savant Alaska began partnering with BP to bring the field back online and has since drilled at Badami in the past two winters.
In February, Savant said it planned to restart the Badami plants by September 2010 and plans to resume production from some existing wells at the unit, and test the two wells it drilled itself: the B1-38 (Red Wolf) exploration well and the B1-18 sidetrack well.
Upon restart, BP anticipates some five or six producing wells at Badami.
Badami sits along the coast of Mikkelsen Bay, east of the Prudhoe Bay unit.
Badami: always a struggleThis recent effort is the biggest push to bring Badami back into regular operation.
The field contains complex geologic features that make production less than straightforward. The turbidite formation at Badami is a series of channels, like fingers on a hand, and the trick is getting hydrocarbon to move from one channel to the next.
BP brought the field online in 1998, making it the farthest east unit on the North Slope in operation. Facing low initial production rates, BP suspended production for several months in early 1999 to keep the pipes from freezing under the combination of low oil temperatures as a result of low throughput and the extreme cold of the Arctic winter.
BP shut down the pipelines again in 2000 and 2003. At the time, BP said the 2003 shutdown was because low production rates were not offsetting the operating costs.
The company brought the field back online in 2005, hoping to use new drilling techniques to improve production rates, but took the field offline in September 2007, after nearly two years of continuous production, to increase reservoir pressure.
The Savant approach combines exploration with a new attempt at existing reservoirs.