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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: Pioneer Natural Resources

Pioneer Natural Resources earned its name in 2008 by bringing the Oooguruk unit into production and becoming the first independent producer on the North Slope. The Texas-based company arrived in Alaska in 2000, promising a quicker schedule for bringing oil exploration prospects into sustained production. Pioneer bought a majority stake in the Northwest Kuparuk prospect — the offshore leases that eventually became Oooguruk — and quickly racked up other leases across the state, but after unpromising drilling efforts, the company decided to shift its focus away from exploration in favor of production.

After dropping significant acreage over the years, Pioneer currently leases some 66,000 net acres divided between the North Slope and Cook Inlet. The company continues to increase production rates at Oooguruk and in 2011 plans to continue development drilling into three reservoirs at the unit, the Nuiqsut, Kuparuk and the new Moraine horizons. Pioneer is also looking at Cosmopolitan, a Cook Inlet oil prospect that the state describes as having “substantial” gas potential. A sidetrack in late 2007 tested at 400 to 500 barrels per day of oil, but the company postponed further drilling plans when commodity prices dropped at the end of 2008. The company is now deciding whether to sanction development of the prospect.

Pioneer produced some 6,750 barrels of oil per day in 2010.

Current exploration focus:

Northern Alaska: Currently, Pioneer Natural Resources is not exploring on the North Slope, but continues to expand development drilling at the offshore Oooguruk field.

Cook Inlet: Pioneer is evaluating the Cosmopolitan oil and natural gas prospect.



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