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Vol. 12, No. 47 Week of November 25, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Cosmo drilling done, flow test next

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska has finished drilling a horizontal appraisal well in the 25,000-acre Cosmopolitan unit in the Cook Inlet basin.

Company President Ken Sheffield told attendees of the mid-November Resource Development Council conference in Anchorage that Pioneer was “wrapping up drilling operations” on sidetrack Hansen 1A L1 and hoped to have it “flow-tested by year end.” Spud Sept. 9 with Rowan Rig 68, the extended reach well was “drilled from shore to a target some two miles under the Cook Inlet,” the body of water that shares the name of the Southcentral Alaska basin.

Unit operator Pioneer holds 100 percent working interest in the joint state-federal Cosmopolitan unit, which is near Anchor Point on the southwest coast of the Kenai Peninsula, about one-half mile west of the Sterling Highway.

Discovered in 1967 and deemed uneconomic to date, Sheffield said the results of the most recent well would be integrated into Pioneer’s geologic and economic models for the unit to “figure out what is the next step for this opportunity.”

First well with jack-up

Pennzoil drilled the Starichkof State No. 1 discovery well in what is now called the Cosmopolitan unit. The 12,112-foot vertical well was drilled offshore with a jack-up rig.

Pennzoil recovered 30 barrels of 20 degree API gravity oil from a drill stem test at about 6,900 feet and 21 barrels from a drill stem test at about 6,800 feet. The company reported encountering the top of the Hemlock formation at 6,745 feet. A second well, also drilled in 1967, found some gas at 4,000 feet, but water in the Hemlock formation at 7,355 feet some two miles from the first well. In 2003, former Cosmopolitan unit operator ConocoPhillips drilled a long-reach well and sidetrack, the Hansen No. 1 and Hansen No. 1A, from the same onshore site Pioneer is using. Since that time Pioneer has bought out all the working interest owners, including ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy and Forest Oil, although ConocoPhillips retained a small royalty share.

In mid-2005 Pioneer executive Tim Dove said the 2003 Hansen well and sidetrack “tested at a stabilized rate of 600 to 800 barrels a day over different intervals that lasted for three to four months.”

In the third unit plan of exploration approved by Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas in 2006, Pioneer was required to drill a new well or a sidetrack well to a minimum true vertical depth of 6,000 feet, with drilling to commence by Nov. 14, 2007. The well was to penetrate the Lower Tyonek sand-prone interval found in the Starichkof State No. 1 well.

30-50 million barrels gross

Pioneer says Cosmopolitan’s “gross resource potential” is 30-50 million barrels of oil equivalent. In September, Sheffield said that if the Hansen sidetrack was successful, the company would drill 12 more horizontal directional wells for development. Pioneer’s tentative development schedule at that time called for permitting in 2008, facility construction in 2008-09 and development drilling in 2009-10. If all went well, the Texas independent was hoping for first production in 2010, he said, emphasizing development had not yet been sanctioned by Pioneer.



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