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Vol. 11, No. 30 Week of July 23, 2006
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Discovery overlies Alpine

Qannik accumulation would be developed from CD2 pad with horizontal wells

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

More barrels are likely to be added to those already being produced from Alpine, the successful west North Slope field discovered in the early 1990s.

Field owners ConocoPhillips and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said July 14 that a discovery overlying the Alpine oil field has been production tested.

The Qannik accumulation was tested for 19 days in June in the CD2-404 well. Average production was 1,200 barrels per day of 30-degree API gravity oil from a 25-foot thick sandstone at 4,000 feet subsea. The Alpine accumulation, at 40 degrees API gravity, is a lighter oil.

Qannik would be the third satellite field to be developed near Alpine ó all within the Colville River unit. Fiord and Nanuq, respectively to the north and south of Alpine, are currently being drilled with first production scheduled this year.

Erec Isaacson, who took over from Rick Mott as ConocoPhillips Alaskaís vice president of exploration and land earlier in July, told Petroleum News that the company had basically been drilling through Qannik to reach the Alpine accumulation, which is at about 7,000 feet subsea. They had seen the accumulation on logs, he said, and used exploration dollars to go in and put in a well to test it.

Qannik, the name given to the accumulation, means snowflake, Isaacson said.

Nine to 12 well development possible

The companies said plans to further delineate and develop Qannik are under way.

Isaacson said test results will be integrated with seismic data in further evaluating development. The companies said the current plan is to develop Qannik from the Alpine CD2 drill site and Isaacson said it would be a small pad extension, but the size isnít known yet. A nine to 12 horizontal well development is possible, he said.

Isaacson said a development decision would probably happen by 2007. The companies said project planning would proceed through the remainder of this year.

The project still needs final approval. If that occurs the CD2 gravel pad will be extended during the 2006-07 winter, with first production expected by late 2008.

ConocoPhillips is operator of and holds a 78 percent interest in the Alpine field and its satellites, while Anadarko holds a 22 percent interest.

The Colville River unit CD2-404 exploratory well was permitted April 17 from a surface location in section 2, township 11 north, range 4 east, Umiat Meridian, to a proposed bottom-hole location in 26-12N-4E, UM;

Alpine, the field that grew

Alpine was discovered in 1994 by ConocoPhillips Alaska predecessor ARCO Alaska and production began in 2000. The field was initially expected to produce 80,000 bpd but production exceeded expectations and facilities were upgraded, starting with operational tweaking and de-bottlenecking in 2001-02. That work, including upgraded transfer pumps at Kuparuk, where Alpine buys its seawater for injection, increased facilities handling capability to 105,000 bpd.

Facilities expansions done in 2004 and 2005 upped the production capability to 140,000 bpd by increasing produced water handling capacity to 100,000 bpd, increasing seawater injection to more than 130,000 bpd and adding a small increase in gas handling capacity.

The Alpine facilities will also handle production from satellites Fiord to the north and Nanuq to the south. Facilities work on those satellites began in the winter of 2004-05 and continued this past winter; both are expected to come online in late 2006. Production from Nanuq is expected to peak at 4,000 to 11,000 bpd; that satellite, connected by road to the Alpine main facilities pad, will be developed with 16 horizontal wells, nine producers and seven injectors.

Fiord, a roadless development with drilling only in the winter, will be produced from 17 horizontal wells, six producers and six injectors in the Nechelik zone and three producers and two injectors in the Kuparuk zone. Production rates are expected to be between 10,000 and 25,000 bpd from the Nechelik, and between 4,400 and 15,700 bpd from the Kuparuk.



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