Expecting (or at least hoping for) an improved economic climate, Eni Petroleum plans to resume drilling activities at the nearshore Nikaitchuq unit in the first quarter of 2017.
The local subsidiary of the Italian major suspended activities at its North Slope unit and reduced its Alaska workforce by 10 percent in 2015 “due to the current oil price environment,” but expects to restart activities next year “with hopes of a more favorable oil prices environment,” the company told state officials in a recent plan of development.
As envisioned, the 2017 program would include six wells from the Spy Island drill site: one producer (SP03-FN9), two injectors (SI02-SE5 and SI06-FN8) and four laterals (SP33-W3L1, SP30-W1L1, SP16- FN3L1 and SP27-N1L1) added to existing wells. A future phase of the project could convert as many as eight more wells to multilaterals.
For the remainder of this year, Eni is planning a 36-hour summer turnaround at its processing facilities and limited rig workover activity at two water wells at the Oliktok Point pad using Nabors Rig 245, which has been cold stacked since October 2015.
The company is also studying the feasibility of working over the existing OP19-T1N well to test a new completion technique into the N sand of the Schrader Bluff formation. To date, all development at the unit had occurred from the Schrader Bluff OA sands.
Earlier this year, Eni completed a 203-bed camp at the Nikaitchuq Operating Center to replace an original camp that had been destroyed during a fire in December 2014.
The Nikaitchuq unit produced some 22 million barrels through November 2015 and oil production is currently in the range of 25,000 barrels per day, according to the company.
The global downturn in oil prices came just after Eni completed an initial drilling campaign at Nikaitchuq and was venturing into an expansion and delineation program.
The company completed its initial program of Oliktok Point pad development wells in October 2012 and began a continuous drilling program from the Spy Island drill site in November 2012 using Doyon rig 15. The Spy Island program continued until the company suspended drilling operations in December 2015, due to low oil prices.
Starting in mid-2013, Eni began adding laterals to existing wells. The campaign lasted through May 2014 and added eight laterals to select existing Oliktok Point pad wells. The laterals increased the amount of drainage from the OA sands and included “alternating undulations through the OA1 and OA3 sand layers as compared to the original laterals.”
In early 2013, Eni drilled the first multilateral well at Nikaitchuq. The SP22-FN1 from the Spy Island drill site had four laterals with lengths between 1,600 and 2,000 feet.
Starting in the third quarter of 2013, Eni began incorporating a second lateral into all new production wells being drilled from the Spy Island drill site, which yielded five dual lateral wells by the time the company suspended drilling operations at the end of 2015.
In the third quarter of 2014, Eni launched the West Extension Project to target a specific area west of the Spy Island drill site. The company drilled two dual lateral producers and two single lateral injectors before completing the extension project in 2015. The company launched the East Extension Project in the third quarter of 2015, but only completed one dual lateral producer before suspending development activities a few months later.
Now, Eni plans to resume regular development drilling in addition to resuming the East Extension Project from the Spy Island drill site in 2017 with Doyon rig 15. When the company completes the work in its initial development plan for Spy Island in early 2017, it plans to begin a second phase to convert eight existing single wells into multilaterals.
Eni is also considering a Nikaitchuq North project, although the evaluation is currently in the data collection phase and could be far from any decision to sanction development.