October 03, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 46October 1999

State approves Northstar pipelines rights-of-way

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has issued the right-of-way agreements for the pipelines required for development of BP Amoco’s Northstar field on the North Slope.

The agreements, issued Oct. 1, approve the design and routing of the pipeline which will transport Northstar oil ashore to the trans-Alaska pipeline system and deliver natural gas from the Prudhoe Bay central gas compression facility to the Northstar production facility.

“The agreement moves us a step closer to developing a sizable new oil field on Alaska’s North Slope,” said Richard Campbell, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. “It’s an exciting day, both for industry and the state of Alaska.”

Located about six miles offshore near Prudhoe Bay, the Northstar oil field ranks as the sixth largest among 11 North Slope producing oil fields. First production of 65,000 barrels per day is expected in 2001.

BP Exploration (Alaska) said construction of the project will accelerate this winter and will involve about 700 Alaska workers. Construction includes expanding a natural island, installing production facilities, building onshore and offshore pipelines and shore-based facilities. Northstar module construction in Anchorage began earlier this year, with a work force expected to peak at 300 next year.

Over its life, BP said, Northstar is expected to generate about $575 million in revenues to the state of Alaska.

BP plans West Gwydyr exploration

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. is planning a winter exploration well in the west Gwydyr Bay area north of the Prudhoe Bay field. In a plan of operations submitted to the state in September, BP said it formed a partnership with ARCO Alaska Inc. and Exxon in 1995 to explore the Gwydyr area, where a number of wells have been drilled beginning in 1969. No fields large enough or close enough to infrastructure to warrant development have been found.

Pete’s Wicked #1, drilled in 1997, tested the hydrocarbon potential of the eastern Gwydyr area. The West Gwydyr #1, planned for this winter season, will explore the west Gwydyr area, BP said.

The well will be drilled some six miles north of S pad in the Prudhoe Bay unit and four miles east of K pad in the Milne Point unit. The surface lease, at 3-12N-12E,UM, is owned by BP, ARCO and Exxon. The site is onshore approximately 23 air miles northwest of Deadhorse and three miles from the Beaufort Sea coast. Access will be via an ice road from S pad.

BP said it will begin ice road and ice pad preparation Dec. 1, mobilize a development rig from Prudhoe Bay operations Jan. 1 and spud the well Jan. 10. Drilling and testing activity will be completed by May 1 and by mid-May or tundra closing BP will demobilize equipment.

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