April 25, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 43April 2003

TotalFinaElf meets with agencies about 2004 NPR-A drilling

Representatives from TotalFinaElf E&P USA’s Anchorage office met with state and federal agency staff yesterday about the company’s plans to drill its first well in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska next winter.

In paperwork prepared for the pre-permit application conference by Bob Gardiner of Fairweather E&P Services, TotalFinaElf said it has begun the process of permitting five or six well locations in two of its four NPR-A lease blocks but will drill just one well next winter, the first in a multi-year NPR-A drilling program.

The well will be drilled in either the Caribou East or Caribou West prospects from an ice exploration pad. (Caribou East is in the vicinity of Township 9N-Range 5W, Umiat Meridian; T10N-R5W, UM; and T11N-R6W, UM and Caribou West is in the vicinity of T9N-R7W, UM and T10N-R7W, UM.) The company said a “rolligon transportable Arctic class land drilling rig” will be used, although a specific rig has not yet been chosen.

Drilling operations will be supported by both rolligon and aircraft, possibly using the 5,000 foot gravel airstrip at Inigok, which is located between TotalFinaElf’s Caribou East and Fox prospects.

Under the company’s present plan, fuel will be flown in from Deadhorse “either to a purpose built ice strip close to the drilling location or to a fuel depot which would be installed at Inigok.”

Editor’s note: See full story in the May 4 edition of Petroleum News.

Agrium plans to lay off 65 employees over next several months

As part of an effort to improve the efficiency and global competitiveness of its Kenai fertilizer plant, Agrium said today it will lay off approximately 65 employees over the next several months. This represents 22 percent of the company’s 269 Kenai employees.

The reductions come as a result of an “extensive analysis” that began late last year, the company said in a statement.

The layoffs, which Agrium blames in part due to its “current gas supply issues with Unocal,” are expected to begin in mid-May.

Editor’s note: See full story in the May 4 edition of Petroleum News.

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