September 22, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 91September 2003

ANWR makes it into draft federal energy bill

The leaders of a conference committee crafting a national energy bill said Sept. 22 that they have included a section in the bill that would allow oil and gas drilling in a 2,000 acre portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The language proposed by conference leaders Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., “is almost identical to the ANWR bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year,” Arctic Power consultant Roger Herrera told Petroleum News Sept. 22.

Evergreen more than quadruples acreage in Mat-Su

Evergreen Resources said Sept. 22 that it has acquired an additional 230,000 acres of “prospective unconventional gas properties” in the Matanuska-Susitna valleys, bringing the Denver-based company’s total leased acreage in Southcentral Alaska to more than 300,000 acres.

Evergreen said in a press release that the new properties — state shallow gas leases — were acquired through “several separate transactions.” One of the largest transactions was with Ted Williams of Montana, John Kelso, Evergreen’s director of investor relations, told Petroleum News.

A portion of the new acreage is included in the company’s Pioneer unit 35 miles north of Anchorage, in which Evergreen now owns approximately 75,000 acres, up from 58,000 acres less than two months ago.

The majority of the new acreage is located immediately to the northwest of the Pioneer unit, extending about 25 miles up the Susitna River Valley.

Evergreen drilled eight coalbed methane wells in the Pioneer unit in late 2002 and is testing five of them. The company said it plans to drill five stratigraphic test wells on various parts of its acreage “to obtain additional petrophysical data, including information on coal quality and gas content.”

Based on the results of those test wells, Evergreen said it “will determine potential locations in 2004 for additional stratigraphic test wells or multi-well pilots.

“The expansion of our leased acreage base demonstrates our commitment to making shallow gas production a reality in Southcentral Alaska,” Evergreen President and CEO Mark S. Sexton said.

State officials head to Raton basin; will share trip results with public

Four state of Alaska officials left the morning of Sept. 22 for a three-day tour of shallow gas operations in Colorado and Wyoming, an Alaska Division of Oil and Gas official told Petroleum News.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin, Division of Oil and Gas Director Mark Myers, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Commissioner Randy Ruedrich and Pat Galvin, who heads up the permitting within the Division of Oil and Gas, will first visit Evergreen Resources’ operations in the Raton Basin in Colorado.

From there they will meet with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management personnel, who issue permits in the basin, and officials with AOGCC’s counterpart.

The Alaska officials will also meet with a Wyoming environmental group who opposes coalbed methane development.

On Oct. 13 the state will host a public informational meeting in Wasilla at the Middle School gym at 6:30 p.m. Irwin, Myers, Ruedrich and Galvin will be at that meeting to share what they learned from their trip.

Editor’s note: See full stories in the Sept. 28 issue of Petroleum News.

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