April 28, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 43April 2004

Permits filed for ANWR offshore stratigraphic test well

ASRC Energy Services E&P Technology filed permits this week for the proposed stratigraphic test well in state waters offshore the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The timing of the filing will allow drilling during the upcoming winter drilling season should a drilling consortium be formed, Alaska Oil and Gas Division geologist Jim Cowan told Petroleum News in an early April interview.

In a letter dated April 23, David Johnston, senior vice president of ASRC Energy Services, told the Alaska Department of Natural Resources that his firm expects to be the operator of the well. As per previous reports, two locations near shore in the Eastern Beaufort are still under consideration, only one of which will be drilled using the SDC drill ship. The SDC was used by EnCana in 2002 to drill the Beaufort Sea McCovey prospect west of ANWR, offshore Alaska’s North Slope.

The western well location is about 20 miles southwest of Kaktovik off Anderson Point and the eastern site is about 30 miles southeast of Kaktovik off of Angun Lagoon. The water depth in both locations is 25-30 feet.

According to the miscellaneous land use permit application, access to the drill site will be by “from snow/ice trail/roads either from the Prudhoe Bay area or from the Kaktovik area. … Air access will be either from the Prudhoe Bay or Kaktovik area using either helicopters or fixed wing (if an ice airstrip is constructed).”

Ice roads “may or may not be constructed.” If they are constructed the route will be “outside of the barrier islands.” Roads to be “on bottomfast ice to the extent possible,” said the application.

BLM offers 506 tracts in NPR-A lease sale set for June 2

The Bureau of Land Management will offer 484 tracts in the northwest National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska planning area and 22 tracts that overlap northwest NPR-A and northeast NPR-A in a spring lease sale.

Bids will be opened at 8 a.m. June 2 at the Wilda Marston Theatre in the Loussac Library in Anchorage, the agency said April 27.

This will be the first sale for the NPR-A northwest planning area under a record of decision signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in January, and the 484 northwest tracts are subject to site-specific stipulations. The 22 tracts which overlap the northwest and northeast planning areas are along the Ikpikpuk River, which is the physical boundary between the planning areas, and portions of those tracts in the northeast are subject to stipulations from the Oct. 7, 1998, record of decision for that planning area.

BLM spokesman Ed Bovy said the stipulations are designed to do the same thing, protect surface resources.

But for the northwest area, he said, BLM decided to designate the “desired end product or outcome and allow for some creative thinking to attain that result,” rather than proscribing exactly how work is to be done.

The agency learned from drilling done after the northeast lease sales, he said, and the theory in the northwest, “is to be a little more flexible and allow for development of more site-specific options to achieve the same result.”

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