Doyon Ltd, the Fairbanks-based Native regional corporation for Interior Alaska, has announced that it is sponsoring some new oil and gas exploration in the Yukon Flats this winter. Starting on Jan. 28 CGGVeritas will gather about 95 miles of 2-D seismic data in a 200,000-acre block of Native land owned by Doyon and by Dinyee, the village corporation for Stevens Village, one of the Yukon Flats communities, Doyon said today. The target area is within 15 to 30 miles of the trans-Alaska pipeline, Doyon said.
Arctic Contracting LLC, a venture jointly owned by Dinyee and Titheet’ Aii Inc., the village corporation for Birch Creek, another Yukon Flats community, will provide support services. Doyon Universal Services and Taiga Ventures will provide additional services.
The Yukon Flats, a 15,000-square-mile lowland area around the Yukon River between the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the Canadian border, lies over a substantial geologic basin with oil and gas potential. For several years Doyon has been interested in the possibility of oil and gas exploration in the area, to provide work and income for Yukon Flats residents, as well as new income for Doyon.
A substantial part of the area lies within the boundary of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge and until last year Doyon had been trying to negotiate a land swap with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the administrator of the refuge, to consolidate some of the more prospective parts of the Yukon Flats basin into Doyon ownership. That deal eventually came to naught, amid controversy among local communities regarding the desirability of oil and gas development in the region and objections by environmental groups.
However, recent geologic research has encouraged Doyon to view some of its existing lands in the Yukon Flats as more prospective than was earlier thought, and the corporation had indicated its intention to proceed with exploration, whether or not the land swap took place.
See story in Jan. 31 issue, available online at noon, Friday, Jan. 29 at www.PetroleumNews.com