March 01, 2011 --- Vol. 17, No. 17March 2011

Marathon anticipating reduced drilling

Marathon Oil is reducing its drilling plans for Alaska.

The Houston-based major plans to drill between one and three wells per year in Alaska in 2011 and 2012, according to year-end financial filings released on Feb. 28.

In presentations made as recently as last September, Marathon said it planned to drill between two and six wells per year in the state between 2010 and 2012. After drilling nine wells in 2008 and six wells in 2009, Marathon drilled only three wells in 2010.

One of those 2010 wells, though, was an exploration well at the Sunrise prospect on Cook Inlet Region Inc. leases inside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Marathon said that it “encountered a zone of interest” with the well, but did not release further details.

ANS production bounces back from January

Alaska North Slope production averaged 634,684 barrels per day in February after a precipitous 30.36 percent December-to-January drop caused by two shutdowns of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. February volumes were up 34.56 percent from a January average of 471,666 bpd.

The Prudhoe Bay field, operated by BP Exploration (Alaska), averaged 327,924 bpd in February, up 40.58 percent from a January average of 233,259 bpd.

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Kuparuk River field averaged 132,814 bpd in February, up 30.21 percent from a January average of 101,999 bpd. Oooguruk, a Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska-operated field, produces through Kuparuk. Oooguruk averaged 7,009 bpd in January, the most recent date for which figures on its production are available from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The ConocoPhillips-operated Alpine field, third largest on the North Slope, averaged 82,641 bpd in February, up 17.46 percent from a January average of 70,358 bpd.

BP-operated Lisburne, part of greater Prudhoe Bay, averaged 33,672 bpd in February, up 41.34 percent from a January average of 23,824 bpd. The BP-operated Milne Point field averaged 25,489 bpd in February, up 41.61 percent from a January average of 17,999 bpd.

The BP-operated Northstar field averaged 18,124 bpd in February, up 31.85 percent from a January average of 13,746 bpd. And the BP-operated Endicott field averaged 14,020 bpd in February, up 33.77 percent from a January average of 10,481 bpd.

Eni brought Nikaitchuq online in late January; Petroleum News has asked the Department of Revenue about February production for the field, which is not yet included on Revenue’s production summary.

See stories in March 6 issue, available online by 11 a.m. Friday, March 4, at

Petroleum News - Phone: 1-907 522-9469 - Fax: 1-907 522-9583
[email protected] ---