The dispute over the Placer unit, between the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas and ASRC Exploration, has been resolved, DNR Commissioner Corri Feige told Petroleum News Feb. 10.
The Placer unit had been terminated by the division in July.
Feige said AEX came forward with a new plan of development and the division approved it, adding, "there is a performance attached to it and they updated their timelines."
AEX is working very closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get an environmental assessment done, and the company is working on ground studies this winter she said.
"If memory serves, first production by late 2022, taking it though Brooks Range (Mustang) facilities," Feige said. "So yes, they are back on track and moving forward."
In mid-December AEX applied for a permit with the Corps of Engineers for work in waters of the United States, specifically involving the Miluveach River, with the possible result of connecting Placer to the nearby Mustang field.
According to AEX's filings with the division: The Placer unit cannot support its own standalone processing facility and is 100% owned by AEX, whereas most North Slope oil fields are explored and developed with partners that help shoulder the costs and risks.
AEX President Teresa Imm told Petroleum News in a May 28 interview that the company is open to selling all or part of the field.
It's possible a transaction has taken place, which could account for revived activity on the project, but the company has not announced whether it has made a deal or not.
The 8,768-acre unit could have 110 million barrels of original oil in place, with between 35 million and 45 million barrels of oil recoverable across all horizons, according to an offering by Detring Energy Advisors of Houston, Texas.
According to Detring, the Placer unit offsets multiple prolific oil fields and includes a development-ready project with the Kuparuk C reservoir and the potential for additional stacked pays in the Alpine and Nanushuk intervals.
Placer is a neighbor of ConocoPhillips' Kuparuk River oil field on the east, and it borders the Oil Search-operated Pikka unit on the west.
- STEVE SUTHERLIN
See story in Feb. 16 issue of Petroleum News, available online Friday, Feb. 14, at www.PetroleumNews.com
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