Colville POD approved
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ConocoPhillips 2022 CRU plan of development runs through May 15, 2023
On June 8 Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas issued approval of ConocoPhillips Alaska’s 2022 amended plan of development for the Colville River unit.
The company plans to drill two wells within the unit during the 2022 POD period, which is also called the 24th POD.
One well will target the Narwhal Participating Area, and another will be a waste disposal well drilled from the CD1 pad.
Additional wells might be drilled, but because of the challenges encountered drilling recent wells (particularly the Fiord West Kuparuk CD2-310 extended reach well), a pause in drilling will take place to identify solutions to these challenges, the approval letter said.
Planning for development of a new drill site called CD8 will continue during 2022. This new drill site will develop the Narwhal reservoir in the Fifth Expansion area of the Colville River unit (see map in pdf and print versions of this story).
The Narwhal is a Nanushuk play (also known as Putu, Titania or Tofkat) south of the Alpine field. ConocoPhillips announced a discovery there of between 100 million and 350 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The 2022 POD period would normally have ended in January 2023, but because the POD was amended, the period now runs through May 15, 2023.
The June 8 approval is only for a general plan of development. Specific field operations require separate approval under 11 AAC 83.346, Unit Plan of Operations. Under 11 AAC 83.343, the 2023 POD is due Feb. 15, 2023, 90 days before the 2022 POD expires.
Unit backgroundThe Colville River unit was formed in 1998 and included 37 leases consisting of state, Arctic Slope Regional Corp., and joint state and ASRC lands.
The Colville River unit, which is west of the central North Slope, has been expanded nine times since 1998, and now covers more than 134,000 acres of state, ASRC, joint and federal lands.
The unit currently covers seven participating areas and eight distinct oil reservoirs.
Production from the Colville River unit averaged 45,990 barrels of oil per day during the 2020 calendar year and declined to an average 40,990 barrels of oil per day during the 2021 calendar year, representing an 11% year-on-year decline, the division said in its June 8 decision, which was signed by Derek Nottingham, director of the agency.
The company planned to drill up to seven wells within the Colville River unit during the 2021 POD period. However, three wells were drilled and two additional wells were in progress when the 2022 POD was submitted.
When the 23rd POD was submitted on March 16, 2021, ConocoPhillips said as many as four Fiord West Kuparuk wells might be drilled during the 2021-Q1 2022 POD period, but only one of those wells were drilled.
Difficulty in drilling the first Fiord West Kuparuk well delayed drilling additional wells in the prospect, which is in the Alpine field of the Colville River unit.
But that first well exceeded ConocoPhillips’ expectation, peaking on May 25 during testing at 12,000 barrels of oil per day and leveling out at 11,500 bpd.
In late May the company said the CD2-310 well will be “pre-produced for 5-6 months prior to being converted to permanent injection service.” The well’s total measured depth was 35,526 feet, making it the longest North American land based well.
A gas escape during the drilling of WD-03 on CD1 also delayed ConocoPhillips’ drilling additional wells. (A full report detailing the gas escape was submitted to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on May 3 and can be found on the commission’s website.)