Vol. 26, No.29 Week of July 18, 2021
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Alaska DNR posts new North Slope, Cook Inlet activity maps

Click here to go to the full PDF version of this issue, with any maps, photos or other artwork that appears in some of the articles.

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

The latest North Slope and Cook Inlet oil and gas activity maps were recently posted on the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas website (see North Slope map in pdf and print versions of this story).

The last time the division released activity maps for the North Slope and the Cook Inlet basin was in December 2020.

Both the July 2021 maps are very detailed, including such things as unit boundaries, prospects, 2019-21 exploration wells, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, and some geographical elements.

Per the map, active oil companies on the North Slope include 88 Energy, ConocoPhillips, Hilcorp, Oil Search, Pantheon and Savant, a Glacier Oil and Gas company.

Some of the map’s highlights:

* 88 Energy drilled the Merlin 1 exploration well this past winter in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Although not fully tested, indications are that the liquids present are “likely to be oil rather than condensate,” the North Slope map said.

* Hilcorp submitted a proposed 2021 Milne Point unit Plan of Development Amendment that added five wells on S pad, three of which will be producers.

* Oil Search is pursuing Pikka Phase 1 development and a series of other development opportunities.

* In January 2021, Pantheon Resources’ Talitha A well was spud. Well operations were suspended for future testing.

ConocoPhillips slowly gaining

Of 21 wells planned for the Colville River Unit in 2020, which would have been drilled by multiple rigs including the new giant extended reach drilling rig Doyon 26, only six wells were drilled prior to the company’s suspension of all drilling operations in April 2020.

While drilling operations resumed in December 2020, only up to seven wells are planned at CRU during 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, ConocoPhillips said per a March 28 PN report.

PN also reported that ConocoPhillips delayed its decision to restart drilling activity pending the results of the Nov. 3 ballot initiative to increase oil production taxes in the state. Following the defeat of the ballot measure, and the stabilization of oil prices around $40 per barrel, ConocoPhillips announced plans to resume drilling before the end of 2020.

Their announcement covered a range of development and maintenance projects at the Kuparuk River unit, the Colville River unit and the Greater Mooses Tooth unit. But it did not include any exploration drilling for the 2020-21 season, making this year one of only a handful of exploration seasons over the past 20 years without ConocoPhillips.

The division’s North Slope map said the company spud the first development well at Greater Mooses Tooth 2 on April 27, 2021. First production and injection are expected in fourth quarter.

The map also noted that GMT2’s development plan includes 36 initial wells, 18 producers and 18 injectors, with a potential for 12 additional wells for extended reach drilling targets.

The map did not mention any other 2021 activities by ConocoPhillips, but PN recently ran two updates on the company’s plans in Alaska:

* July 4: Advancing Alaska.

* July 11: Oil patch insider: Coyote may be another Nanushuk find.

Cook Inlet basin activity

In addition to new players in the Cook Inlet basin and early-stage/potential geothermal and tidal energy projects, oil and gas producer and explorer Hilcorp continues to be active.

Among other things, the division approved a 2021 plan of development for Hilcorp’s North Cook Inlet unit.

According to the division’s inlet map, the company plans to utilize the Spartan 151 jack-up or a similar unit for supplemental development drilling by cantilevering it over the existing Tyonek production platform.

Hilcorp received permission to replace an approximately 4,100-foot section of 8-inch sub-sea oil pipeline connecting the Monopod Platform to the Trading Bay Production Facility. The section will be abandoned in place after appropriate cleaning activities.

The division also approved Hilcorp’s lease plan of operations to enter the exploration phase of the Whiskey Gulch project, including construction of a gravel pad and drilling two wells. The prospect is some 3 miles northeast of the community of Anchor Point and north of Hilcorp’s Seaview unit, which lies west and south of Anchor Point.

In January, the map said, Hilcorp submitted a permit application with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to do a Lower Cook Inlet geohazards survey over four federal lease blocks. Per a March 7 PN article, the lease blocks lie about halfway across the inlet, to the west of Kachemak Bay. Hilcorp had previously indicated that it anticipates drilling two to four exploratory wells in the Lower Cook Inlet. Federal regulations require a geohazard evaluation to be conducted over the entire area within about 1.5 miles of a planned offshore well site, before the start of drilling. The proposed survey would be approximately 35 miles west of the Homer Airport.


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