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Vol. 24, No.50 Week of December 15, 2019
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Hilcorp to take on exploration tasks for Doyon Ltd. in Interior

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Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Doyon Ltd. said Dec. 9 that it has signed an agreement with Hilcorp for renewed oil and gas exploration in a portion of the Yukon Flats.

Doyon said the agreement covers 1.6 million acres of Doyon owned mineral rights in the Yukon Flats subregion where Doyon has a long-term interest in oil and gas potential. There are more than 10 million acres in the greater Yukon Flats area, much under federal ownership as part of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

The agreement with Hilcorp includes an initial airborne gravity survey of the region followed by the opportunity for seismic and drilling program, with the initial focus of exploration in the Birch Creek area, Doyon said.

“Doyon has been actively exploring for oil and gas resources in our region for over a decade,” Doyon Ltd. President and CEO Aaron Schutt said in a statement. “We’ve barely scratched the surface. We are pleased to sign this agreement allowing Hilcorp to explore further and we look forward to seeing results from their activities.”

David Wilkins, senior vice president, Hilcorp Alaska, said: “Our partnership with Doyon represents great opportunity for their shareholders and the State. We have worked successfully with Doyon over the years both in the Cook Inlet and on the Slope. This agreement opens the door to continue that relationship in the Interior as well.”

Doyon is the Alaska Native regional corporation for Interior Alaska and is the largest private landowner in Alaska and one of the largest in North America.

The agreement

The airborne gravity surveys and data analysis, to be done in 2020-21, would be the first phase and would involve a grid flown covering the 1.6 million acres of Doyon land to define opportunities by measurement of subsurface rock properties. There are no ground activities and no land impacts in this first phase.

Phase 2, a seismic survey in 2022-23 depends on data gathered and analyzed in phase one, with the areas of interest near Birch Creek, Fort Yukon, Beaver and Stevens Village.

Pending results from the first two phases, exploration could take place near Birch Creek, with the agreement designed to provide maximum participation from the village corporation to provide economic benefits to the area. Doyon said it has also signed a cooperation agreement regarding a joint pursuit of service contracts and shareholder training and hire with Tihteet Aii, the Birch Creek Alaska Native village corporation.

Yukon Flats

Doyon has long been interested in the oil and gas potential of the Yukon Flats subregion, where it believes geology is similar to the Nenana basin. The corporation’s program in Yukon Flats was delayed for five years as Doyon and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tried to negotiate a land swap in the region. That effort failed, although Doyon later determined its existing acreage was more promising than it had originally thought.

The only exploration in Yukon Flats was a 3D seismic survey in the Stevens Village region in the 2012-13 winter.

Doyon also holds extensive Nenana basin acreage where it drilled five wells in partnership with others beginning in 2004, took over as operator in 2009 and drilled what would prove to be its last Nenana basin well in the summer of 2018. Three of the wells were in the basin’s central saddle and two in the deeper more northerly part of the basin.

- KRISTEN NELSON



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