Vol. 25, No.39 Week of September 27, 2020
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Badami restarting

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Glacier Oil conducts facility turnaround at unit pad, resuming production

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

Savant Alaska LLC, a Glacier Oil and Gas company, is completing a facility turnaround at the eastern North Slope Badami unit pad and expects to restart oil production early in the week of Sept. 27, Glacier President Stephen Ratcliff told Petroleum News in a Sept. 23 interview.

He said all the wells that had been producing when the field was placed in warm standby in early May would be brought back online.

“This is a big win for us,” Ratcliff said. “We’re very excited about it.”

When the wells are first put back online Ratcliff anticipates “a little bit of a bump” in production before returning to normal levels. According to production data from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Badami produced an average of 1,308 barrels of oil per day in April, the last full month of operations.

Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas had approved a suspension of operations for Badami that ran from May 4 through July 15, 2021. When Glacier Vice President of Operations David Pascal submitted the suspension application, he told the agency: “The present global condition of low crude oil prices, combined with a lack of demand, obligates Glacier to act as a prudent operator and suspend operations until demand and market price have sufficiently recovered to justify the resumption of production operations.”

During the time Badami was in warm standby, Pascal said “a reduced complement of employees would monitor the facilities” and continue to operate the Badami Pipeline, which delivers production from Point Thomson to Endicott.

Significant turnaround, inspection

A few months later Glacier notified the division it planned to initiate a significant turnaround operation and inspection of the Badami unit process equipment and facility with the intension of resuming production in the Sept. 15-30 timeframe.

“The scope of this work is extensive and there are tanks and equipment that have not been inspected and serviced since installation,” Ratcliff wrote a couple of weeks later in an Aug. 11 letter to division Director Tom Stokes. “During the period of non-production this work schedule is facilitated since there are no active processes to suspend.”

In a Sept. 23 letter, Stokes officially approved Glacier’s plan, which amounted to an amendment of the Badami unit’s plan of operations. It was an after-the-fact approval, he said, noting the actual work had begun on Aug. 10.

Pandemic impacts worker numbers

In his Sept. 23 interview with PN, Ratcliff said Glacier’s employee number had shrunk due to the reduced demand and oil price impact of COVID-19.

Today, the company’s total employees number around 50, with four to five of those being contractor employees.

“We have been focused on survival,” he said. “Getting production restarted at Badami is a positive step in the right direction.”

The seven-lease Badami unit is about 32 miles east of Deadhorse. It began production in late August 1999 under the original developer and operator, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.

Four units in Alaska

Created in early 2016, Glacier is solely focused on oil and gas fields in Alaska. In addition to Savant it owns Cook Inlet Energy, which operates the West McArthur River and the Redoubt Shoal units in Cook Inlet, as well as the North Fork unit on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

Whereas the Badami, Redoubt and West McArthur units mainly produce oil, North Fork is a natural gas field.

A suspension of operations is still in effect for Redoubt and West McArthur River (including the Sword participating area).

In requesting those suspensions Glacier cited global low prices combined with a lack of demand (see story in June 7 issue of Petroleum News).

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