Vol. 27, No.48 Week of November 27, 2022
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Hilcorp submits PODs for Slope fields, Duck Island and Northstar

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Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Hilcorp Alaska has submitted plans of operation for the Duck Island and Northstar units to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas. The plans, submitted Nov. 15, are for Feb. 13, 2023, through Feb. 12, 2024.

The two are the smallest of the North Slope fields operated by Hilcorp, which took over BP’s interest in the fields and became operator in 2014. Hilcorp holds 100% working interest ownership at Northstar and is the majority WIO at Duck Island, where Chevron holds a minority interest. The fields produce crude and natural gas liquids - the only North Slope fields besides Prudhoe Bay to do so. In September, the latest month for which Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data is available, daily production at Duck Island was a combined 5,997 barrels per day, 1.3% of North Slope production of 473,179 bpd (crude and NGLs combined), while Northstar averaged 6,919 bpd in that month, 1.5% of Slope production.

Duck Island unit

The POD Hilcorp submitted to the division in November is the 41st for the Duck Island unit which was formed in 1978, and includes some 17,588 acres.

The company said DIU production is associated with the Kekiktuk reservoir in the Endicott participating area; the Ivishak and Sag River reservoirs in the Eider PA; and the Sag River reservoir in the Minke tract operation.

Plans for the 41st POD include up to three rig workover operations, additional workovers as needed and various non-rig wellwork operations to maintain and enhance production.

Major facility projects include upgrading/repairing the SDI low flow test separator internals; installing a propane turbine demister; and a turnaround for LACT meter upgrades, upgrade/repair of SDI low flow test separator internals and propane turbine demister install.

Duck Island was developed from two artificial gravel islands, the main producing island and the satellite producing island, connected by a causeway to the mainland.

40th POD for DIU

From January through October of this year, average daily production at DIU was 6,428 barrels of oil per day, Hilcorp said.

During the 40th POD, Hilcorp completed a tubing string install in the 3-11 well and returned that well to production; the I-19 well was returned to production after hyposeal was used on a production casing leak; and the I-09A well was converted to gas injection. Unanticipated workover operations including returning the 3-17F well to production for 30 days and subsequently performing successful workover operations.

A summer turnaround during the 40th POD included: vessel cleaning and inspection; LACT meter upgrades - in progress; rotating equipment overhaul and repairs; retraying condensate stabilizer; and flare inspection and repair.

Work not completed during the 40th POD included converting the I-21 well to gas injection, which was delayed in favor of evaluating other more attractive opportunities for the well; and increasing injectivity on current water injection wells, which is waiting e-line to add prefers to current WINJ to increase injectivity.


The current POD for Northstar is the 19th for the unit, formed in January 1990 and jointly managed by the division and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the division said in January 2022 in its approval of the 18th POD. There are four state leases and three federal leases in the unit, some 20,135 acres, with three participating areas: Northstar, Fido and Hooligan, the division said.

Hilcorp said production is from Ivishak sands in the Northstar and Fido PAs, and from Kuparuk sands in the Hooligan PA.

In its pool statistics for Northstar, AOGCC notes production is from a 5-acre manmade island, 6 miles offshore in the Beaufort Sea, connected to onshore processing facilities by a buried pipeline. Regular production began in November 2001.

In its 19th POD Hilcorp said long-range activities at Northstar include:

*Exploring importing natural gas from Prudhoe for pressure maintenance in the Kuparuk reservoir.

*Reviewing the potential of coil tubing drilling, including determining “if coil tubing drilling operations are economically viable, or even mechanically feasible, on Northstar Island.”

*Researching the economic viability of Sag River development. “The reservoir is of very low permeability and porosity, likely requiring stimulation techniques to unlock production,” Hilcorp said.

The company does not anticipate any workover operations in the 19th POD but said it would do workovers as needed.

Facility projects include completing the commissioning of the remaining heat pipes in the ground refrigeration expansion project and continuing the ongoing repair of the island’s coastal defenses.

8th Northstar POD

Under the 18th POD Hilcorp, as anticipated, did not do any drilling, sidetracks or workovers.

It did plan surface facility work and completed surface piping supporting 86 heat pipes in the ground refrigeration expansion project, with the first group of heat pipes anticipated to be in service by the end of the 18th POD.

Hilcorp also continued ongoing repairs of the island’s coastal defenses.


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