Firing up the Beast
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.
Doyon’s ERD rig enters 90-day commissioning for Fiord West Kuparuk well
Doyon 26, the extended reach drilling rig nicknamed the Beast because of its immense size, will begin drilling in ConocoPhillips’ Fiord West prospect early this summer from the Alpine CD2 drill site, with rig commissioning and startup starting the week of Feb. 28.
Before ConocoPhillips shut down its North Slope winter drilling season last year, which was done early because of COVID-19 concerns, the big ERD rig had been assembled at CD2 and rig commissioning activities had been underway.
“The rig stayed cold stacked through the remainder of 2020 and into the first part of this year,” Rebecca Boys, senior advisor, communications, at ConocoPhillips Alaska, told Petroleum News March 2. “The commissioning and startup will take 90 days and will start this week,” she said, noting start-up activities include “rig crew onboarding, equipment commissioning, and final acceptance testing.”
“The planned spud date for the first Fiord West Kuparuk well is early summer,” Boys said
Combining oil poolsConocoPhillips said in 2019 that six wells were planned at Fiord West, which was expected to produce 20,000 barrels per day gross at its peak.
On Feb. 3 of this year, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved an application by the company to amend a conservation order to essentially roll the Fiord oil pool into the Alpine oil pool. (Conservation orders define producing areas and the commission’s rules for the area.)
In its order AOGCC said the vertical extension of the Alpine oil pool, incorporating the former Fiord oil pool, is now defined as the stratigraphic interval between 6,920 and 7,559 feet measured depth in the Alpine No. 3 well.
Reservoirs included in the revised pool are the Jurassic-aged Alpine and Nechelik sandstones within the Kingak formation and the Lower Cretaceous-aged “C sandstones” of the Kuparuk River formation (Kuparuk C), informally known as the Nanuq-Kuparuk, Fiord-Kuparuk and Fiord West Kuparuk reservoirs, the commission said.
“The three reservoirs within the expanded AOP share the same confining intervals for injected fluids,” the commission said.
Well, production and pressure data provide evidence of communication between the Alpine, Nechelik and Kuparuk reservoirs. “In addition to direct sand-on-sand contacts between these reservoirs in other portions of the CRU, it has been demonstrated that the Kuparuk C and Alpine reservoirs are in hydraulic communication through natural fractures,” the same basis, AOGCC said, on which the former Nanuq-Kuparuk oil pool was previously incorporated into the Alpine oil pool.
Expanded development from CD5In its application ConocoPhillips said the proposed expansion included the future Fiord West development that was to be drilled from CD2 and would “accommodate continued western and southern development from CD5 drill site” and update and standardize pool rules for deep intervals within the Colville River unit “to enable efficient operation and development under a single set of rules for these similar, related and interconnected intervals,” effectively incorporating the Fiord oil pool into the Alpine oil pool.
The existing CD2 drill site, which was expanded to 12 acres to accommodate the ERD rig and development, was an alternative to a new pad in the Fiord West area, which ConocoPhillips has described as less desirable because it was along the coast in wetlands.