Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
July 2018

Vol. 23, No.30 Week of July 29, 2018

Eni says drilling at Nikaitchuq could resume as early as this fall

Eric Lidji

for Petroleum News

Eni could resume development drilling at the Nikaitchuq unit as soon as this fall, if the timing and results of its ongoing exploration campaign in the region accommodate.

In its 11th plan of development for the North Slope unit, the local subsidiary of the Italian major announced plans to drill as many as three new wells and to add laterals to as many as eight existing single lateral wells at its Spy Island Drillsite as soon as October 2018.

The work depends on the progress at the Nikaitchuq North exploration project. The start of that project was delayed back in December 2017 and now faces seasonal restrictions.

The planned development work depends on the ongoing exploration program in part for a very practical reason: Eni is using the same rig - Doyon 15 - for both drilling efforts.

The relationship between the two programs may also concern drilling targets. In its plan, Eni said that the development program could begin as early as late 2018 “pending the results and scope of exploration work.” From the beginning, the purpose of the exploration program was to add reserves to Nikaitchuq and to increase oil production.

The Nikaitchuq unit is located in nearshore state waters north of the Kuparuk River unit.

Upcoming plans

The plan for the current year, running through September 2019, calls for drilling three new wells at Spy Island and converting eight existing Spy Island wells into multilaterals.

According to a drilling schedule in the plan, the new Spy Island wells are SP03-FN9, SP06 and SI02-SE6, planned for October 2018 through late February 2019. (In a different part of the plan, Eni lists SP03-FN9, SI02-SE5 and SI06-FN8.) The eight new laterals are SP33-W3, SP30-W1L1, SP16-FN3L1, SP27-N1L1, SP23-N3L1, SP10-FN5L1, SP18-N5L1 and SP05-FN7L1, planned for late February 2019 through mid-September 2019.

Under the current naming conventions used at Spy Island, wells beginning with “SP” represent productions wells while wells beginning with “SI” represent injection wells.

Eni is using Doyon 15 for its Spy Island program. The company contracted the rig in preparation for its Nikaitchuq North exploration program earlier this year. The program involved drilling an ultra-extended reach well from the Spy Island Drillsite into federal waters north of the Nikaitchuq unit, and the rig required considerable modification.

The timetable of the proposed development activities depends on the timing and results of the NN-01 exploration well being drilled into the Harrison Bay Block 6423 Unit.

Eni had initially planned to spud the well by Dec. 10, 2017, completed the well in mid-February 2018 and conduct flow testing between mid-February and mid-March 2018.

The actual spud date was pushed to Dec. 23, with drilling activities beginning in February 2018 and expected to continue into mid-July, with flow testing occurring in late July or August. The delays forced the company to defer plans to drill a sidetrack in order to comply with summer drilling restrictions in the waters off the North Slope. The company still plans to drill a NN-02 appraisal well during the upcoming winter exploration season.

The company is not planning to resume development drilling from the Oliktok Point Pad but does plan to continue its ongoing workover activities from the pad in early 2019.

The company is also planning to conduct workover activities on Spy Island wells.

Prior suspension

Eni suspended development drilling at Nikaitchuq in May 2015 in response to the global downturn in oil prices. The suspension occurred as the company was completing some of its initial development plans and was beginning to consider expansion opportunities.

The company completed its initial drilling plans for the Oliktok Point Pad in October 2012 and conducted a sidetrack campaign on select wells in 2013 and 2014. The additional work also included an appraisal in mid-2014 to evaluate an N sand target. All the previous wells drilled from the Oliktok Point Pad had targeted an OA reservoir.

Since the end of the sidetrack program in May 2014, all development activity at the Oliktok Point Pad shifted from drilling to workover operations. The company eventually released its Nabors 245 rig in late 2017 and contracted the Nordic Calista 4 rig.

A continuous drilling program at Spy Island began in November 2012. The program was expanded in early 2013 with the first multilateral at Nikaitchuq and expanded again in late 2013 with a campaign to add a second lateral to all new Spy Island production wells.

The company conducted the West Extension Project at Spy Island between the third quarter of 2014 and early 2015 and launched the East Extension Project in 2015, before suspending all drilling activities at the unit and putting the Doyon 15 rig in cold stack.

Average daily production at Nikaitchuq peaked in late 2015 at around 27,000 barrels per day, according to Eni. The unit had produced 45 million barrels through April 2018.


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