Hilcorp plans new Milne Point R Pad; just developed Moose Pad
Following on the heels of the Moose Pad, which began production at Milne Point in April, Hilcorp Alaska is planning to add another new pad at the unit, R Pad, as well as expand existing pads.
The new pad and extensions of existing pads are mentioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its description of an application from Hilcorp Alaska to expand gravel mining at the field. The application - under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for work in waters of the United States - was public noticed April 24; the comment period closes May 24.
Hilcorp became operator at Milne Point in 2014 when it acquired several North Slope properties from BP, including a 50% interest in Milne and operatorship of that field. Since then Hilcorp has been working to increase Milne production. In early April it brought the Moose Pad online on the far western side of the field.
Moose Pad is the first new pad at Milne since 2002, David Wilkins, Hilcorp’s senior vice president for Alaska, told the Resource Development Council in November.
Hilcorp currently has production from 12 pads at Milne, including the new Moose Pad.
Two to three padsHilcorp told the Corps it required “enough gravel for 2 to 3 pads initially.”
The R Pad development would be south of F Pad, the company told the Corps, noting that additional pad expansions would be required for new wells to increase Milne Point unit production.
F Pad is the most northerly of the Milne Point pads, near the Beaufort Sea coast and northeast of L Pad.
The Corps notice did not provide a timeline for any pad construction but did say the new mining was estimated to occur from 2019 to 2024.
Expansion of existing material siteThe proposed work in the Corps notice is an expansion of the existing material site, Mine Site E, with the addition of a 27-acre cell at the mine named Cell 6 and rehabilitation of the project site after completion of material extraction.
The Corps said the area to be mined is 900 feet long and 850 feet wide, a total of 16 acres; the additional 11 acres would include overburden storage and construction of a thermal barrier and an access road.
In its description of mining and rehabilitation planned for Ugnu Mine Site E at Milne Point, Hilcorp said the mine site is some 2 miles east of the Oliktok Road, some 5 miles southeast of Oliktok Point and 2 miles southeast of Simpson Lagoon, with the Ugnuravik River some one-half mile east of the mine site.
Gravel mining began at the site in the early 1980s. The existing Ugnu Mine Site E permitted area is some 157 acres. Hilcorp is proposing an expansion of some 50.5 acres in one cell, with final site configuration dependent on gravel requirements. The proposed expansion, Cell 6, is east of Cell 1, with some 27 acres of be impacted by gravel mining activities in Phase 1.
Hilcorp said Cell 6 is the shortest distance between development projects at Milne and the Ugnu Mine Site E expansion area.
Cell 6 would produce an estimated 1 million cubic yards of gravel.
“Mining will only be done in the winter from an ice road constructed across the Ugnuravik River,” Hilcorp said.
- KRISTEN NELSON