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Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
August 2020

Vol. 25, No.31 Week of August 02, 2020

ANS averaged 398,003 bpd in June, down 8%

Steepest drops at Kuparuk, Colville, with Conoco’s announced 100,000 bpd cut in Alaska; increases elsewhere, largest at Prudhoe

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

Alaska North Slope crude oil production took a steep dive in June. After starting the year averaging almost 515,000 barrels per day, the June average was below 400,000 bpd, the lowest level this year, although cumulative field data posted for the current month by the Alaska Department of Revenue show volumes beginning to increase in July.

Detailed breakdowns in this story are from data provided by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which reports production by well and field on a month-delay basis - and also breaks out natural gas liquids production from crude oil.

ANS production averaged 398,003 barrels per day in June, down 8.3%, 35,837 bpd, from a May average of 433,840 bpd and down 18.6% from a June 2019 average of 489,144 bpd.

ANS crude averaged 349,339 bpd in June, down 11%, 43,218 bpd, from a May average of 392,557 bpd and down 20.9% from a June 2019 average of 441,437 bpd. ANS NGLs, on the other hand, averaged 48,663 bpd in June, an increase of 17.9%, 7,380 bpd, from a May average of 41,283 bpd, and up 2% from a June 2019 average of 47,706 bpd.

Month-over-month declines

The strongest impact on June production was from a 100,000-bpd cut in Alaska production by ConocoPhillips in response to a drop in demand due to COVID-19 and the resulting steep drop in oil prices. Ramp down for the ConocoPhillips cuts began in May and the company said June 30 that it expected to begin restoring Alaska production in July.

The largest month-over-month ANS volume drop was at the ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Kuparuk River field, which averaged 38,747 bpd in June, down 40.9%, 26,861 bpd, from a May average of 65,607 bpd, and down 62% from a June 2019 average of 101,878 bpd. (ConocoPhillips holds some 94.7% of the working interest at Kuparuk; Chevron holds 4.95%; ExxonMobil holds less than 1%.)

In addition to the main Kuparuk pool, Kuparuk produces from satellites at Meltwater, Tabasco and Tarn, and from West Sak.

The largest month-over-month percentage drop was at ConocoPhillips’ Colville River field, which averaged 18,505 bpd in June, down 50.1%, 18,584 bpd, from a May average of 37,090 bod, and down 63.8% from a June 2019 average of 51,136 bpd.

In addition to oil from the main Alpine pool, Colville production includes satellite production from Fiord, Nanuq and Qannik.

ConocoPhillips’ Greater Mooses Tooth in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska averaged 3,182 bpd in June, down 28.2%, 1,251 bpd, from a May average of 4,433 bpd, and down 72.3% from a June 2019 average of 11,496.

The ExxonMobil Production-operated Point Thomson field averaged 9,440 bpd in June, down 1.9%, 178 bpd, from a May average of 9,618 bpd, but up 95.7% from a June 2019 average of 4,823 bpd.

NGL impact at Prudhoe

The largest volume month-over-month increase was at the Prudhoe Bay field. Since July 1 operated by Hilcorp, in June Prudhoe was still being operated by BP Exploration (Alaska).

Combined production at Prudhoe in June was 251,505 bpd, up 2.5%, 6,172 bpd, from a May average of 245,333 bpd and up 2.1% from a June 2019 average of 246,265 bpd.

That increase, however, was from natural gas liquids.

Crude oil production at Prudhoe averaged 206,225 bpd in June, down marginally (0.4%, 757 bpd) from a May average of 206,982 bpd, although up 2.6% from a June 2019 average of 201,073 bpd.

NGL production at Prudhoe averaged 45,280 bpd in June, up 18.1%, 6,929 bpd, from a May average of 38,351 and up 0.2% from a June 2019 average of 45,192 bpd.

In addition to the primary reservoir, production volumes from Prudhoe include Aurora, Borealis, Lisburne, Midnight Sun, Niakuk, Polaris, Point McIntyre, Put River, Raven and Schrader Bluff.

Month-over-month increases

The largest percentage month-over-month production increase was at Eni’s Oooguruk field, which averaged 8,256 bpd in June, up 30.4%, 1,924 bpd, from a May average of 6,331 bpd and up 8.5% from a June 2019 average of 7,611 bpd.

The Hilcorp-operated Endicott field averaged 7,286 bpd in June, up 10.8%, 712 bpd, from a May average of 6,574 bpd, but down marginally from a June 2019 average of 7,289 bpd. Crude oil production at Endicott averaged 6,364 bpd in June, up 10.5%, 605 bpd, from a May average of 5,760 bpd, but down 2.3% from a June 2019 average of 6,512 bpd. NGL production at Endicott averaged 922 bpd in June, up 13.1%, 107 bpd, from a May average of 815 bpd and up 18.6% from a June 2019 average of 777 bpd.

Eni’s Nikaitchuq averaged 19,923 bpd in June, up 9.8%, 1,779 bpd, from a May average of 18,144 bpd, and up 2.7% from a June 2019 average of 13,394 bpd.

The Hilcorp-operated Northstar field averaged 8,373 bpd in June, up 1.5%, 127 bpd, from a May average of 8,246 but down 1% from a June 2019 average of 8,457. Like the much larger Prudhoe, Northstar had a drop in crude production, offset by NGLs. The field averaged 5,911 bpd of crude in June, down 3.6%, 218 bpd, from a May average of 6,129 bpd, and down 12% from a June 2019 average of 6,720 bpd. NGL production at Northstar averaged 2,462 bpd in June, up 16.3%, 345 bpd, from a May average of 2,117 bpd and up 41.7% from a June 2019 average of 1,737 bpd.

The Hilcorp-operated Milne Point field averaged 32,786 bpd in June, up 1.1%, 351 bpd, from a May average of 32,435 bpd, and up 12.3% from a June 2019 average of 29,198 bpd.

Production was suspended at Badami, operated by Glacier Oil & Gas Corp.’s Savant Alaska, in May and the field had no production in June.

Cook Inlet up marginally

Cook Inlet crude oil production averaged 11,635 bpd in June, up 0.6%, 72 bpd, from a May average of 11,563 bpd but down 12.7% from a June 2019 average of 13,325 bpd.

Operations have been suspended at two fields, Redoubt Shoal and West McArthur River, both operated by Glacier’s Cook Inlet Energy, and they had no production in June.

Three fields had month-over-month production declines.

Hilcorp’s Beaver Creek, the inlet’s smallest oil field, averaged 108 bpd in June, down 26.6%, 39 bpd, from a May average of 147 bpd and down 68.7% from a June 2019 average of 345 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Swanson River averaged 841 bpd in June, down 4.8%, 42 bpd, from a May average of 883 bpd, and down 12.7% from a June 2019 average of 963 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Middle Ground Shoal averaged 1,258 bpd in June, down 0.7%, 8 bpd, from a May average of 1,266 bpd and down 3.4% from a June 2019 average of 1,302 bpd.

The remaining four fields all had month-over-month production increases.

Hilcorp’s McArthur River field, the inlet’s largest, averaged 3,957 bpd in June, up 9.6%, 345 bpd, from a May average of 3,611 bpd, but down 14.5% from a June 2019 average of 4,628 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Granite Point averaged 3,113 bpd in June, up 0.6%, 17 bpd, from a May average of 3,096 bpd, and up 28.6% from a June 2019 average of 2,420 bpd.

Hilcorp’s Trading Bay field averaged 1,365 bpd in June, up 17.9%, 207 bpd, from a May average of 1,158 bpd and up 92.2% from a June 2019 average of 710 bpd.

BlueCrest’s Hansen field, the Cosmopolitan project, averaged 994 bpd in June, up 1.7%, 16 bpd, from a May average of 977 bpd, but down 32.4% from a June 2019 average of 1,469 bpd.

ANS crude oil production peaked in 1988 at 2.1 million bpd; Cook Inlet crude oil production peaked in 1970 at more than 227,000 bpd.

Cook Inlet natural gas production will be in the Aug. 9 issue of Petroleum News.






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