Drilling, facilities upgrades in CRU plans
Pad under consideration for Narwhal production, numerous facilities upgrades — all subject to change based on business conditions
ConocoPhillips Alaska submitted its 22nd annual status update for the Colville River unit March 16, as oil demand and prices dropped worldwide and oil production grew, driven by increasing volumes from Russia and Saudi Arabia.
As always, the company noted its plans “are subject to change based upon business conditions.”
“This POD (plan of development) Update and associated timelines is based on information now available and is subject to adjustment based on future information and circumstances.”
That said, ConocoPhillips, operator at the Colville River unit, listed a number of facilities upgrades and one new drilling pad in various stages of planning and development, as well as plans to drill up to 21 wells, with specifics of timing and location confidential.
Exploration in expansion areaConocoPhillips’ exploration in CRU was focused on the fifth expansion area, on the southeastern edge of the unit, approved in 2017. The initial well commitments were met with the drilling of the Putu 2 and Putu 2A wells in 2018 and 2020, the company said, with four appraisal wells drilled in 2018 and 2019 “to better understand the reservoir and to test the technical feasibility of extended reach drilling at shallow depth.”
The company said the CD4-594 and CD4-595 wells stretched the limits of shallow extended reach drilling and confirmed that a new pad will be required to reach the Narwhal resource in the fifth expansion area.
The CD-595 was re-entered in April 2019 to finish drilling the lateral section of the well, which the company described as highly deviated. The horizontal well was completed and fracture stimulated, followed by an extended production test through CD4 facilities.
The CD4-594PH1 pilot hole and the CD4-594 horizontal injector were drilled in the fourth quarter of 2019: “both are Brookian Nanushuk sand (Narwhal) wells,” ConocoPhillips said.
The CD4-594 is intended as an injector to be paired with the CD4-595 producer. The company said it may elect to drill a second injector west of CD4-595, “so that a fully supported producer/injector pattern can be tested long term.”
Preliminary engineering and design study for CD8, the proposed new pad, is planned for this year. It would tie back to the ACF with a gravel access road and associated pipelines and power tied into CD4, and multiphase production going to the ACF for processing and sales.
ConocoPhillips said the intent of the CD8 study “is to progress the design and location options with the goal of arriving at a robust single development concept after appropriate engagement with interested stakeholders,” including the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Kuukpik Corp., the City of Nuiqsut, the Native Village of Nuiqsut, the federal Bureau of Land Management, the State of Alaska and the North Slope Borough.
Pending stakeholder alignment and permitting, sustained unit production could begin from CD8 as early as 2025, the company said.
Studies to identify potential pad locations and route alternatives were begun in 2019 and will continue in 2020 and into 2021.
Alpine poolConocoPhillips said starting in the first quarter of this year and going through the first quarter of 2021 it plans three rotary wells into the Alpine pool, along with six Alpine injectors, with additional opportunity targets including four Alpine producers. It also plans coiled tubing drilling between two existing injectors and CTD laterals from an existing producer, with additional CTD development drilling possible.
The company said production from the Nanuq Kuparuk participating area “continues to exceed expectations.” That PA was initially produced from CD4 and then from CD5, with results from each CD5 well supporting the next westward target. The company said the next location is too far to reach with Doyon 25, but is accessible with arrival of the extended reach rig, making it a potential target for the first quarter of 2021, “depending on drilling performance and project competitiveness.”
Fiord poolConocoPhillips said the are no new wells planned for 2020 through the first quarter of 2021 for the Fiord Nechelik PA, but producer and injector opportunities have been identified and could be drilled “as rig optimization/utilization dictates.”
There are no plans to drill additional Fiord Kuparuk PA wells in the timeframe of the plan, but there is a candidate for a rig workover recompletion.
A slant pilot well drilled in the first quarter of 2019 targeting the Fiord West Kuparuk near where future extended reach laterals are planned using the ERD rig was suspended, but up to four more slant pilot wells targeting the reservoir are planned for 2020-first quarter 2021 “to evaluate static subsurface properties to assist in detailed ERD well planning and execution efforts.”
The company said the ERD rig is due to arrive in the Colville River unit and begin drilling in the second quarter of this year.
Nanuq, Qannik poolsAt the Nanuq pool, developed primarily from CD4, two CTD sidetracks, one injector and one producer, are planned for 2020, with other opportunity targets for CTD consider “as rig optimization/utilization dictates.”
The Qannik pool has been developed from CD2, with a single Qannik well drilled from the CD4 pad and completed this January.
“This horizontal producer represents a step-out from the existing development at CD2, away from existing well control, and will help better characterize the eastern portion of the reservoir.”
An offset injector to that well may be drilled, depending on rig availability.
Facilities expansion updateConocoPhillips discussed several facilities expansions in its update.
The Alpine Gas Expansion project is progressing through detailed engineering and design, the company said, with construction activities expected to begin this year, with the objective of debottlenecking gas handling capacity at the Alpine Central Facility. The company said project startup was deferred by a year to mid-2021 to optimize ACF turnaround schedule between multiple projects.
FEED (front-end engineering and design) funding was approved in 2019 for the Alpine Power Expansion project, with detailed engineering and design to progress through 2020. The project’s purpose is to add infrastructure to ACF to meet future power demand. Construction activities are planned to begin this year, with a 2021 third quarter target for startup.
Other work planned for 2020 is progress on an engineering and design study for the third expansion of the CD4 drill site, an expansion targeting the Narwhal reservoir and potentially additional Qannik targets.