Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
June 2019

Vol. 24, No.25 Week of June 23, 2019

Fiord West Kuparuk PA OK’d by landowners

Most of development in this 12,015-acre participating area will be with extended reach drilling rig ConocoPhillips is bringing in

Kristen Nellson

Petroleum News

An application from ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. for formation of the Fiord West Kuparuk participating area in the Colville River unit has been approved by the three landowners in the area - Arctic Slope Regional Corp., the federal Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

A participating area defines the portion of a unit from which production is expected occur; approval of a PA is required before production begins.

The state, ASRC and BLM jointly manage the Colville River Unit. The Fiord West Kuparuk PA includes some 12,015 acres on state oil and gas leases, ASRC oil and gas leases, leases jointly owned by ASRC and the state and BLM oil and gas leases.

The majority of the acreage is state. ASRC has ownership of 4,083 acres in the proposed PA. BLM’s ownership is 240 acres, on a single federal lease, which was included in the seventh expansion of the Colville River unit in 2017.

In its decision DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas said the proposed Fiord West Kuparuk PA is about a mile west of the current Fiord Nechelik PA in a region ConocoPhillips has referred to as the Fiord West development area. There are seven exploration wells in the vicinity of the new PA: Nechelik 1, Temptation 1, Temptation 1A, Nigliq 1, Nigliq 1A, Iapetus 2 and Char 1. “Six of these wells encountered the Lower Cretaceous Kuparuk River Formation,” the division said.

“The Kuparuk River sandstone is a shallow marine transgressive sequence deposited on the Lower Cretaceous Unconformity,” and varies across the two Fiord PAs from 1 foot thick to 21 feet. The division said the Kuparuk A sandstone is not present in the area.

Exploration, development history

The division said drilling began in the area in 1996 when ARCO Alaska drilled the Temptation 1 and a deviated sidetrack, the Temptation 1A, encountering 9 feet of gross Kuparuk sandstone in the original well and 8 feet of gross sandstone in the sidetrack.

In its PA application ConocoPhillips said the Temptation wells “were the first wells west of the fault trapped CD3 Fiord Kuparuk accumulation to find significant Kuparuk C thickness and reservoir quality.”

Fiord 5 was drilled to both Kuparuk and Nechelik targets in 1999, with 15 feet of gross sand in the Kuparuk; both zones were tested, with the Nechelik interval producing 1,400 barrels per day of 29-degree American Petroleum Institute gravity oil. The combined Nechelik and Kuparuk test produced 2,500 bpd.

The division said development wells in the CD3 Fiord Kuparuk field have shown oil gravity in the Kuparuk area to be above 29 degrees API.

Phillips Alaska drilled Nigliq 1 and Nigliq 1A about 5 miles west of the Fiord 5 well in 2001, the division said, with 2 feet of gross Kuparuk C sandstone found in Nigliq 1 and 5 feet in Nigliq 1A.

ConocoPhillips Alaska drilled Iapetus 2 in 2005, encountering 10 feet of gross Kuparuk C sandstone as well as Nechelik sandstone, the division said; the well was not tested.

The division said the company drilled Char 1 in 2008, encountering 12 feet of gross Kuparuk C sandstone. The well was perforated and flow tested, “producing 23,190 barrels of oil over a seven-day period,” an oil rate which averaged some 3,620 bpd with an API oil gravity of 39 degrees.

The Kuparuk C has also been penetrated by several wells as part of the Fiord Nechelik development at CD3, the division said, with gross thickness between 3 and 8 feet along the eastern edge of the proposed Fiord West Kuparuk PA.

The Fiord West Kuparuk PA “is defined as the Kuparuk C sands correlative to the Kuparuk C sandstone found in the Char 1 well,” the division said, with the top of the Kuparuk C sandstone in that well at 7,252 feet measured depth and the base the Lower Cretaceous Unconformity at 7,264 feet MD.


The division said ConocoPhillips’ revised plan of development for the Colville River unit includes an initial well into the Fiord West Kuparuk PA “to gather data and support planning reservoir development.”

In its 21st annual update to the Colville River unit agreement, dated March 15, ConocoPhillips said its 2019 plans included a Fiord West Kuparuk pilot hole in the first quarter of 2019, “a slant pilot hole well targeting the Fiord West Kuparuk reservoir near where future extended reach laterals are planned to be drilled” with the extended reach drilling rig.

“The purpose of this well is to evaluate static subsurface properties and production to assist detailed ERD well planning and execution efforts,” the company said.

In its approval letter ASRC said ConocoPhillips plans to drill seven wells for the Fiord West Kuparuk PA, with production from the first well expected in the second quarter of this year, and the other six wells to be drilled by the extended reach drilling rig due onsite in the second quarter of 2020.

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