SAE issued state permit to shoot seismic west of Staines
On Jan. 16, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas posted the Dec. 31 approval of a SAE Staines 3-D miscellaneous land use permit application filed Aug. 15.
The permit, MLUP NS 18-004, authorizes SAExploration to conduct a land and marine seismic survey within an area west of the Staines River on the east/central North Slope about 40 miles east of Deadhorse, encompassing approximately 673 square miles (see map in pdf or print format of this story).
The permit, which includes several pages of restrictions, is limited to state land and water within the North Slope Borough.
The survey will be conducted during the 2018-19 winter season, consistent with the tundra travel opening, which means soil temperatures and snow cover have meet the opening criteria of at least a 6-inch depth of snow and soil temperatures of minus 5 C or below at a 30-centimeter depth.
SAE’s five-month permit is effective Dec. 31 to May 31.
Equipment staged at DeadhorseSAE will stage equipment from existing facilities in Deadhorse. An unincorporated community, Deadhorse, accessible via the Dalton Highway and the Deadhorse Airport, consists mainly of facilities for oilfield workers and firms that have contracts with the oil companies that operate North Slope oil fields.
SAE’s camp and equipment will be trucked via road to a point of access to the tundra or sea ice. The crews will mobilize to existing gravel pads that will allow access to the tundra and provide a resupply area for them.
Tracked tundra vehicles will be used to transport the sled camp along the tundra. The advanced camp will remain close to the survey activities and will move every 2-5 days depending on the survey progress and snow cover.
Snow-packed trailsPer the permit, snow packed trails will be established within the project area to consolidate travel routes for crew travel and resupply activities. The location of the trails will depend on snow coverage, existing rolligon routes and terrain conditions.
SAE will be coordinating with oilfield operators to utilize existing or planned trails within the project region where possible.
The survey units will be equipped with ground penetrating radar systems.
If SAE encounters floating river ice that will not safely support the weight of some equipment, it will work with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to permit activities necessary to apply water to increase the thickness of the ice to establish temporary river crossings.
Seismic operations will be conducted with 12 rubber-tracked or buggy vibrators utilizing a random source driven acquisition method combined with a compressive sensing design.
Up to 48 receiver (geophone) lines will run perpendicular to source lines at a minimum spacing of 660 feet. Multiple vibrators may perform data collection simultaneously with a spacing of approximately 1,320 feet.
Receivers will be transported between locations using a low ground pressure Tucker Sno-Cat or snow machine. Vibrators will only operate on sufficiently snow-covered tundra or grounded sea ice.
SAE has to submit weekly reports to the Division of Oil and Gas summarizing its activities and location.
The director of the division has the right to amend or modify any provisions of the permit or to revoke it at any time.
- KAY CASHMAN