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Vol. 26, No.9 Week of February 28, 2021
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Seaview summer startup eyed with March mobilization for HDD boring

Steve Sutherlin

Petroleum News

Natural gas from Hilcorp’s much-anticipated Seaview prospect at Anchor Point remains offline for now, but the company anticipates production coming online this summer, assuming the success of horizontal directional drilling under the Anchor River for the project’s gas pipeline from the Seaview pad to the existing Enstar gas transmission pipeline.

Production was expected to begin Nov. 1, but the date slipped into 2021 when construction delays on the 2-mile pipeline squelched the company’s production plans for 2020, Jennifer Starck, Hilcorp Alaska Kenai team lead said Feb. 19 in remarks to the Alliance Kenai digital luncheon.

“Because of the location of this pad, we’ve got some very difficult connections to get this gas into market,” Starck said.

Starck said the pipeline must make two crossings beneath the Anchor River by horizontal directional drilling. That work was attempted by a local contractor last year but was unsuccessful, so the company is bringing in specialists from the Lower 48.

“We just secured the services of Michels; they are a world class HDD contractor, and they do this type of drilling all over the world,” Starck said. “Fortunately for us, they were one of the pipeline contractors that were secured for the Keystone pipeline and now they’ve got some free space in their calendar, and they’re going to be coming up and helping us install our HDD under the Anchor River.”

Local companies will provide support for the HDD operation, Starck said.

Crews will be mobilizing in March to complete the pipeline work, and Hilcorp anticipates production form the pad will come online in the summer, she said, adding, “Once we get the pipeline in place, we’ll be drilling additional penetrations in Seaview to get more gas in to market.”

All in all, the Seaview prospect has progressed rapidly, Starck said.

“We flew the survey for Seaview back in 2017, so we drove strat tests in 2019,” she said. “It was actually pretty fast, because we were able to actually go ahead and drill the (Seaview 8 discovery well) at the end of ’19.”

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued approval in October for production from Seaview 8, noting “commercial quantities of gas in four zones in the Tyonek formation.”

Once it comes into production, Seaview will be the 16th field operated by Hilcorp in the Cook Inlet basin.

Gas and oil potential at Whiskey Gulch

Hilcorp is hoping the Whiskey Gulch exploration prospect, located three miles north of Anchor Point, can be developed into field number 17 for the company on the Kenai.

“The team is very excited about this one,” Starck said. “The thing that’s most exciting about this one is … it’s all on roads, with a very known, feasible connect point for Enstar, which gets that gas right off to market quickly; that being said, you’re still talking about two to three years between right of way, installation, and permitting.

“This is an exploration target for us; we found it doing a survey about four or five years ago and have slowly been identifying the structure and delineating what we want to go after here and seeing if there’s potential with further exploration activities.”

This summer Hilcorp will build a pad, and upgrade the access road to the prospect, she said.

“We’re going to drill a gas well out there and test gas; there’s also a potential for oil,” Starck said. “We don’t quite have that structure delineated as much as I’m comfortable with just yet, and so it’s possible we could go drill that deep oil well or put that off until 2022 development.”

In addition to the Whiskey Gulch gas well, Hilcorp will continue stratigraphic testing, with 20 penetrations north of Whiskey Gulch and south of Ninilchik, Starck said.

“There’s a prospect south of Ninilchik called Pearl that’s already been identified, but we’re continuing to strat test to look for additional gas along that same structural line,” she said. “Currently we’re looking at the northern section; we’ll be looking at those wells and drilling those strat tests in June, and then looking at the second tranche of them in August.”


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