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Vol. 25, No.20 Week of May 24, 2020
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

State approves Colville River unit POD

Division of Oil and Gas says it will work with ConocoPhillips on changes to work in plan necessitated by coronavirus pandemic

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas has approved ConocoPhillips Alaska’s 22nd plan of development for the Colville River unit.

The division said in its May 11 approval that it received the plan prior to major disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic - the POD was submitted March 16 - and said it “recognizes the possibility that operations described in the 22nd POD may not be completed during the specific POD time-frame due to the global (and by implication local) impact of the pandemic.” The division said it would support ConocoPhillips on “any plan changes necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of operations personnel, the physical and economic integrity of the facilities, and preservation of the surrounding environment.”

Accomplished in 21st POD

The PODs run from May 16 of one year to May 15 of the following year.

In the 21st POD, which covered 2019-20, the division said ConocoPhillips planned to drill up to 14 wells, including coil tubing sidetracks, a slant well and a vertical pilot well into the newly formed Fiord West Kuparuk participating area, Alpine PA producers and injectors, two Qannik wells and two Nanushuk wells.

“Wells actually drilled consisted of four Alpine wells, two Narwhal wells, one Fiord West Kuparuk well, and one Qannik well,” the division said.

In early April, ConocoPhillips Alaska announced it was demobilizing its North Slope rig fleet due to COVID-19 concerns, ending both exploration and development drilling (see story in April 12 edition of Petroleum News), and on April 30 ConocoPhillips announced company-wide production cuts for June, including a 100,000 barrel per day cut from the Colville River and Kuparuk River units, citing “unacceptably low oil prices resulting from global oil demand destruction caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a global over supply of oil.” (See story in May 3 edition of Petroleum News.)

22nd POD

In its 22nd POD, ConocoPhillips said it planned to drill as many as 21 wells in the unit during 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, including: nine Alpine rotary wells, three Alpine coil tubing sidetracks, four rotary wells into Fiord West Kuparuk, two coil tubing sidetracks into the Nanuq, one Qannik rotary well and one Narwhal rotary wells.

Construction activities were planned to begin on the Alpine gas expansion project, which will increase gas handling capacity; on the Alpine power expansion project to expand electrical power capability; and on the Alpine slug catcher project, which will add 1,200 barrels of system surge capacity to absorb liquid slugs and optimize flow of oil and water into the inlet separator.

The company also planned to progress preliminary engineering and design for a new drill site, CD8, to develop the fifth CRU expansion. The drill site will target the Narwhal reservoir.

Fifth expansion

The division said the DNR commissioner approved the fifth expansion of the Colville River unit in August 2017, subject to required work to keep the area within the unit.

To date ConocoPhillips has met each of the required milestones, the division said.

“Future plans include drilling additional wells, conducting pilot production from CD4 of the Narwhal formation, and planning for drill site CD8. These actions will fulfill the commitment to conducting operations during the 2021 POD period that will progress the fifth expansion area into sustained production,” the division said.

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