SEARCH our ARCHIVE of over 14,000 articles
Vol. 25, No.37 Week of September 13, 2020
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Great Bear applies for two units: Borealis Alaska partner in Talitha

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, has received applications for the formation of two adjacent units on the North Slope south of Prudhoe Bay.

The applications are from Great Bear Petroleum Ventures I for the Alkaid unit and from a partnership of Great Bear Ventures II and Borealis Alaska to form the larger Talitha unit.

In its application Great Bear said the area around and including the two proposed units has had only sparse drilling, with fewer than 10 wells “penetrating the primary zones of interest at Alkaid and Talitha.”

Early activity included two wells drilled by ARCO “proximal to the Alkaid and Talitha projects,” the Toolik No. 1 and No. 2 wells drilled in 1969, both plugged and abandoned after reaching the targeted depth, which was equivalent to Kuparuk.

Great Bear said the early activity, from 1969-74, was “post Prudhoe discovery stepout drilling” dominated by ARCO “with tests that focused on expanding the Kuparuk River Unit play to the south and east.”

A second phase, driven by increased 2D seismic acquisition in the late 1970s through the early 1990ss in the central Slope area south of Kuparuk and Prudhoe, saw “continued focus on the Kuparuk and emerging interest in Brookian reservoirs.” Wells drilled included ARCO’s Pipeline State No. 1 in 1988, Conoco’s Sequoia No. 1 in 1992 and Eni’s Magiorre No. 1 in 2007.

Great Bear

Great Bear Petroleum said it “brought renewed focus to the Central North Slope area” beginning in 2010, and including five years of 3D data acquisition beginning in 2012, and two stratigraphic test wells in 2012, Alcor No. 1 and Merak No. 1, both drilled into the Ivishak formation with whole core samples taken from the Hue shale, GRZ-HRZ, Kingak, Shublik and Ivishak formations.

“Oil shows were recorded in Campanian and Kuparuk strata correlative to the reservoir zones at Alkaid and Talitha,” the company said.

By mid-2014, Great Bear said it had acquired, merged and uniformly processed three modern 3D datasets.

In the winter of 2014-15 the Alkaid No. 1 was drilled, targeting a Campanian age conventional reservoir. The plan was to go to total depth through the Kuparuk formation, but operational challenges and Sag River flooding of the Dalton Highway forced an end to drilling and the well was suspended.

The company said it continued expanding the 3D seismic dataset through 2015 and 2016 and in early 2019 Alkaid was reentered and flow tested, with a limited zone perforated and a sustained flow of 35 API oil.

Planned activities at Talitha

The application for the Talitha unit includes 16 leases, 44,463 acres, close to a square in shape with the Dalton Highway and the trans-Alaska oil pipeline at the eastern edge of the two most easterly leases. Great Bear holds an 89.2% working interest in the Talitha leases; Borealis Alaska holds a 10.8% interest. Five of the leases expire in April 2021, seven expire in November 2022 and four expire in January 2025.

Non-drilling activities planned over the next three years it plans include reprocessing some 50 square miles of 3D seismic, including pre-stack depth migration for the Talitha area, followed by drilling of Talitha A and Talitha B, winter drilling using ice roads and pads.

“They will be vertical wells drilled to the base of the Kuparuk sand.”

Great Bear said that based on results the wells could be suspended for potential use as producers.

Talitha A is scheduled for the winter of 2021, “pending fundraising,” spudding in February, with Talitha B scheduled for the winter of 2022, “pending fundraising,” Great Bear said.

A $3.3 million performance bond would be posted, no later than one year from the effective date of the agreement, or Sept. 15, whichever is earlier. “If the bond is not posted by the deadline, the unit automatically terminates.”

“One well must be drilled within two years, or two wells within four years to maintain the unit,” Great Bear said, with the bond to be surrendered if the wells are not drilled as proposed.

In its public notice the division said comments were due on the proposal by 4:30 p.m., Oct. 12.


The application for the Alkaid unit includes four leases, ADL 391701, 391704, 391706 and 391707, total of 22,804 acres. The leases form a block with the Dalton Highway running through three and the trans-Alaska oil pipeline running through two. Great Bear is 100% working interest owner in the leases, all of which have expiration dates of April 30, 2021.

The application was filed Aug. 26; comments are due by 4:30 p.m., Oct. 12.

Great Bear said it is reprocessing some 50 square miles of merged 2012-16 3D seismic datasets, work which will include pre-stack depth migration, something which has not previously been done for the Alkaid area.

In an exploration plan included with the unit application the company said: “This methodology, when combined with the logging while drilling data will reveal areas of better reservoir quality and assist in selecting the interval for the lateral drilling,” with the processing work to be completed prior to spudding the Alkaid No. 2 well, proposed for 2021.

Among other nondrilling activities, Great Bear said it would engage an outside engineering firm to study “a conceptual ‘hot tap’ of TAPS within or near the Alkaid and Talitha Units, working in close consultation with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.”

Proposed drilling

Great Bear is owned by Pantheon Resources.

Pat Galvin, chief commercial officer for the companies in Alaska, told Petroleum News in July: “Pantheon is speaking to a number of parties about partnering to jointly exploit and develop both of these projects,” referring to Alkaid and Talitha.

The plan in the unit application calls for construction of a gravel driveway and pad for the Alkaid No. 2 next June, mobilizing a rig to the well site in July, drilling in July and August, moving hydraulic fracturing equipment to the site in August, with fracture stimulation in August and September and a pilot production test from September to mid-2022.

The unit plan said the Alkaid No. 2 is expected to be a vertical well with long laterals and true vertical depth approximately 8,000 feet to the basin floor of the Brookian. The laterals will be some 10,000 feet and will be fracture stimulated.

Subject to results from the Alkaid No. 2 well, Alkaid No. 3 would be drilled in 2022, with gravel driveway and pad construction beginning in February, rig mobilization in March and April, drilling in April and May, mobilization of hydraulic fracturing equipment and hydraulic fracturing stimulation in May and June and a pilot production test beginning in June and running through late 2022.

In addition to results from the Alkaid No. 2, the company said “oil price expectations and anticipated fiscal and commercial terms” would also play a role in determining whether Alkaid No. 3 is drilled.

The true vertical depth of Alkaid No. 3 would also be some 8,000 feet to the basin floor of the Brookian; laterals will be some 10,000 feet in length, as with the Alkaid No. 2.

Unlike the Talitha unit application, the Alkaid unit application does not discuss bonding.

As with the Talitha application, comments were due on the proposal by 4:30 p.m., Oct. 12.


Did you find this article interesting?
Tweet it
Digg it

Click here to subscribe to Petroleum News for as low as $89 per year.

Petroleum News - Phone: 1-907 522-9469
[email protected] --- ---