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Eni submits Alaska drilling plans

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 13:35

Italian giant Eni has submitted its proposal to the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) for a drilling program offshore Alaska, from the man-made island, Spy Island Drillsite (SID) in the Beaufort Sea.

Map of SID, from Eni.

Eni’s proposed exploration plan (EP) is for the exploratory drilling of the company’s Nikaitchuq North Project, consisting of four exploration wells, two mainbores and two sidetracks from the Italian giant’s existing SID man-made gravel island, on the State of Alaska lease.

SID is about 3mi offshore of Oliktok Point, just south of the natural barrier island, Spy Island, in shallow water depths of 6-8ft.

The proposed wildcats will begin from the surface of SID and extend subsurface of the ocean floor, ending in federal leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of Alaska – Harrison Bay Block 6423 Unit (Leases OCS-Y-1753, OCS-Y-1754, and OCS-Y-1757). Exploration drilling activities proposed under this EP are scheduled to start at the end this year on 10 December, and continue into 2019. Eni anticipates using the Doyon Rig 15 for drilling operations.  

BOEM now has 30 calendar days to evaluate the EP in accordance with federal law and regulations.

BOEM says its evaluation will include a site-specific environmental assessment of the proposed exploration activities pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. By the end of the 30-day period BOEM may approve the EP, require modifications to the EP, or disapprove the EP.

In addition to an approved EP, Eni is responsible for procuring all appropriate permits from other state and federal agencies, according to BOEM.

SID supports drilling and production operations in the Nikaitchuq Unit, and has 36 slots for producers and injectors, and slots for two Class I disposal wells. The current SID wells drilled include: 18 production wells (9 dual-laterals); 13 injection wells; and one Class I disposal well/waste injection facility.

There are currently four oil and gas producing islands in the waters of the Beaufort Sea: Spy Island, Northstar Island, Endicott Island, and Oooguruk Island. The construction of a fifth island, as proposed in a DPP submitted to BOEM by Hilcorp Alaska, is under review by federal agencies.

Map of Nikaitchuq, from Eni.

The history of Nikaitchuq

In 2007, Eni gained 100% ownership in the Nikaitchuq Field, in the on- and ­offshore of Alaka’s North Slope from Anadarko subsidiary Kerr-McGee.

The Nikaitchuq North Exploration Drilling Project is in federal OCS water of Harrison Bay and Beechey Point areas of the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska. The exploration project is about 6mi offshore from Eni’s SID and approximately 10mi from Oliktok Point.

The Nikaitchuq offshore arctic flowline system extends from a gravel island drill site near Spy Island in eastern Harrison Bay to a new onshore crude oil processing facility at Oliktok Point.

Nikaitchuq is estimated to hold about 220 MMbbl in two reservoirs. Production at the site started in January 2011. According to Eni, the current Nikaitchuq production is approximately 25,000 b/d from 70 wellbores drilled from OPP and SID.

In 2008, Eni began Nikaitchuq development construction activities, which included an onshore production and processing facility named Oliktok Point Pad (OPP) at Oliktok Point, Alaska and a single man-made gravel island named SID just south of the Spy Island barrier island. Additional facilities include a subsea pipeline bundle from SID to OPP. Eni’s production from OPP and SID is transported from Oliktok Point through a 14mi aboveground transmission pipeline that ties in to ConocoPhillips Alaska’s (CPAI) Kuparuk River Unit pipeline for delivery to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

Nikaitchuq Development construction of OPP was completed in late 2010, with construction activities of SID completed in 2011.

First oil from OPP was in January 2011, with production starting from SID in November 2011.

From 2011 through 2015, Eni has drilled a total of 23 wells in State of Alaska leases from OPP; 11 production wells, 8 injection wells, three water source wells, and one disposal well. From late 2011 through 2015, Eni has drilled a total of 32 wells in State of Alaska leases from SID: 18 production wells, 13 injection wells, and one disposal well.

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