ExxonMobil Production Co. has drilled and tested the second of two development wells for the Point Thomson project on Alaska's North Slope, ahead of its year-end 2010 target, the company said Wednesday.

"The successful drilling and testing of these wells represents a significant accomplishment and demonstrates we are delivering on our commitments," said Alaska Production Manager Dale Pittman. "We are continuing to work with the state of Alaska to resolve outstanding issues in order to maintain the pace and momentum of Point Thomson development. Point Thomson gas is critical to the success of an Alaska gas pipeline project" (see Daily GPI, Oct. 7).

Point Thomson is a natural gas and condensate field about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. It is estimated to hold about 25% of the North Slope's discovered gas resources, according to the company.

The two wells -- PTU-15 and PTU-16 -- were drilled to a measured depth of more than 16,000 feet. The shore-based rig drilled directionally under the Beaufort Sea to the targeted gas reservoir more than 1.5 miles offshore. PTU-15 was drilled and cased in February (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9).

Concurrent with the drilling of the two development wells, activities are also focused on engineering and environmental permitting. To date about $1.5 billion, including more than $730 million in the last two years, has been invested in Point Thomson, ExxonMobil said.

The Point Thomson project includes gas cycling facilities designed to recover hydrocarbon liquids and reinject gas back into the reservoir, "making Point Thomson the highest-pressure gas cycling operation in the world."

Preparation of the environmental impact statement and design work on the facilities are now well advanced, ExxonMobil said.

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