North Slope Exploration Venture Draws BP

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has joined the partnership of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Alberta Energy Company Ltd. in an exploration venture on more than three million acres of the foothills region. The three have already begun work in the first North Slope exploration plan focused on natural gas recovery, an area with reserves of 35 Tcf.

Under terms of the agreement, BP acquired a one-third interest in Anadarko's three-year-old agreement with Arctic Slope Regional Corp., an Inupiat Eskimo group, for an undisclosed amount. In exchange, BP will give Anadarko an interest in a satellite prospect located near Prudhoe Bay as well as an interest in some seismic surveys conducted on the North Slope.

BP also will buy for an undisclosed amount a third interest in exploration rights to nearly 230,000 acres of state lands on the North Slope leased last year by Anadarko and AEC (see NGI, Sept. 4, 2000).

"We see a lot of potential there to help meet the increasing demand for natural gas in the Lower 48," said Anadarko COO John N. Seitz, and noted that BP already was a "major producer on the Slope." No timetable was released on when additional exploration and production would begin.

Several seismic surveys have already begun, with Anadarko as operator and each company holding a one-third interest in the joint program. The territory is in the foothills area of the Brooks Range region of the North Slope, south of the existing producers' fields. It stretches east to west for about 250 miles from the Colville River to the Canning River.

Several Calgary-based producers, including AEC Oil & Gas (USA), also are teaming up in various ventures to explore areas of Alaska's North Slope (see NGI, Aug. 7, 2000). AEC farmed into a drilling play on land and offshore in shallow waters near the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. AEC's agreement with Phillips Alaska and Chevron U.S.A. covers about 220 square miles of hunting grounds, including McCovey offshore and Grizzly Gomo on the North Slope.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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