ExxonMobil Corp. has resumed drilling for natural gas at Point Thomson on Alaska’s North Slope. Construction is ongoing to bring online an initial production system, the company said Thursday. Gas production could one day be liquefied and shipped to Asian markets.

“The Point Thomson field is a vital part of unlocking Alaska’s North Slope gas resources,” said Jim Flood, ExxonMobil Development Co. arctic vice president. “The initial production will give us invaluable insight into the potential development of the reservoir and help provide Alaskans with economic benefits.”

The initial production system is designed to produce up to 10,000 b/d of natural gas condensate and is scheduled for startup in 2016. Two injection wells will work in tandem with a production well, cycling up to 200 MMcf/d of natural gas through an onsite central processing facility. The condensate will then be transported by a 22-mile pipeline to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (see Daily GPI, Dec. 12, 2012).

The Point Thomson reservoir holds an estimated 8 Tcf of natural gas and associated condensate. The gas represents 25% of known gas resources on the North Slope and could be used to partially underpin the proposed Alaska LNG project (see Daily GPI, March 4; Feb. 11). Potential development will depend on a range of factors such as business considerations, investment climate and the fiscal and regulatory environment, ExxonMobil said.

As of year-end 2014, ExxonMobil and working interest owners have invested more than $2.6 billion in the development of Point Thomson, according to the company. About 70% of that amount has been spent in Alaska.

Point Thomson is located on state acreage along the Beaufort Sea, 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay and 60 miles west of the village of Kaktovik.

In a legal settlement resolving a lease dispute between Exxon, other Point Thomson leaseholders (ConocoPhillips, BP plc and Leede Operating Co.) and the state of Alaska, the initial production system was required to be online by winter 2015-2016, with additional provisions for full-scale development of the field (see Daily GPI, April 2, 2012).