Phillips Alaska, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum Co., and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. jointly announced last week the first discoveries in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) since the area was re-opened to exploration in 1999. The NPR-A is situated west of the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope.

Over the past two winter drilling seasons, the companies said six wells and a sidetrack have been drilled in the area. Of that, five wells and the sidetrack all encountered oil or gas and condensate. The wells include Spark No. 1, Spark No. 1A, Moose’s Tooth C, Lookout No. 1, Rendezvous A and Rendezvous No. 2. Phillips and Anadarko reported that a sixth well, targeting a different interval, was a dry hole.

“These discoveries mark an important milestone in the Alaska oil industry,” said Kevin Meyers, president of Phillips Alaska. “Though the results are preliminary, we’re confident the discoveries will prove to be of commercial quantities. We believe that the five successful wells have encountered three separate hydrocarbon accumulations.”

The Bush Administration shares the same optimism about the area, recommending recently that the Interior Department plan for further leasing in the NPR-A.

Extensive testing of the Spark no. 1A revealed 1,550 bbl/d of liquid hydrocarbons and 26.5 MMcf/d of gas at a flowing tubing pressure of 1,500 psig, while the Rendezvous A well tested at an unstimulated rate of 360 bbl/d of liquid hydrocarbons and 6.6 MMcf/d of gas. The three other wells were temporarily suspended to allow further evaluation next season, the companies said.

Phillips and Anadarko said the new discoveries are located from 15 to 25 miles southwest of the 430 million barrel Alpine oil field, which currently is producing 80,000 bbl/d. Extensive environmental and logistical studies are scheduled to be conducted in the area this summer. Ownership in the new NPR-A leases and the Alpine field are Phillips (operator), 78% and Anadarko, 22%.

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