Perhaps offering a harbinger of some increased interest for natural gas exploration in California, a publicly held Los Angeles-based independent, Silver Star Energy, Inc., announced Tuesday it will drill a test well in part of the widespread, but mature, dry gas field in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California, between Stockton and Sacramento.

Estimates are for a 40.5 Bcf find, according to Silver Star’s geologist/president, Robert McIntosh. A test well in the North Franklin area on a 1,000-acre lease will begin by the first week in May and by the end of that month Silver Star should know whether it has a commercial well, McIntosh said during a brief interview with NGI on Tuesday.

Located adjacent to the Staten Island field that has produced 50 Bcf, McIntosh said Silver Star accumulated what he called “pretty significant data” on the North Franklin Project, and it has a “very high probability” of proving successful.

The test well is less than five miles from a tie-in with the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. transmission pipeline system and there are existing pipes to take the supplies directly to a nearby electric generating plant just south of Sacramento, according to Silver Star, which has existing oil and gas production in Alberta, Canada and California.

In addition to the Sacramento Basin play, McIntosh said his company is looking at the possibility of another drilling project in California that could have as much as 280 Bcf potential. For proprietary reasons, he declined to specify what part of the state this potential find was located.

Silver Star has a 90% stake in the Sacramento play, which could bring up to 7 MMcf/d. The rest of the interest in held jointly by Archer Exploration, Inc. and the project operator, Longbow LLC, Bakersfield, CA. Silver Star maintains an office in Bakersfield, along with its Los Angeles headquarters.

McIntosh said he hopes the company can use success in the Sacramento Basin field to establish itself as “a significant explorer and developer of natural gas in California.”

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