Eni files plan to explore federal Arctic OCS leases

  • Two Crowley high-deck strength barges, 455-3 and Marty J, towed by tugs Warrior and Commander, are seen in 2011 transporting processing and utility modules, and other smaller structural components to support Eni’s development of the Nikaitchuq oil field at the manmade Spy Island in Alaska state waters. Eni has filed plans to drill into federal leases from the island. (Photo/Courtesy/Crowley Maritime Corp.)

Italian oil major Eni Petroleum is preparing to drill four exploration wells into offshore federal territory from its manmade North Slope island in state waters.

If approved by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the work program would take 18 months, according to the proposed work plan Eni submitted to the agency. The work would start with the drilling of the first well in December and end when the flow test of the final well is complete in May of 2019.

Eni is the sole owner and operator of the Nikaitchuq unit in state waters just offshore from the large Kuparuk River field. Drilling in the Nikaitchuq unit is conducted from the manmade Spy Island, which sits roughly in the center of the unit and is about halfway between the shore and the three-mile boundary that delineates near shore state and offshore federal waters.

The company has produced between 20,000 and 22,0000 barrels of oil per day from Spy Island in recent months.

In late February BOEM approved the Harrison Bay unit, which is comprised of 13 federal outer continental shelf leases.

Specifically, Eni is proposing to drill two main wellbores, each with a lateral sidetrack, from Spy Island that will reach seaward into the company’s federal Harrison Bay leases.

The first main bore well would be drilled and tested from December through March 2018. That would be followed by the drilling and flow testing of a sidetrack next spring as well.

The second set of wells would similarly be drilled and tested the following fall to spring.

Eni is planning to drill the main wells to depths of about 7,500 feet and 8,300 feet with the offshoots extending more than 20,000 feet to reach the targeted areas in the federal leases.

The drilling will be done with Doyon Drilling’s Rig 15, which is capable of drilling on an eight-foot well spacing pattern on the space-constrained gravel island, according to Eni’s exploration plan.

Spy Island has space for 36 producer and injector wells. It currently has 31 production and injection wells and one disposal well, according to Eni.

BOEM is soliciting public comments on Eni’s exploration drilling plan through July 3.

Elwood Brehmer can be reached at elwood.brehmer@alaskajournal.com.

Updated: 
06/21/2017 - 12:48pm

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