ExxonMobil lets new contracts for Point Thomson field work
ExxonMobil Corp. announced Sept. 13 that major new contracts for the Point Thomson field construction have been let. Contracts were awarded to CH2M Hill for installation of production system modules and also to manufacture and install a standby power generation module for the gas and condensate field on the North Slope.
The contracts were let by Worley Parsons Group Inc., the primary construction management contractor for ExxonMobil on the field.
Point Thomson is a large gas and condensate field 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. ExxonMobil, majority owner of the field, has been leading development of a gas cycling and condensate production project at the field which is expected to begin production in late 2015 or early 2016, according to ExxonMobil spokeswoman Kim Jordan.
BP and ConocoPhillips are minority owners in Point Thomson leases.
CH2M Hill, a major oil field services company, will work in a partnership with ASRC Energy and Delta Construction on the project.
CH2M Hill is best known for its civil engineering work but the company made a major expansion into oilfield service and construction when it acquired VECO Corp., an Alaskan service company.
VECO has been involved in most of the installation and hook-up of large North Slope oil field production modules over the years and has also constructed large field production modules in Alaska, as has ASRC Energy.
Construction started at Point Thomson last winter with completion of gravel pads and roads at the site along with vertical support members for a new pipeline that will connect the field to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System at Prudhoe Bay.
The permanent camp for the field was completed this summer, along with telecommunications links, ExxonMobil announced in a press release.
“ExxonMobil is strongly committed to hiring Alaskans and, with its contractors, employed more than 1,100 Alaskans during the 2013 winter construction season,” said Gina Dickerson, senior project manager at Point Thomson.
This summer, about 500 were employed at the peak of activity, she said.
Alaska Frontier Constructors was involved in completing the site airstrip last winter and finishing construction of a service pier. A permanent camp, providing meals and housing to project workers, was built and is now fully operational.
Telecommunications and power systems at Point Thomson are now complete. More than 35 Alaska companies worked on the project this summer, Dickerson said.
This winter, the 22-mile pipeline will be built, providing a connection to an existing 25-mile pipeline at the Badami field that will allow liquid condensates from Point Thomson to be transported to Prudhoe Bay. More than 2,200 vertical support members for the pipeline were installed last winter by the pipeline subsidiary of Doyon Ltd., based in Fairbanks.
When Point Thomson is finished, about 10,000 barrels per day of condensates will be moved from Point Thomson to TAPS Pump Station One where the condensates will be blended with crude oil for shipment to market.
The project now under development is considered phase one of Point Thomson development, ExxonMobil has said previously. If the gas cycling project works as expected, the condensate production could be increased in an expansion.
Alternatively, the project could be converted to straight gas production with gas shipped to Prudhoe Bay to help maintain reservoir pressure for oil production.
Point Thomson could also supply gas for a future North Slope gas pipeline that is proposed, if it is built.
Point Thomson has about 8 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves of gas, about 200 million barrels of condensate, and holds additional conventional oil resources. The deposit was discovered in the 1970s and explored in the 1980s and 1990s, but development has been delayed because of the lack of a gas pipeline and because of technical and economic challenges.
The gas cycling approach, which involves production of gas and liquid condensates with the gas injected back underground, was studied in the late 1990s, but the conclusion was that it would not be economic. The State of Alaska pressed the Point Thomson leaseowners to reconsider the plan and the companies agreed to develop a scaled-down version of the cycling project envisioned in the late 1990s.
This is now under construction. ExxonMobil would not release cost estimates for the current Point Thomson development, but did say it will total several billion dollars.
Aside from production of the condensates, development of the field is significant because it will extend pipeline infrastructure to the eastern North Slope, which will aid in development of conventional oil resources in the area.
Shell is also exploring offshore north of the Point Thomson area.
“Point Thomson’s infrastructure can help unlock the eastern portion of the North Slope for expanded exploration and development activity,” Dickerson said in a statement.
“Along with our contractors and partners, we’re very proud to be building a project on the North Slope that will significantly contribute to realizing Alaska’s full energy potential.”
Tim Bradner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.