Caelus expands North Slope assets
Caelus Energy LLC has acquired a 75 percent working interest ownership in state-owned offshore Alaskan Beaufort Sea leases held by NordAq Energy, an Alaska independent based in Anchorage. The agreement was to be finalized on June 18, Caelus said in a press release.
The company owns and operates the small offshore Oooguruk field on the North Slope, and is also currently engaged in developing a new onshore production pad near that field, Nuna. Caelus acquired the Oooguruk and Nuna assets from Pioneer Natural Resources for $300 million in 2014.
The latest acquisition involves an interest in 26 leases covering 117,000 acres in Smith Bay, about 150 miles west of the Prudhoe Bay field on the Slope and offshore from the federal National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska.
NordAq acquired the leases, on what it calls the Tulimaniq prospect, in previous state lease sales. Under the agreement Caelus will become operator, with plans to drill one to two exploration wells this winter, according to the Caelus announcement.
“We’re extremely excited. The NordAq Energy team has done a great job of defining the geologic potential in Smith Bay,” said Caelus President and CEO James Mussleman. “Our team is ready to take the helm and get to work on exploring and appraising the Tulimaniq play.”
NordAq had planned to drill a well on the prospect last winter but had to delay the project. The company is active in exploring onshore leases in the NPR–A, which are not involved in the Cealus transaction, as well as exploration in the Cook Inlet basin in southern Alaska.
One gas discovery made by NordAq in Southcentral Alaska is on the Shadura prospect within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, on subsurface lands owned by Cook Inlet Region Inc. The company has not yet developed the discovery, however.
NordAq is also exploring on the west side of Cook Inlet.