Savant takes over as operator of a North Slope field

Savant Alaska LLC has taken over as operator of the small Badami field east of Prudhoe Bay.

The previous operator, BP Exploration Alaska Inc., announced the change Oct. 16 in a communication with its employees.

Savant, based in Denver, Colo., has been redeveloping and drilling new wells at Badami, which is 25 miles east of Prudhoe, under a “farmout” arrangement with BP negotiated in 2008. BP developed Badami in 1998 and then shut the field in 2003 due to poor well performance and reservoir complications.

BP worked with the wells and restarted operations temporarily, and then suspended production again. The reservoir geology at Badami turned out to be more complex than anticipated.

Savant and Arctic Slope Regional Corp., its partner, began production again in late 2010 under the farmout with BP. Savant and ASRC drilled horizontal sidetrack wells from vertical wells drilled earlier by BP and also drilled a separate exploration well, which was successful.

Badami is currently producing about 1,500 barrels per day, Savant Vice President Greg Vigil said recently in an interview.

“Savant will now assume operation of the Badami plant and associated surface facilities that have been operated by BP and which were restarted in November 2010,” BP said in a notice sent to its Alaska employees. BP will continue to operate the field and provide support through a transition period, the company said.

“This is a good outcome for BP, Savant and the state of Alaska. BP will now be able to focus on its core North Slope assets,” BP said in the announcement.

The 25-mile Badami pipeline connecting the field to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is being operated at rates below its capacity, but the pipeline is considered key infrastructure that will be important for future development in the eastern North Slope and offshore federal Beaufort Sea leases where Shell plans to explore in 2012.

ExxonMobil and its partners, which include BP, are developing a gas cycling and condensate production project at Point Thomson, about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay and 35 miles east of Badami. That project will produce about 10,000 barrels per day of liquid condensate and transport it through a new pipeline that will connect with the existing Badami pipeline.

Meanwhile, Shell hopes to drill offshore exploration wells in 2012 in Camden Bay, which is north of Point Thomson. If a commercial discovery is made, the oil will be brought ashore and shipped to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline through the existing pipelines built east from Prudhoe Bay.

Tim Bradner can be reached at [email protected].

10/20/2011 - 12:23pm