Ahtna moving massive rig; BP releases economic impact report

  • The substructure of a massive, two-million pound drill rig stops at the Potter Marsh weight bridge on Sept. 13 en route to an Ahtna Inc. drill pad near Glennallen. The company is drilling for gas in the area. Photo/Courtesy/Ahtna Inc.

Tolsona Oil & Gas Exploration LLC, an Ahtna Inc. subsidiary, has begun mobilization of the Tolsona No.1 gas exploration well rig. The drilling program is starting two weeks later than planned to await availability of the rig.

A two-million pound drill rig, materials and rolling stock equipment is being transported from Kenai by Lynden Transport, requiring more than 40 truckloads. It is scheduled to arrive at the Tolsona four-acre drilling pad location, which is just north of Milepost 175 of the Glenn Highway and about 11.5 miles west of Glennallen, by Sept. 15.

Cruz Construction Inc. will be at the drill site early next week to set the cellar and conductor. Residents and visitors may see an increase in traffic and activity over the weekend and into early next week as the project is localized to the Tolsona pad and supported from the Ahtna 1-19 pad, about one mile down the road.

Ahtna Construction completed the road and pad work this spring, Ahtna Environmental Services is managing all contract opportunities, and Alaska-based contractors including Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska are providing drilling support services.

One exploratory well will be drilled at depths between 4,000 and 5,000 feet during a 36-day drilling program searching for natural gas. Drilling will wrap up and demobilization of the rig will take place near the end of October with test well results expected early this winter. 

Ahtna is actively recruiting shareholders to fill project support roles such as site safety, security and logistics. A drilling intern position is also open.

BP reports its economic impact

According to its “U.S. Economic Impact Report 2016,” released Sept. 12, BP injected $80 billion into the American economy last year, including supporting 16,200 jobs across the state of Alaska, down from 24,000 in 2014.

The economic impact report details BP’s investments and operations nationwide, including oil and gas exploration and production, fuel refining and technology research.

In 2015, BP directly employed 2,100 individuals in Alaska with another 6,000 contract workers. In early January 2016, the company announced a planned reduction in workforce, affecting 4,000 jobs globally and 270 employees in Alaska.

The company now directly employs about 14,000 individuals and supports 130,000 jobs in the U.S., with Alaska in the top two spot in terms of jobs, second only to Texas.

In 2015, BP spent $20 billion with 13,000 vendors in total; $1.3 billion was spent with 300 vendors in Alaska. The company also paid $263 million in taxes, royalties and other payments to the state, down from $2.5 billion from the previous year.

BP produced 643,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the U.S, representing roughly a quarter of the company’s global output — from fields in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to Alaska’s North Slope and across the Lower 48.

Currently, BP’s Greater Prudhoe Bay operations account for about 55 percent of Alaska’s oil and gas production. The area averaged 281,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in Alaska. BP has a 26 percent stake in the region, netting 108,000 boed.

According to the report, BP is also “trying to bring even more of Alaska’s natural gas resources to market through a liquefied natural gas project.” The LNG project, the report notes, could create up to 15,000 temporary construction jobs and an additional 1,000 permanent jobs in the state.

However, challenges exist, such as low oil prices and an increase in export projects.

“BP has a shared goal with Alaska to develop an economically viable LNG project,” said Janet Weiss, BP Alaska President (quoted in the report). “There has been a tremendous change in the economic environment but BP remains committed to trying to commercialize Alaska’s North Slope gas resources.”

Over the past five years, BP has donated $147 million to community programs, with close to $4.5 million donated in 2015 to hundreds of Alaska community organizations. BP’s Alaska employees also supported more than 800 community and education initiatives as well as 230 youth teams last year.

Since 1986, BP has awarded more than $3.5 million to 800 graduating high school seniors from across the state as part of the Principals’ and Commissioner’s Scholarship program.

In addition, since 2001, BP has contributed more than $30 million to the University of Alaska system while partnering with the university on research projects and providing internships for students.


09/16/2016 - 9:41am