Italian energy company Eni is quietly making a splash in global energy circles, including Alaska's North Slope oil patch. The company entered the area and began production in 2011, developing the Nikaitchuq field, which it fully owns and operates.
The field is located offshore in shallow water and is estimated to have recoverable reserves of 220 million barrels of oil and an operating life of thirty years. Eni plans to make the most of it, including using it as a base to reach nearby federal leases.
Eni is using several proprietary technologies, which combine a vertical depth of 4,000 feet with a horizontal reach of 20,000 feet, to extend its reach and reduce its footprint. The facilities were designed and built "using technology aimed at minimizing the impact on the environment," the company states. That includes zero flaring, pipe-in-pipe technology for hydrocarbon transportation, spill containment devices in all modules, and low emission turbine generators.
The company also partnered with Caelus Natural Resources for a 30 percent interest in the Oooguruk oil field, located just a few miles from Nikaitchuq.
Eni's was a low-key entry to Alaska--but there was more to come. In 2014, the company gained a new CEO dedicated to re-envisioning the company on principles based on efficiency, integration, and deployment of new technologies with the goal of becoming a global energy leader.
It wasn't long before Eni began to build on its small but strategic holdings in Alaska.
In August 2018, the company acquired 124 exploration leases, a total of about 350,000 acres, in the eastern North Slope region.
In January 2019, Eni announced it entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining 70 percent of Oooguruk from Caelus Natural Resources. Eni will also take over operations of the oilfield, located in the Beaufort Sea about two miles offshore. Oooguruk has been in production since 2008 and produces about 10,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
The field has twenty-five producing wells and fifteen gas/water injector wells. The facilities are on an artificial gravel island located in water about 10 feet deep with dry production trees.
In a news release, Eni says it plans to drill further production wells at both sites, with the goal of increasing its production to more than 30,000 bopd. From its offshore base on Spy Island, the company is using long-reach angled drilling to explore its federal leases.
Its recent moves in Alaska are part of an aggressive...