Far From Tapped Out: 2019 sees renewed vigor on the Slope.

AuthorMackenzie, Kathryn

Making predictions about when an oilfield will come online and how much oil that field will produce is an inexact science at best. The number of factors involved in successfully finding and extracting oil from start to finish is countless. Oil and gas exploration is dependent on climate, price volatility, budgetary restraints (both state and corporate), land access, permitting, safety requirements, technology, and... shall we go on? While it's close to impossible to say exactly how much oil will come from the North Slope in the coming years, it's roundly accepted the state will see a major uptick in activity in the region thanks in part to The More Alaska Production Act, also known as SB 21, which has drawn billions of dollars. in new investment to Alaska over the past several years, causing Alaska's major oil and gas players (and some newcomers) to invest their faith and money in the Alaska Arctic with new and ongoing projects.


ConocoPhillips increased its budget for its Alaska operations from $900 million last year to $1.2 billion this year, or about 20 percent of its total planned 2019 capital expenditures of $6.1 billion, reflecting "higher activity and higher working interest in existing fields and further exploration activity focused on appraising the successful Willow discovery," the company reports. The Willow prospect--located in the Bear Tooth Unit in the northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A)-is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) with first oil anticipated in 2024-2025.

The company is also developing Greater Mooses Tooth 2 (GMT2) following successful production last year at Greater Mooses Tooth 1 (GMT1) also located in NPR-A. The company expects GMT2 to produce 35,000 to 40,000 bopd via thirty-six initial wells, which may increase to forty-eight, at a cost of less than $1 billion, according to a company fact sheet. Plans call for GMT2 to connect to the Alpine production center "for processing via GMT1 and CD5 infrastructure." First oil at GMT2 is planned for late 2021.


Hilcorp Energy is developing its Moose Pad prospect in the Milne Point field. This marks the first new pad at Milne Point since 2002 and will be home to fifty wells, according to a presentation given to the Resource Development Council by David Wilkins, senior vice president of Hilcorp Alaska. Facility construction was 86 percent complete in late 2018 and the pad was set for first production...

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