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ConocoPhillips Alaska to Restart North Slope Drilling in Mid-December

Nov 18, 2020 | Arctic, Featured, News, Oil & Gas

Greater Kuparuk Area


ConocoPhillips Alaska announced its plans to restart drilling projects on the North Slope beginning in mid-December. The action was announced by Joe Marushack, president, ConocoPhillips Alaska, while speaking at the Resource Development Council Annual Conference.

Marushack cited the defeat of Ballot Measure 1 as the main reason to restart drilling. “Since April when COVID-19 caused oil prices to drop and we were facing a potentially large increase in oil taxes, we’ve had no rigs running in the Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River, and Colville River Units,” he said. “But it’s now our plan, pending corporate budget approvals, to have three rigs total working in Kuparuk and Colville in the second half of 2021.”

The company plans to commission and start up Doyon 26, a new build extended reach drilling rig that will go to work in the Colville River Unit. Doyon 26 will begin drilling the Fiord West field from the Alpine CD2 drill site.

Drilling in the Kuparuk River Unit would include bringing a coiled tubing drilling rig back to the field, as well as a rotary rig workover program.

In addition to restarting drilling in the Kuparuk River and Colville River Units, the company plans to use Doyon 25 to start drilling the Greater Mooses Tooth 2 (GMT2) field in the first half of 2021.

Before moving to GMT2, Doyon 25 will drill several wells at the Alpine CD5 drill site before year end 2020.

Marushack noted each rig nominally employs about 100 people and each of those jobs supports multiple other jobs throughout the state economy. Marushack emphasized that with better oil prices and a stable, competitive fiscal framework, it is anticipated that more investment will make it back into the company’s plans, putting more Alaskans back to work.

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