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Repsol Predicts First Oil from Pikka Project in 2026

Aug 4, 2022 | Featured, News, Oil & Gas

Santos alaska headquarters

The former BP building in midtown Anchorage, now the Alaska headquarters of Santos, 51-percent owner of the Pikka Project. Repsol owns the other 49 percent.

Alaska Business

The timeline for the Pikka project appears to be slipping since the arrival of a new majority partner, Santos, late last year.

From 2025 to 2026

The Australian oil company acquired Papua New Guinea-based Oil Search in December, including its Alaska headquarters in the former BP building in Anchorage and a 51 percent stake in Pikka, a promising North Slope prospect west of ConocoPhillips’ Kuparuk unit.

The other 49 percent belongs to Spanish oil company Repsol. In a second-quarter earnings call last week, Repsol CEO Josu Jon Imaz said, “In Alaska, the final investment decision [FID] for the development of Pikka is expected to be taken this quarter, with first oil forecast in the first half of 2026.”

A year ago, before the Santos takeover, Oil Search had predicted first oil in 2025.

Santos had no comment on Repsol’s timeline, except to point to its own second quarter report, which states, “Pikka Phase 1 project in Alaska has received all major environmental and regulatory approvals and has sufficiently advanced FEED [front-end engineering design] work to achieve FID-ready status, as planned.” The same sentence appears in Santos’ first quarter report in April.

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Alaska Business August 2022 Cover

August 2022

Around that time, ConocoPhillips appealed a state permit for Pikka concerning the use of access roads across Kuparuk. Oil Search had rejected ConocoPhillips’ demand for $95 million in fees and instead sought a state permit that treats the roads as public right-of-way instead of private property, at least until the companies agree on a fee structure.

ConocoPhillips is also reportedly interested in acquiring a stake in Pikka, holding talks with Santos earlier this year. ExxonMobil and Chevron are also interested buyers, according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

$3 Billion Investment

Phase 1 of Pikka is an estimated $3 billion investment. After oil prices dropped in 2020, Oil Search scaled back previous plans for a $6 billion phase, which would’ve produced first oil in 2023.

A 2019 Clean Water Act permit allows for three drill sites for production and injection wells, a central processing facility, an operations center with a 200-bed camp, approximately 25 miles of roads, two bridges, and approximately 35 miles of pipelines.

Oil Search acquired the Pikka acreage from Repsol’s previous partner, Armstrong Energy, in 2018. At the time, the prospect was estimated to hold about 400 million barrels of oil as part of the Nanushuk formation, and production of 120,000 barrels per day was anticipated. The scaled-back Phase 1 calls for 80,000 barrels per day.

Alaska Business Magazine August 2022 cover

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