New Technologies Improve Alaska Oil & Gas Production

New Technologies Improve Alaska Oil & Gas Production

May 22, 2019

With 90% of Alaska’s state revenue driven by responsible resource extraction, it is always good news when companies across the state announce additional opportunities for increased production.

Recently, British Petroleum Alaska completed 3-D seismic testing, designed to find pockets of oil in the 40-year-old Prudhoe Bay oil fields. According to Janet Weiss, BP Alaska’s President, the goal of that endeavor and others is to extend the life of the field another 40 years.

“It’s about 40 more, it really is. When you think about Alaska in an energy renaissance, it’s really important to have the strength of that foundation. You’ve got to have a strong Prudhoe Bay; you’ve got to have a strong Kuparuk area to really help support the infrastructure it takes for all of the sexy development that’s going on right now,” Weiss said.

As the Alaska Journal of Commerce explains, in Cook Inlet, “BlueCrest is developing the Cosmopolitan oil and gas field near Anchor Point on the southern Kenai Peninsula.” The field “has long been known to hold significant resources, but development of Cosmo has been ongoing since 2001.”

To help spur the development, BlueCrest developed a technique called “fishboning”.  As the Alaska Journal of Commerce notes, “The ‘fishbone’ wells allow BlueCrest to punch numerous holes into Cosmo with fewer main wellbores and without fracking. By drilling up through the layers the company is ‘drilling the fractures.’”

Benjamin Johnson, the company’s CEO, recently noted to the Alaska Journal of Commerce that, “fishbone wells have increased oil production at Cosmo from a few hundred barrels per day in 2016 to between 1,800 to 2,000 barrels per day now…Over the next year Johnson said oil production could reach the 3,000 to 4,000 barrels per day range.”

Additional production – whether in legacy fields or new leases, whether from a well-established major or a new entrant to Alaska – allows the tens of thousands of Alaskans working directly and indirectly in the industry to have confidence in their career paths. To that, Power The Future welcomes this news and congratulates those companies whose technological breakthroughs are leading to an even brighter future for Alaska.