Alaska in Brief

ConocoPhillips starts production at new Alpine satellite field

By: - May 21, 2022 6:00 am
The ConocoPhillips Alaska headquarters, seen here on April 8, 2020, looms over downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

The ConocoPhillips Alaska headquarters, seen here on April 8, 2020, looms over downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. announced Friday that it has started oil production at its Fiord West Kuparuk reservoir, a satellite of its Alpine field.

The start of oil flow followed the drilling of a well that ConocoPhillips said set an extended-reach record. The well was drilled about a month ago by Doyon 26, the largest mobile drill rig in North America and nicknamed “The Beast.”

The rig, owned by Doyon Drilling, is capable of drilling more than 40,000 feet, ConocoPhillips said. For Fiord West Kuparuk, it hit a distance of 35,526 feet, ConocoPhillips said. That is a distance record for a horizontal well drilled on land, the company said.

The well was drilled from the CD2 pad within the existing Colville River Unit, the company said.

“This project opens a new era we call ‘growth without gravel’ where we can use extended reach technology to access 60 percent more acreage from a single pad, dramatically reducing our footprint and enabling us to safely produce from environmentally sensitive areas,” Erec Isaacson, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, said in the company’s statement. 

Fiord West Kuparuk is located about 12 miles north of the village of Nuiqsut and is on state land just east of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, according to state information.

It is expected to produce 20,000 barrels per day at peak production, ConocoPhillips has said in the past.

Production started on Wednesday, and volume from the single well was already 10,000 barrels a day, the company said in its statement released on Friday.

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Yereth Rosen
Yereth Rosen

Yereth Rosen came to Alaska in 1987 to work for the Anchorage Times. She has been reporting on Alaska news ever since, covering stories ranging from oil spills to sled-dog races. She has reported for Reuters, for the Alaska Dispatch News, for Arctic Today and for other organizations. She covers environmental issues, energy, climate change, natural resources, economic and business news, health, science and Arctic concerns -- subjects with a lot of overlap. In her free time, she likes to ski and watch her son's hockey games.