Keep your eye on the prize. Alaska officials will allow ConocoPhillips to expand an existing North Slope oil field into an area near big discoveries, but only if it agrees to development steps that include drilling a well by June and possibly paying the state millions of dollars. The payments total $7 million if ConocoPhillips plans to bring the new leases into production in the coming years. They are meant to replace revenue that Alaska might have made had it auctioned the Tofkat area in a competitive lease.
The beginning of the end. Two years ago, Royal Dutch Shell gave up drilling in the Arctic. It came across a dry hole and decided the enormous risks and expense weren’t justified. Someone wasn’t listening. In July, the Trump administration approved Eni SpA’s plans to start drilling in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. Eni proposed to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that starting on 10th December 2017 it develop four exploratory wells drilled from Spy Island. They would be the longest extended-reach wells in Alaska, going for six miles horizontally. Reuters and other news agencies were unable to get Eni to comment on the story and there is no mention of it on the company’s website. It’s not the complete end of President Obama’s ban on Arctic drilling introduced last year– he had decreed no new leases would be issued but Eni was exempt, having already had this lease in place – for a decade. It would have expired at the end of this year had they not been acted on. But many see it as the beginning of the end. As we know, President Trump has vowed to make America energy-secure and he’s pursuing this through renewed commitments to fossil fuels over renewables.
Cryogenic fluids in fracking. High-energy gas fracturing is a method that offers the alluring possibility of eliminating the use of water, the sourcing and disposal of which—as proliferating offers of solutions indicate—is a major headache in hydraulic fracturing. But, it’s not the only potential alternative that could make an end run around water. There are more, and several of these are particularly interesting. Today, let’s take a look at a few, courtesy of “An overview of hydraulic fracturing and other formation stimulation technologies for shale gas production,” issued by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre Institute for Energy and Transport. It’s quite a catalog. You never know; as technologies advance and requirements change, maybe one or more of these will get mainstreamed.
Tribe representation at the table. The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group hired its first full-time employee, they announced in an Aug. 1 press release. One of her first tasks will be to secure the tribes a stronger voice in inter-governmental talks about a series of large Canadian mining projects upriver from salmon habitat on the Stikine, Unuk and Taku River watersheds. Based out of Wrangell, coordinator Tis Peterman will head up efforts to raise the tribes’ voice in ongoing discussions over the mines. Peterman is working on a Memorandum of Understanding, which would give the tribes a position alongside the state of Alaska and British Columbia in meetings about the controversial mining projects.
Alaska gives ConocoPhillips a shot at drilling prized oil prospect
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, August 6, 2017
Eni’s Arctic Risk Could Pay Off
OilPrice.com, Precise Consultants, August 6, 2017
What’s New in Production
World Oil Magazine, Don Francis, July 2017
Tribes hire coordinator to battle B.C. mines
Juneau Empire, Kevin Gullufsen, August 7, 2017