New technology boosts Alaska oil resources: Fuel for Thought

Rapid technology advances are allowing explorers and producers in Alaska to add hundreds of millions of barrels of new resources to portfolios at a cost competitive with finding oil the Lower 48 states. Chief among the technologies being used are advanced 3-D seismic and new data processing techniques, to define and map oil deposits in geological formations that have long been known, but were thought to be unproductive. <!–more–>Companies are also using advances in horizontal drilling techniques to reach deposits. In the last two years, over 1.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil has been found mainly in the west central North Slope and northeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, areas companies have explored for years. New exploration and delineation drilling planned this winter is expected to add to newly discovered resources. ConocoPhillips has been the most aggressive of the new explorers but independents like Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas, in partnership with Repsol, have made major discoveries. Earlier this year Armstrong sold its 51% share of Pikka, one of its discoveries, to Oil Search, which is now project operator. Pikka’s resources are estimated at 750 million barrels and Oil Search hopes to expand these to over 1 billion barrels after further drilling.… continue reading

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