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Gull Island
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this one is a Quagmire - Starstuff

Baptist missionary Lindsey Williams

The Energy Non-Crisis the book, online for free

Gull Island buzz: 200 years of oil from Alaska’s North Slope?

...So what are the facts concerning oil drilling at Gull Island?
There have been three wells drilled from the island. And, although these wells were tight at the time of the drilling, the data from the wells are now in the public record. Williams’ supposed Gull Island field discovery presumably relates to the Gull Island State No. 1 well, completed and suspended by ARCO in 1976.

In a response to Rep. Stump’s 1981 letter AOGCC Commissioner Harry Kugler set the record straight on the two Gull Island wells that had been drilled at that time (Gull Island State No. 3 wasn’t drilled until 1992). The Gull Island No. 1 well tested 1,144 barrels of oil per day in “the equivalent of the North Prudhoe Bay (Permo-Triassic) reservoir,” while the Gull Island No. 2 well tested 2,971 barrels of oil per day from the Lisburne, Kugler said.

“We do not believe the evidence from these two wells indicates a massive new oil find,” Kugler said. “Additional wells will have to be drilled and additional studies made before the economic feasibility of developing these known reservoirs is determined.”

Geologist Peter Barker didn’t sit in on senior oil company executive board meetings, but he did sit the Gull Island No. 1 well in 1976 (“sitting a well” is geologist speak for monitoring and interpreting the geologic evidence from a well while the well is being drilled). The objective of the Gull Island drilling was to test a deep structure on the north side of a geologic fault, to the north of the Prudhoe Bay field, Barker told Petroleum News July 7. The drilling proved disappointing, he said.

“There was an (oil and gas) trap there but there wasn’t an economic quantity of oil,” he said.

However, the drilling team did recover a beautiful core sample from the Ivishak formation, the main reservoir rock in the Prudhoe Bay field. Because Gull Island is closer to the inferred source of the sand that constitutes the Ivishak sandstone, the sandstone is coarser grained at Gull Island than in the Prudhoe Bay field, Barker said.

Barker said that the drilling results were extremely confidential at the time of drilling — the critical data display instrumentation was even covered, to prevent unauthorized viewing of data. “We ran it as a very tight hole,” he said. “… There was no information that got out of there.”

In fact, the electric well logs were taken off the North Slope in a very secure manner and were unlikely to have even been seen in ARCO’s North Slope camp, Barker said.

Long-time Alaska geologist David Hite also sat the well briefly and told Petroleum News that only ARCO personnel were allowed on the rig and rig floor. If necessary, one expert from the mud logging company was allowed to come in to troubleshoot the mud logging, Hite said. And Barker recalls the expert having to determine, without being allowed to see the instrumentation, why the gas detectors failed to signal gas as the well penetrated the Sag River formation, the uppermost reservoir rock at Prudhoe Bay. It turned out that mud from the well had formed a dam, blocking new mud from reaching the detectors, Barker said.

Ken Bird, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist and an expert on North Slope geology, provided Petroleum News with some geologic perspective on the Gull Island drilling.

“Three directional wells have been drilled from Gull Island in Prudhoe Bay to different subsurface targets, all of which tested different geologic ‘prospects’ in and beyond the northern boundary of the earlier discovered Prudhoe Bay oil and gas accumulation,” Bird said.

The Gull Island State No. 1 well drilled a faulted block of rock known as a horst and recovered oil from a very thin, 9-foot-thick interval at the base of the Shublik formation, Bird said. Gull Island State No. 2, completed in 1977, was deviated to the southeast to delineate the gas cap of the previously discovered Prudhoe Bay field and the underlying Lisburne oil pool, he said. The Gull Island State No. 3 well drilled in 1992 targeted a Cretaceous horizon in an area between the two older wells but proved to be a dry hole, Bird said.

Since 1980 at least four oil pools, the West Beach, Niakuk, Point McIntyre and North Prudhoe pools, as well as Prudhoe Bay satellites, have been delineated and developed in the area immediately around the Gull Island wells, Bird said. The four pools in the immediate Gull Island area are all currently in production: According to Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas 2007 annual report, Point McIntyre had a cumulative production of 395.6 million barrels of oil at the end of 2006, with 164 million barrels of remaining reserves. The other three pools are much smaller than Point McIntyre.

“Both the geologic evidence and the small area not yet developed into oil fields around the Gull Island wells preclude the possibility of a giant oil accumulation,” Bird said....

Posted on: Oct. 24, 2008 6:23pm,UTC
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