ExxonMobil moving in rig at Point Thomson

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 23 -- ExxonMobil Production Co. has mobilized the drilling rig for the Point Thomson Project.

The rig, owned by Nabors Alaska, has been upgraded to drill the high pressure wells at Point Thomson. It was moved from Deadhorse to the drilling site in modules, some weighing more than 1 million lb.

No permanent roads exist to Point Thomson, so Fairweather E&P Services Inc. and Nanuq/AFC constructed more than 30 miles of ice road to enable the transport of heavy equipment and materials while protecting the North Slope environment. Most of the ice road follows the Beaufort Sea shore.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources authorized the ice road permits on Jan. 27, 2009, allowing mobilization of the rig, and provided guidance to other regulatory agencies to expedite permitting to allow drilling to begin.

Craig Haymes, Alaska production manager for ExxonMobil, said, "We are moving forward with drilling and development activities at Point Thomson, for the mutual benefit of Alaskans and the Point Thomson Unit working interest owners. DNR staff and other local, state, and federal agencies have worked tirelessly to process permits necessary to allow drilling to begin.

"We are on schedule to begin production at Point Thomson by yearend 2014 and look forward to working with the state to resolve the remaining Point Thomson issues to ensure the project schedule is not impacted.

"Construction crews recently completed the final installation of camps and support facilities at the existing gravel pad to accept the rig. Over 250 people will work on these drilling operations, with an average of over 500 people at yearend 2014, when we expect to begin production," Haymes said.

The initial phase of the project will process 200 MMcfd of Point Thomson gas in order to produce 10,000 b/d of condensate into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System by the end of 2014. The remaining gas will be recycled into the Point Thomson reservoir.

The Point Thomson Unit working interest owners committed $120 million to the drilling and development activities in 2008, with additional investments of about $250 million expected in 2009.

In addition to ExxonMobil, the other major Point Thomson owners participating in the current drilling and development activity include BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc.

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