Pioneer Natural Resources plans first wells in Alaska this winter

Pioneer Natural Resources signed an agreement with Armstrong Resources that will give 70% working interest and operatorship in 10 state leases covering 14,000 acres on Alaska's North Slope to Pioneer.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 25 -- Dallas-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has signed an agreement with Armstrong Resources LLC of Denver that will give 70% working interest and operatorship in 10 state leases covering 14,000 acres on Alaska's North Slope to Pioneer.

The offshore leases lie in 5-10 ft of water between the Kuparuk River unit, which was discovered in 1969, and Thetis Island.

This winter, Pioneer said it planed to drill as many as 3 wells to test the area. Although work is contingent upon receipt of the required permits, Pioneer believes the area to be prospective for oil in the same sands as the offsetting Kuparuk River unit, 8-10 miles to the southeast.

The Kuparuk River unit is estimated to hold 2.5 billion bbl of recoverable oil. "No wells have been drilled on the acreage covered by Pioneer's leases to date, but wells drilled just outside the perimeter of the acreage have encountered the primary target, the Kuparuk 'C' sands, and were oil-bearing," the company said.

Pioneer said that no tundra travel is planned. "Drilling plans call for grounded sea ice pad locations that will be accessed via ice roads from Oliktok Point dock. All sea ice operations are expected to be completed by the end of March," the company said.

Pioneer's agreement with Armstrong becomes effective Nov. 1.

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