Petro-Canada spuds first well in 20 years in Mackenzie Delta Arctic

Petro-Canada, Calgary, planned to spud the first exploration well two decades Saturday in Canada�s Mackenzie Delta Arctic region, north of Inuvik, NWT. The project, 80 miles north of Inuvik, was originally scheduled to start Feb. 1 but was delayed by warm weather that prevented movement of heavy equipment to the site on an ice road.


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

CALGARY, Feb. 12�Petro-Canada, Calgary, planned to spud the first exploration well two decades Saturday in Canada�s Mackenzie Delta Arctic region, north of Inuvik, NWT.

The project, 80 miles north of Inuvik, was scheduled to start Feb. 1 but was delayed by warm weather that prevented movement of heavy equipment to the site on an ice road. Contractor Akita Drilling Ltd., Calgary, dismantled some heavy equipment and flooded parts of the road with water to thicken the ice so that equipment could be trucked to the location.

Petro-Canada and partner Anderson Exploration Ltd. estimate the test, targeted for 8,200 ft, could cost up to $23 million (Can.). Anderson has a 40% interest in the project, which will be the only well drilled this winter in the Delta.

Extensive seismic work has been done by a number of companies, and four more wells are planned next winter in the gas-prone region.

Onshore exploration was halted in 1977 after an inquiry recommended a moratorium on drilling in the region while aboriginal land claims were settled. Development at that time also faced opposition from environmental groups as well as poor economics, which would not support a pipeline.

Exploration companies hold more than 6 tcf of gas reserves in the area and strong gas demand has renewed plans for development.

A group headed by ExxonMobil Corp.'s Canadian unit, Imperial Oil Ltd. of Toronto, is studying feasibility of a pipeline to connect with lines in northern Alberta to gas markets in the US and Canada.

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