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BP Assess Potential Energy Resource On Alaska North Slope


Milne Point, Alaska - BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. successfully drilled a research well on the North Slope in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey to collect samples and gather knowledge about gas hydrate, a potential long-term unconventional gas energy resource.

The stratigraphic test well enabled BP and the Department of Energy to gather core, log, reservoir performance and fluid data from an ice pad location at Milne Point.

“With this project, we have significantly increased our understanding of gas hydrate-bearing formations on the Alaska North Slope,” said Scott Digert, BP resource manager and the project’s technical adviser. “The results also illustrate the value of collaborative research,” he said.
This test well is part of the ongoing research partnership between BP and the Department of Energy, which began in 2002.

Known deposits of methane hydrate in Alaska and other parts of the world are enormous. However, the challenge is finding the technology to unlock the energy, to separate the natural gas from the solid gas-water-ice “clathrate” in which it occurs.

The DOE has identified gas hydrate as a research target and funded the estimated $4.6 million cost of drilling the Milne test well. BP contributed seismic data, staffing and program oversight. The on-site coring and data team included scientists from the USGS, DOE, Oregon State University and an observer from India’s hydrate program.

Drilling crews and research team members collected about 430 feet of core samples. The cylindrical core segments, about 3 inches in diameter, were initially subsampled and analyzed on site due to the time-and temperature-dependent data requirements. They will be shipped to Anchorage for temporary storage before being distributed to gas hydrate researchers around the country. Subsequent data collection and analysis will continue for several months. A report of findings will be released thereafter.

This well provided a stratigraphic test of interpreted gas hydrate accumulations from Milne seismic and well data. Core, wireline logs, and wireline down hole testing will help assess gas hydrate-bearing sediment, shallow reservoirs, and fluid properties.


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