Abstract.

The Prudhoe Bay Field is the largest and most prolific of US oil fields. It has been the subject of intensive geologic and engineering analysis, both to determine in-piace volumes and to develop an operating pian for the field. Joint geologic and engineering studies were of critical importance in developing the reservoir description. These studies have provided the data necessary for the mathematical and computer models that have been used to develop operating plans for efficient production of the field. This paper discusses the geology of the Sadlerochit Reservoir and the studies conducted to develop an operating plan. It also overviews the unique management structure developed by the Owners of the Prudhoe Bay Unit and the actual field development and reservoir performance.

Résumé.

Le gisement de pétrole de Prudhoe Bay est le plus grand et le plus prolifique des Etats-Unis. I1 a fait l'objet d'études géologiques et d'ingénierie intensives dans le but de déterminer les réserves en place et de développer un pian d'exploitation. Ces études ont été d'une importance critique pour la mise au point dune description du gisement. Elles ont fourni les données nécessaires pour des modèles mathématiques et informatisés qui ont été utilisés pour élaborer une stratégie opérationnelle d'exploitation du gisement. La communication examine la géologie du réservoir de Sadlerochit et les études effectuées pour élaborer une stratégie d'exploitation. On étudie également la structure exceptionnelle de gestion mise au point par les titulaires de la concession de Prudhoe Bay ainsi que le développement réel du gisement et le comportement du réservoir.

1. INTRODUCTION

(DISCOVERY AND RESERVES) The Prudhoe Bay Field is located on the north coast of Alaska and is one of the northern most oil fields in the world. Its location is shown on Fig. 1 (Eastern Arctic Slope). The Field was discovered in 1968, and subsequent drilling has confirmed that it is the largest oil and gas field in North America. It is approximately 13 miles by 32 miles (21 kmX 52 km) in area1 extent and has approximately 150 O00 productive acres (607 km*). Prudhoe Bay's initial in-place volumes were approximately 22 billion stock tank barrels of oil (3.5 X lo9 stock-tank m3) and 47 trillion standard cubic feet of gas (1.3 X 10" standard m'). Offtake is 1.5 million barrels per day (238 X 103m3/d), or approximately 18% of US oil production.

Shortly after discovery, the major working interest owners recognized the benefits of operating the field as a unit. Unitization negotiations were begun in 1969. The Prudhoe Bay Unit, which is operated by ARCO Alaska, Inc., and Sohio Alaska Petroleum Company, became effective on April 1, 1977. It is one of the f

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