In his introduction, the Chairman welcomed the audience to the Round Table Discussion on the state of technology for the Offshore Arctic, a frontier which is shared by three continents. While onshore portions of the arctic basins already have prolific producing oil and gas fields in North America and Eurasia, the Offshore Arctic has not yet lived up to its potential.
There were some discoveries, however, and these would be discussed in the session. The focus of the papers and discussion was on arctic technology and its state of readiness, to be applied when needed, depending on exploration results and favorable economic conditions. For the purpose of the discussion, Offshore Arctic was defined as offshore areas in the Northern Hemisphere that are affected by sea ice.
The first paper, entitled ‘Endicott Development-Making the Arctic Offshore Economical’ by M. I.
CURTIS and D. B. HUXLEY (both of Standard Alaska Production Company, USA), was presented by Mr. HUXLEY. He discussed the evolution of the Endicott project, the first offshore oil field in the Arctic. Discovered in 1978 in shallow water in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, the field holds about 350 million barrels of recoverable liquids. The field is expected to start up by the end of 1987, reaching a peak production of 100,000 barrels per day by early 1988.
In the conceptual stage, the project appeared uneconomical; however, through various scope changes, design optimization studies, and improved well drilling techniques, the total project cost was reduced from $3.8 billion to less than $2.0 billion.
Mr. HUXLEY also provided a brief update of the construction progress. Assembly of the facility modules in the ‘Lower-48’ was complete and the units were being readied for sealift in mid-May. Pipeline installation work was about 80% complete and progressing on schedule. A total of 21 wells had been drilled and initial results generally confirmed expectations of field reserves and well productivities. Project development costs had continued to come down in the facility area as a result of very favorable market conditions and the absence of any significant problems during construction. Total project costs stood at $1.14 billion.
The second paper, entitled ‘Technical Evaluation of Offshore Production Systems for the Canadian Beaufort Sea’ was presented by its author, Mr. J. K.
S. LOH (Gulf Canada Corporation, Canada). He addressed the conceptual development plan for the Amauligak field, a major Canadian Beaufort Sea reservoir in about 100 ft water depth. The recoverable reserve potential is estimated at 700 to 800 million barrels of high quality crude oil. The planning activities undertaken to evaluate structural alternatives, producing facilities, and the necessary logistics network were examined. Transportation options, inc