Pioneer sees good results from North Slope fracturing wells

Pioneer Natural Resources is pleased with results of its large-scale fracturing of producing wells at the Oooguruk field on the North Slope.


Three producing wells were fractured in the first half of 2013 with production doubling in two wells and tripling in a third.

“We’re very pleased with the results, and we plan to fracture four more wells next year,” Pioneer spokesman Casey Sullivan said Aug. 30.

The three production wells were fractured following a successful test fracturing in late 2012 in a production test of an exploration well near Oooguruk.

The production figures were presented by Pioneer to financial analysts Aug. 1, Sullivan said.

All three wells are producing from the Nuiqsut formation, one of two formations that are tapped at Oooguruk.

Prior to fracturing, the Oooguruk wells produced in the range of 500 barrels per day to 800 barrels per day. Following the fracturing, two of the wells fractured in the early spring increased output to an average of 1,500 b/d and a third well fractured in late spring increased output to 3,000 b/d and sustained the rate for 40 days, according to information presented to analysts. The well is currently shut-in for maintenance.

A 2012 test of large-scale fracturing on a test well drilled into the Torok formation, which Pioneer hopes to produce from in its planned Nuna development.

The well flowed at 2,800 b/d, according to data given the analysts. Nuna is a potential new project near Ooguruk that is onshore, in the Colville River delta northeast of ConocoPhillips’ producing Alpine field.

Ooogouruk is owned 70 percent by Pioneer and is field operator, with 30 percent owned by Italian major Eni. The field produced 4,000 barrels per day net to Pioneer in the second quarter of 2013, according to the information presented to analysts.

Nuiqsut formation wells have had mixed results at Oooguruk, while production from the Kuparuk and Torok formations, being produced, has met expectations, a Pioneer official told a meeting of the Alaska Geological Society last April.

The Ooogurk field is offshore, in shallow water, just north of the shore and Nuna’s location. Pioneer will make a decision on whether to develop Nuna later this fall, Sullivan said.

Smaller-scale fracturing has been done for years in North Slope fields but Pioneer’s tests were the first large-scale, multi-stage fracturing jobs. The company adapted the technique from similar procedures used by Pioneer in drilling of wells in the Eagleford shale and similar formations in Texas.

Tim Bradner can be reached at


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