ANCHORAGE - Anadarko Petroleum Corp. now believes the hydrocarbon potential of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and Foothills regions of the North Slope is as great as the huge Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk fields combined - in the neighborhood of 17 billion barrels of crude.
The Houston-based independent now has a goal of boosting crude reserves that will pass through the Alpine production facilities from the current 430 million barrels to a billion barrels.
The Jurassic and Brookian could hold 17 billion barrels of crude, and the southern portion of the NPR-A and Foothills areas 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Anadarko said.
That compares to original recoverable oil reserves of 13 billion barrels at Prudhoe Bay plus 25 trillion cubic feet of stranded gas reserves, and an original 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil at Kuparuk.
The estimates are based largely on U.S. Geological Survey figures.
"We did some of our own number-crunching, and we are very comfortable with the USGS numbers," said Diane Kerr, Anadarko's frontier exploration manager for Alaska and Canada.
Only about 360 exploration wells have been drilled in Alaska's vast Arctic region, Kerr told Petroleum News Alaska, leaving plenty of potential there.
Anadarko maintains a considerable acreage position in the NPR-A, as well as a 22 percent stake in the 2-year-old Alpine field near the eastern edge of NPR-A. Conoco Phillips Alaska operates that field with the remaining 78 percent interest.
The Jurassic, which extends west from the Colville Delta into NPR-A, holds an estimated 7 billion barrels of oil, Anadarko said. Now that the company "has identified a strong fairway" along the Jurassic, its strategy is "to move out west," Kerr said.
The Brookian, which stretches across the central North Slope east to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, contains an estimated 10 billion barrels of crude reserves, the company said.
"We believe as much in the NPR-A areas as we do in the Prudhoe Bay-Kuparuk area," Kerr said. "We are looking at the oil potential in the near term, and gas potential in the long term."
Anadarko has accumulated rights to massive amounts of acreage in the gas-prone Foothills of the Brooks Range.