ANCHORAGE - Phillips Alaska Inc. and BP Exploration (Alaska) have announced the discovery of a new oil field west of the Kuparuk field.
The Palm discovery is estimated to contain 35 million barrels of recoverable reserves.
"It's small next to the big numbers, but it's a very nice facility," said Mike Richter, vice president of exploration and land development for Phillips Alaska.
Kuparuk, which began production in 1981, is the second-largest field on the North Slope. It began with estimated recoverable reserves of 2.8 billion barrels of oil. Approximately 1.8 billion barrels have been drawn from Kuparuk so far.
The Palm No. 1 well, about three miles west of the Kuparuk field, tested at a rate of 2,500 barrels of oil per day. The discovery will help extend the life of Kuparuk, Richter said.
"This is another example of successful satellite drilling in the Kuparuk area," he said last week.
Last year, Phillips and BP announced the discovery of the Meltwater field, also near Kuparuk. Meltwater is estimated to contain about 50 million barrels of recoverable reserves and is expected to begin production by the end of the year.
Production from the Palm discovery is expected to begin in 2003, Richter said.
Phillips expects the Palm field will help the company keep its Alaska production at 375,000 to 400,000 barrels of oil per day for the next several years.
Phillips Alaska, which runs the Kuparuk field, holds a 55 percent interest. BP Exploration holds 39 percent. Unocal, ExxonMobil and Chevron hold minor interests.