Holitna Energy applies to state for shallow gas leases

Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Holitna Energy Corp. has applied for four shallow gas leases in Southcentral Alaska within a 50-mile range of the Donlin Creek gold development project.

James Hansen, lease sales manager for the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas, told Petroleum News that the 19,840 acres requested by Holitna Energy for leasing are in a seven-mile long, six-mile wide section located east of the Holitna River and southeast of Sleetmute.

The acreage is about 50 miles southeast of the 28-million ounce Donlin Creek gold prospect being developed by NovaGold Resources and Placer Dome. A key hurdle for developing the remote gold prospect into a producing mine is obtaining affordable power.

Holitna Energy was recently started by Phil St. George, former vice president of exploration at NovaGold Resources, said former co-worker Doug Nickolson, NovaGold's senior projects engineer.

"He formed his own company to explore for gas and to supply gas for a power plant for Donlin Creek," Nickolson said.

St. George, who could not be reached for comment, is listed as the contact for Holitna Energy on its lease application. Alaska regulators placed the lease application up for public comment May 21, and will take written testimony through July 30, Hansen said.

Shallow gas leases are for fields in which part of the production gas extends in a formation above 3,000 feet true vertical depth, although drilling work can follow the formation further down.

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