ANCHORAGE - After drilling a second exploration well at Redoubt Shoal, Denver-based Forest Oil says the Cook Inlet field may produce 50 million barrels of oil over the coming years.
At current oil prices, the field could add $20 million a year in state revenue, said Chuck Logsdon, state petroleum economist.
Forest expects production of more than 20,000 barrels a day, which would increase Cook Inlet production by almost 70 percent and boost the amount of known oil Cook Inlet oil reserves to more than 120 million barrels.
"Maybe elated is too strong a word. Maybe it isn't," said Gary Carlson, head of Forest Oil's Alaska operations. If the field meets expectations, Redoubt Shoal would boost the company's total production worldwide by 28 percent.
The company plans to drill up to three more exploratory wells at Redoubt Shoal in the coming months, Carlson said. He expects first oil production at the end of 2002. The company plans to spend up to $175 million to develop the field, Carlson said.
"This is some nice oil for Cook Inlet. These are the types of reserves they are looking for on the North Slope," Logsdon said, referring to Alaska's much larger oil producing region.
Redoubt Shoal is not a new oil prospect.
Amoco drilled at Redoubt Shoal in the 1960s. The company hit oil but opted to focus on other Cook Inlet projects. The rights to develop the area shuffled through various owners until Miami-based Forcenergy bought the leases from Dan Donkel in 1996.
Late last year, Forest bought Forcenergy. The company now produces about 9,000 barrels of oil a day in Cook Inlet.
If Forest decides to produce oil from Redoubt Shoal, Carlson said, the company will lay a 1.5-mile pipeline from the platform to a processing center on West Foreland. From there the oil would be moved to the West MacArthur River field, where it would link to other pipelines.