Oil company deal postpones North Slope drilling

ANCHORAGE — Drilling at an oil field development project in Alaska will be postponed after two oil companies reshuffled their ownership of the fields.

Putting off the work planned for this winter means not hiring 500 Slope contract workers, as the companies have in previous winters, reported The Alaska Dispatch News.

Spanish energy company Repsol and Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas Inc. are working to develop what they say will be a big new oil field in the Colville River Delta.

They announced Tuesday that Armstrong will be taking majority ownership of both the development area and the exploration area where the companies have drilled 16 wildcat and appraisal wells over the past four years.

The deal will leave Armstrong with a 51 percent share of the development area and a 75 percent share of the exploration area, according to a statement from the company.

The companies are working together on transition plans that will determine what happens to the employees and contractors working in Repsol’s Anchorage office, according to Jan Sieving, Repsol’s North America vice president for public affairs.

In June, the companies announced a “significant” discovery from their Colville-area drilling and cited positive results from two exploration wells. Tuesday’s statement said that a third-party engineering firm, DeGolyer and MacNaughton, calculated about 497 million to 3.758 billion barrels of contingent oil reserves in the area.

The project could result in the production of about 120,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the statement.

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