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Three months ago, Escopeta Oil was pulling the Spartan 151 jack-up drilling platform into position in Cook Inlet. Now, the company is saying it has tapped into what could be the biggest natural gas discovery in Cook Inlet in 25 years.

Escopeta announces significant natural gas discovery

Posted: November 4, 2011 - 7:54pm  |  Updated: November 5, 2011 - 8:04pm

Escopeta Oil Company announced a significant natural gas discovery in Cook Inlet on Friday evening. It’s a find the company says could be the largest natural gas discovery in the inlet in at least 25 years.

An estimated 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was found in the Sterling and Beluga formations within the Kitchen Lights Unit, about 10 miles north of Nikiski, where Escopeta is drilling from the Spartan 151 jack-up rig, according to a news release issued by the company.

“Escopeta is very excited by the results of this well, especially since we are only half-way down to the planned total depth,” said Bruce Webb, Escopeta vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs, in the press release. “... The Kitchen Lights Unit No. 1 well is just the first of five wells currently planned in the Kitchen Lights Unit. The results from just the top half of our first well are sufficient to commence planning and engineering for commercial gas production.”

The Kitchen Lights Unit No. 1 well has been drilled to a depth of 8,805 feet, resulting in the discovery of 46.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas from that single well, the company announced.

Due to seasonal drilling restrictions stemming from ice in Cook Inlet, Escopeta has suspended the well for this year and will re-enter it next year to complete drilling to a depth of approximately 16,500 feet, into the Jurassic Formation.

The Spartan 151 arrived in Cook Inlet in August and is the first jack-up rig to explore the offshore oil and gas formations in the area in nearly two decades, according to the news release. The well was spudded on Sept. 2.

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spwright 11/04/11 - 08:21 pm
Good News for Once 11/4/11

Fri 11/4/11
I'm Very Happy to Hear some GOOD NEWS for ONCE !

Now maybe there will be some JOBS for Our Alaskan Veterans COMING HOME from IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN ?

Now maybe Enstar will lower our monthly Natural Gas Bill ?

Remember Veterans Day Friday 11/11/11

SPW "Airborne"

kenaibear2001 11/04/11 - 08:33 pm
Gas discovery

Anyone beside me tired of all the experts telling us this and that, and it all turns out to be false? No Gas huh? Need a gas pipeline from Slope huh? Cook Inlet communities will be rationed gas huh? Shut down plants because no gas huh? Wish someone would publish all the names of the experts, so we would know who to tar and feather and run out on a rail!

KMarx 11/04/11 - 10:57 pm
If Memory Serves

I believe it was legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Wagoner, creating incentives for exploration and production in the Cook Inlet Basin that provided the catalyst for the recent activity and discoveries.

Thank you Senator, job well done!

frumious 11/05/11 - 01:48 am
Yabadabadoo! Kudo's to


Kudo's to Senator Tom Wagner! This discovery really sets Alaska back on the right track.

Now we can stop Rep. Chenault's boondoggle Bullet Line. And we should do it ASAP. This line would kill the oil and gas industry on the Kenai.

BigRedDog 11/05/11 - 07:36 am
Bring the Bullet, Don't bite it!

Simple kudo's? How about stand up applause? I disagree with your thoughts of blocking the bullet line. No matter how large that gas field is, that LNG plant out north road will suck it dry! We need the employment a long term project like this could bring to Alaska. Plus the spin off of having gas available for all the towns and cities along the line would be tremendous. To cut the cost of heating your home in half would mean a lot in Fairbanks. Maybe some natural gas generation might mess with Usabeli's coal fired generator now providing power to Fairbanks and many interior neighbors. Plus every ounce of gas pressure we can take of the slope will increase the amount of oil we have to pump down the line. That is the most important problem facing our fiscal situation. If we don't keep the volume high enough the line will freeze in winter. What would we do then? Slow summer production to have enough to keep it running all winter? The forced re-injection of gas produced with the oil; back into the same structures, has an ever increasing effect on the volume of gas coming out with the crude. The States ownership or royalty in this gas is what blocks it's flaring off at the wellhead. To pay the State for that gas would make the oil unprofitable and the cycle of decline is alarming to the field operators! So why would you bite the Bullet?

Hmmm 11/05/11 - 09:11 am
One well doesn't make a discovery

If this was an unknown resource (which it isn't), one well wouldn't represent a commercial discovery. Escopeta will need to drill delineation wells to confirm the size and potential of the reservoir. If we were drilling in the Jurassic (as we should be) THEN I would be excited. Hopefully, that day will come. It is good to see someone hasn't let the threat of a gas pipeline to the Inlet scare them off, however. Congrats Escopeta!

kenai_kid 11/07/11 - 09:30 am
No reduction in gas bills

The current cost of natural gas in South Central has little to do with gas availability. about 10 years ago, gas in Alaska was linked to the Henry Hub and NOLA and therefore goes for market price.
However, deals can be made to bring gas to market for industry and retain and create jobs on the peninsula.
Senator Wagoner also endorses selling liquified gas over seas and I must say I agree with him.
We should develop our coal reserves and use them to generate electricity instead of gas. Many complain about global warming and the green house gases that coal produces, but we in the US will burn coal more efficiently and cleaner than foreign countries with little or no environmental considerations or laws. In ground gasification is a true option for our coal reserves here and the resource is enormous. Electrical power generation and heating gas can be produced using in ground coal gasification. There are no huge coal pits, no mine shafts, no mercury, sulfur or slag to dispose of once the coal is burned. It is a wise and viable option.
Resource development, environment and jobs. I see little downside in selling our gas as we have for the last 30+ years and developing coal as we have never done in the past.

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