ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The fourth exploration well drilled by Forest Oil Corp. from its Cook Inlet platform indicates the Redoubt Shoal field holds 100 million barrels of recoverable oil, the company says.
Earlier estimates showed the company could pump out 50 million barrels or so, said Gary Carlson, head of Forest's Alaska operations.
''Each time we drill farther down dip and we don't find oil-water interface, it's bigger than we anticipated,'' he said.
The well just completed went 20,203 feet, some of that laterally, the deepest such angled hole ever drilled in Cook Inlet, and the limits of the field still weren't reached, Carlson said. The limits of the drilling rig were reached, though. Total depth was about 13,000 feet measured straight down.
A fifth well will be started soon to define the western limit of the field and determine the extent of a significant gas deposit discovered in the Number 4 well.
''There's a lot more gas there than we anticipated,'' Carlson said Sunday. ''I guess you could predict you'd find some gas over the Redoubt field. We weren't surprised, but we didn't know we had it.''
The well encountered 589 feet of net natural gas deposits in multiple shallow sands, according to Forest.
The platform was installed in about 45 feet of water in June 2000. It was designed to work as an exploration platform and then be converted into a production platform if oil was found.
The field has been promising enough that Denver-based Forest is devoting $140 to $150 million to Alaska this year, about half of its overall capital budget.
Production is expected to begin by the end of this year, and the field could eventually produce in the neighborhood of 25,000 barrels a day.
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