ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Forest Oil Corp. says its new Cook Inlet field may hold much more oil than originally thought.
The company had originally estimated that the Redoubt Shoal in western Cook Inlet held reserves of 25 million to 35 million barrels of oil. But now the company is estimating those reserves at 50 million to 100 million barrels of oil.
The Denver-based company began production from the field last week. It is producing more than 4,200 barrels per day from two wells.
The discovery at Redoubt Shoal is on a similar order of magnitude as recent discoveries on the North Slope, according to Will Nebesky, a commercial analyst for the state Division of Oil and Gas.
''This is a lot of production and it puts Cook Inlet oil production back on the map,'' he said.
Oil companies first became interested in Redoubt Shoal in the late 1960s when Amoco drilled there. It hit oil but chose to focus on other Cook Inlet projects instead.
Forest Oil bought the rights to develop the area when it acquired Miami-based Forcenergy in July 2000. It began exploring Redoubt Shoal 22 months ago.
Forest Oil said it expects to maintain a production level of roughly 4,200 barrels per day until it completes construction of its onshore production facilities near the village of Kustatan. The oil currently is being transported to facilities at the company's West McArthur River field, north of Redoubt Shoal.
There currently are four production-ready wells at Redoubt Shoal, with drilling of a fifth beginning this week. Once the field begins full production, Carlson said, Forest Oil expects to bring a new well on line every three or four months.
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