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88 Energy flows black gold from Alaskan oil well


88 Energy has recorded positive results from flow testing at its Hickory-1 well in Alaska. Credit: File

Oil and gas explorer 88 Energy (ASX: 88E) has recorded the first successful oil flows to surface from its Alaskan projects with testing at the Upper Slope Fan System (USFS) of its Hickory-1 well confirming the discovery of light oil.


Testing produced a peak gauge flow rate of more than 70 barrels per day (bopd) of light oil at the well which forms part of the company’s greater Phoenix project on the onshore oil section within Alaska’s north slope.


Management says quality and deliverability of the USFS reservoir is now confirmed through oil production to surface under natural flow, including an unquantified volume of marketable natural gas liquids (NGLs) and associated gas.


According to the latest testing, a 20-foot perforated interval in the USFS reservoir was stimulated by a single fracture stage of 241,611 pounds of proppant volume. The well was cleaned-up and flowed for 111 hours in total, with 88 hours under natural flow back and 23.5 hours using nitrogen lift.


The well produced at an average oil flow rate of about 42 bopd during the natural flow back testing period, with instantaneous rates ranging from approximately 10 up to 77 bopd. Average rates increased throughout the test period.


Whilst the USFS zone flowed oil to surface under natural flow, management says nearby reservoirs in adjacent offset wells are only producing under nitrogen lift.


Total flow rates, including the recovery of frac fluid, averaged about 600 barrels per day over the duration of the flow back.


The completion of flow testing in this zone and recovery to surface of light oil, in addition to NGLs and associated gas, confirms our understanding of the substantial potential of these reservoirs. Significantly, these flow rates were achieved from only a 20ft perforated section in a vertical well with a low volume stimulation over a short period.
88 Energy managing director Ashley Gilbert

An independent quotation of the best-technical estimate of contingent resource (2C) cited 314.6 million stock tank barrels of oil (MMstb), 647.9 MMstb of natural gas liquids (NGL) and 4465.2 billion cubic feet (BCF) of residual gas for the comparable reservoir at Pantheon Resources’ Kodiak project, which has been mapped into the Phoenix project area.


Significantly, Pantheon says the NGLs on its Alaskan projects are of material value as they can be blended with the oil. The combined stream of oil, condensate and NGLs has been estimated by Pantheon to yield about 90 per cent of the value of the Alaska North price per barrel.


The Phoenix project has been owned by 88 Energy since 2015 and the drilling of Hickory-1 last year validated the presence of multiple hydrocarbon-bearing zones across all six pre-drill targets, in addition to identifying the USFS reservoir as a bonus.


In November 2022, the company released its volumetric estimates for the reservoir intervals prior to the drilling of Hickory-1, quoting a gross, unrisked 2U/P50 resource estimate of 134 MMstb for the slope fan system and 224 MMstb for the shelf margin delta reservoirs.


Following its success at the USFS zone, 88 Energy is set to begin testing its proven shallower shelf margin deltaic-B (SMD-B) reservoir which is expected to be completed this month.


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