Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope: Overview of scientific and technical program

Marine and Petroleum Geology
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Abstract

The Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well was drilled within the Alaska North Slope (ANS) Milne Point Unit (MPU) from February 3 to 19, 2007. The well was conducted as part of a Cooperative Research Agreement (CRA) project co-sponsored since 2001 by BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to help determine whether ANS gas hydrate can become a technically and commercially viable gas resource. Early in the effort, regional reservoir characterization and reservoir simulation modeling studies indicated that up to 0.34 trillion cubic meters (tcm; 12 trillion cubic feet, tcf) gas may be technically recoverable from 0.92 tcm (33 tcf) gas-in-place within the Eileen gas hydrate accumulation near industry infrastructure within ANS MPU, Prudhoe Bay Unit (PBU), and Kuparuk River Unit (KRU) areas. To further constrain these estimates and to enable the selection of a test site for further data acquisition, the USGS reprocessed and interpreted MPU 3D seismic data provided by BPXA to delineate 14 prospects containing significant highly-saturated gas hydrate-bearing sand reservoirs. The "Mount Elbert" site was selected to drill a stratigraphic test well to acquire a full suite of wireline log, core, and formation pressure test data. Drilling results and data interpretation confirmed pre-drill predictions and thus increased confidence in both the prospect interpretation methods and in the wider ANS gas hydrate resource estimates. The interpreted data from the Mount Elbert well provide insight into and reduce uncertainty of key gas hydrate-bearing reservoir properties, enable further refinement and validation of the numerical simulation of the production potential of both MPU and broader ANS gas hydrate resources, and help determine viability of potential field sites for future extended term production testing. Drilling and data acquisition operations demonstrated that gas hydrate scientific research programs can be safely, effectively, and efficiently conducted within ANS infrastructure. The program success resulted in a technical team recommendation to project management to drill and complete a long-term production test within the area of existing ANS infrastructure. If approved by stakeholders, this long-term test would build on prior arctic research efforts to better constrain the potential gas rates and volumes that could be produced from gas hydrate-bearing sand reservoirs. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope: Overview of scientific and technical program
Series title Marine and Petroleum Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2010.02.015
Volume 28
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Marine and Petroleum Geology
First page 295
Last page 310
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