Exploration and development in Alaska during 1966 reached maximum activity. Exploratory drilling resulted in 5 new-field discoveries, 1 new-pool discovery, and 6 successful extensions out of 36 wells drilled. Success was limited to the Cook Inlet basin and the discovery rate decreased from 52% in 1965 to 30% in 1966. Particularly important was the confirmation of the McArthur River field as a “giant” oil field comparable to Swanson River, Middle Ground Shoal, and Granite Point. Seismic activity increased 31% from 1965. Extensive joint marine surveys were conducted in the Bristol Bay, lower Cook Inlet, and the Gulf of Alaska. Surface geological parties increased 17% from 1965. The Gulf of Alaska and Arctic Slope were the most active basins. State competitive lease sales in the Cook Inlet basin and the Gulf of Alaska brought a total bonus of $7,177,160 for 152,577 acres. The Department of the Interior opened 4,000,000 acres on the Arctic Slope for simultaneous filing. Leasing was slowed by native land claims on approximately 60% of the land area of Alaska.

Development drilling increased slightly; 9 oil wells were completed in offshore fields of Cook Inlet. Oil production increased 29% from 1965 to 14,358,212 bbls., and gas production increased 244% to 41,217,032 Mcf. In Cook Inlet 4 new drilling and production platforms were added to the 2 already in operation to drill the vast new offshore oil reserves. Five more platforms, to be erected in 1967, will provide a combined capacity of 400 wells. Dual pipelines 39 mi. long were laid to connect these new platforms to onshore facilities. Laying of a 20 in., 42-mi. pipeline began along the west shore of the Inlet, and will connect the developing west-side fields to a tanker terminal at Drift River. Ground was broken on the Kenai Peninsula near Nikiski for an ammonia-urea plant. The Kenai gas held will provide the methane feedstock. The shut-in Beluga River gas field is expected to produce gas in 1967 to generate onsite electrical power for transmission to Anchorage.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.