During 1987, exploration continued its decline from the 1985 high. Four exploration wells were drilled or drilling in 1987 compared to 14 in 1986. Three of these wells were in the Arctic (onshore and offshore); the fourth was in the Cook Inlet basin. Seismic crew-months were 18.6 for 1987 compared to 30.3 months for 1986.
Production, mainly from the super giant Prudhoe Bay field, increased to an average of 2.06 million BOPD, making Alaska the top oil-producing state. One new field, the Lisburne pool of Prudhoe Bay field, was put into production in late 1985, and a new field, the Endicott, was placed in production in 1986. Endicott field produces the first oil from a field in the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
As 1987 closed, prospects for the restart of Conoco’s Milne Point field and the announcement by Standard Alaska Production Company that it planned to develop its Beaufort Sea Niakuk discovery indicated that development would be in the offing in 1988.