NEW YORK _ Two recent Alaskan oil discoveries could contain
1.75 billion barrels of gross oil reserves, Atlantic Richfield
Co. officials told a meeting with security analysts in New York
Arco said that the Sunfish discovery in Alaska's Cook Inlet
has the potential to contain up to 750 million barrels of gross
oil reserves if the geologic structures are filled and Arco's
geologic concepts are demonstrated.
The Los Angeles-based company also said that the Kuvlum
discovery in the Beaufort Sea involves a structure that could
contain 1 billion barrels or more of gross oil reserves.
"Alaska is a marvelous proven oil and gas province which is
still only lightly explored," said Lodwrick M. Cook, chairman and
chief executive officer.
Over the years, Los Angeles-based Arco has been a major player
in Alaskan exploration and development.
"Our strong competitive differentiation has become even
stronger as other companies reduced their exploration efforts or
abandoned the state," Cook said.
The Sunfish discovery, made in 1991, came in an area which
many thought was "played out," he said. With a 1992 delineation
well, the Sunfish sands were confirmed as commercially viable,
and the North Foreland sand was discovered.
Arco, as a 60 percent partner, and Phillips Petroleum Co., as
40 percent partner, acquired nearly 130,000 acres to the south
and west of the Sunfish discovery at a state lease sale in
"We believe the discovery at Sunfish extends over this newly
acquired acreage on the South Cook Inlet anticline," said H.L.
"Skip" Bilhartz, president of Arco Alaska Inc. "We now believe we
have identified enough economically recoverable oil at Sunfish to
justify development, although several additional wells will be
required to solidify the scope of those plans."
The Kuvlum discovery well, drilled in the summer of 1992,
flowed at 3,400 barrels per day. Under producing conditions,
Bilhartz said, "the rate could be greater than 10,000 barrels per
Data from the single discovery well indicate that the size of
the structure could make Kuvlum the largest domestic oil
discovery since Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk were discovered decades
ago, he said.
The prospect, in which Arco has a 50 percent interest, could
contain at least 1 billion barrels or more of gross reserves,
"Although the prospect is potentially a large one, its size
does not match that of Prudhoe Bay," he said. "In the extreme
case where the structure is full and the sands are thicker _ a
case we give less than a 1 percent probability _ the structure
could contain 6 billion barrels of oil. …