Pioneer Natural Resources produced about 4,500 net barrels of oil a day in Alaska during the third quarter, down slightly from 5,000 net bpd in the second quarter but up slightly from 4,000 during the third quarter of 2011.
At its offshore Oooguruk drill site, the Texas independent is using one rig to drill four wells -- three into the Nuiqsut formation and one into the Torok formation. Pioneer plans to complete the wells early next year using a mechanically diverted fracture system.
After using the system at its oil fields in the Lower 48, Pioneer tested the technique in Alaska this past winter, generating some of its best results from drilling here.
Because of the time needed to complete the wells, Pioneer expects to have results by the middle of next year, according to President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Dove.
"I think we're going to have some good success here fracking these wells with Lower 48-style completions," Dove told analysts during a third-quarter earnings call Nov. 1.
Pioneer is also "essentially ready to drill" an appraisal well to test a 50-million-barrel oil discovery it made this past winter in the Torok formation, Dove said. The appraisal well would start from an onshore drill site and extend directionally to an offshore target.
During the quarter, Pioneer reported a $7.9 million after-tax gain from its sale of the Cosmopolitan unit and a $2.5 million after-tax gain from Alaska production tax credits.