According to Eric Lidji of Petroleum News, oil and gas riches may await the new petroleum explorers of Cook Inlet.
Apache, an independent producer based in Texas, claims there may be as much oil remaining as has been recovered in the 55 years since Cook Inlet production began – as much as 1.3 billion barrels. By comparison, Prudhoe Bay has produced nearly 13 billion barrels of oil since 1968.
"When you go up there, it's kind of like going back in time," Apache's vice president for exploration John Bedingfield told Petroleum News about Cook Inlet. "It's interesting, but things have just been frozen for 40-plus years."
How much of Cook Inlet's oil can be economically recovered remains the big question. A year ago, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated about 600 million barrels was undiscovered but could be produced using today's technology. That figure was the mean in a range from 108 million to more than 1.3 billion barrels.
Apache may drill its first Cook Inlet well this fall and perhaps a second well before the end of the year.
Previously, Apache outlined plans to drill the Aspen well on land this summer on the west side of Cook Inlet, four miles west of Tyonek. Another well is expected to follow on the east side of Cook Inlet, about four miles from Moose Point.
At more than 1 million acres, Cook Inlet leases make up the biggest chunk of the Apache portfolio.