Hilcorp plans to drill test wells on the southern Kenai Peninsula this summer

A map of the western Kenai Peninsula showing locations of proposed wells
A screenshot from Hilcorp’s application to the state shows where it plans to build test wells on the southern Kenai Peninsula this summer. (Alaska Division Of Oil And Gas)

Oil and gas company Hilcorp plans to drill 18 stratigraphic test wells on the southern Kenai Peninsula this summer. That’s according to an application from the company to the state of Alaska Division of Oil and Gas.

The proposal is for gas prospects near Anchor Point and Ninilchik. An ENSTAR Natural Gas line runs right by the area on the southern peninsula.

And the sites sit atop a patchwork of private and state land. Seven are on state lands near Deep Creek and are included in Hilcorp’s application. Eleven others are on private lands.

Stratigraphic test wells are shallow wells that can be drilled quicker and with smaller machinery than more traditional wells. Hilcorp is applying to drill wells that are about 600-feet deep, for example. Sean Clifton with the state’s Division of Oil and Gas said they’re drilled with the same types of rigs you might use to drill a water well at your house.

Companies can cross-reference information they get from those wells with existing seismic data, Clifton said, to determine the presence of gas. And as far as he knows, Hilcorp is the first company to use that method in Alaska to look for gas.

Hilcorp has ongoing gas projects both on- and offshore in the Cook Inlet basin. It’s drilled 28 test wells on the southern Kenai Peninsula in the last five years, according to its application.

It’s already producing gas from the SeaView 8 unit near Anchor Point and is in the process of connecting SeaView 9, too. It’s doing exploratory drilling work just north of Ninilchik, called the Pearl 2A well, and last year applied to drill two gas exploration wells in Whiskey Gulch.

Hilcorp’s also proposed some drilling projects on the west side of Cook Inlet for this summer.

Clifton said the only other oil and gas operator that’s notified the state of plans to drill on the Kenai Peninsula this summer is Vision Resources, an Alaska natural gas company that owns the North Fork Unit. The division has a map of all current oil and gas activity in Cook Inlet available on its website here.

The Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment on Hilcorp’s plan through June 26. You can read the application here and submit comments email comments to dog.permitting@alaska.gov.

[Sign up for Alaska Public Media’s daily newsletter to get our top stories delivered to your inbox.]

Previous articleTwo people severely hurt in Bethel fire that burned two homes
Next articleArmy Corps makes plans to clean up contaminated WWII-era sites in the Unalaska Valley