Pantheon Resources PLC (LON:PIP) said it has started flow testing at the Talitha #A well on Alaska’s North Slope after delays caused by blizzards.
“Weather conditions have since improved meaning operations have resumed and testing has now commenced on the Kupurak horizon, with the Talitha #A well currently flaring natural gas as it cleans up,” it said in a statement.
“Whilst this is an encouraging sign, the company cautions that it is too early to make a definitive assessment as to the ultimate commerciality of the Kupurak horizon. Results will be announced at the conclusion of testing operations.”
Pantheon added it also intends to perform Pressure Transient Analysis to maximise its understanding of the Kuparuk reservoir to help its development plans.
The FTSE250 company added it has also decided to delay the final testing of the shallower target zones into the next drilling season in Alaska to give it time to make a detailed evaluation of all the data.
Mass spectrometry analysis on rock cuttings will also be used to test the wellbore core from Talitha#A.
Work so far on the shallower Brookian section has indicated strong indicators of oil pay zones at several stratigraphic levels, said Pantheon, with work at Kubrak yet to completed.
This work is particularly important considering the shallower Brookian oil zones will not be tested in this current operation, said the company.
“Independent data and analysis from VAS reinforce the Company’s opinion that it has made oil discoveries in multiple zones including all predrill targets in this wellbore (four Brookian horizons), allowing the Company to move forward with confidence in the planning of a major testing operation in the next winter season,” added the statement.
Jay Cheatham, chief executive, said: “Flow testing at Kuparuk to date is further encouraging news for Pantheon – a case of ‘so far, so good’. Now that we have finally begun testing, the weather won’t have as severe an impact.
“We are flaring gas as the well cleans up and we would then expect oil to follow. As has been well documented, we have had operational difficulties drilling the Kuparuk in this well, but future well design should ensure these issues aren’t repeated. However, we had to persevere; it was simply too good a target.
“If successful, the Kuparuk would be of enormous value to Pantheon considering its location adjoining the Trans Alaska Pipeline and Dalton Highway. Our pre-drill resource estimate for the Kuparuk horizon alone was 1.4 billion barrels of oil in place with 341 million barrels of recoverable oil.
“We will leave the wellbore in perfect condition to come back next winter and test the shallower four zones, all of which encountered hydrocarbons. The next testing operation will not require any drilling and can be tested using a low-cost workover rig.”