Eni begins drilling in Beaufort Sea off Alaska

Dec 28, 2017
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Italian oil major Eni drilled a new oil well in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea earlier this week, the first since 2015, from a man-made island.

Federal regulator U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said the Italian firm started drilling from Spy Island Drillsite in the state waters north of Alaska, under its supervision to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations and standards.

The well is expected to run more than 6 miles (10 km) long and the project could result in 20,000 barrels a day of oil production, according to BSEE.

Eni plans to drill four exploration wells – including two mainbores and two sidetracks – over the next two years from its Nikaitchuq North project.

BSEE approved Eni’s plans to use extended-reach drilling techniques to target a formation in the Harrison Bay Block 6423 unit on the Outer Continental Shelf.  Eni is exploring the formation in a joint partnership with Shell.

“As drilling operations continue, BSEE will provide oversight to ensure operations are being conducted in accordance with approved plans and permit,” said BSEE Alaska Region Director Mark Fesmire.

Shell in 2015 abandoned its exploration activities in offshore Alaska, citing high costs and stringent regulations.