The CEO of Great Bear Petroleum says their new 3-D seismic data confirms a promising new oil resource in the shale rocks just south of Prudhoe Bay. Ed Duncan said they received the data late last month and are still examining it.
“Every source rock that we predicted to be present, is present. At the depths we predicted it to be in, at the state of thermal maturity we predicted,” Duncan reported. “These are things we said to the state, that we’ve said in public presentations. The rocks are there.”
Great Bear is the first company to actively pursue unconventional oil in the state. Duncan won’t provide any specifics, but he is confident that with modern fracking technology, they can get oil out of the rocks and make money.
“There’s nothing not doable about our technical and our business thesis.”
The small independent company leased about 500,000 acres of land from the state in 2010 with the hopes of finding commercially viable oil in the shale. A 2012 USGS report says that there could be up to 950 million barrels in the rocks Great Bear is targeting.
At this point, Duncan said the company has spent over $100 million. They have only drilled two exploratory wells so far, directly next to the Dalton Highway, though they have six permitted.
Joe Balash is acting commissioner of the state’s Department of Natural Resources. He said the resource isn’t proven until more wells are drilled, but he sees great potential. “We think– our geologists think– that there’s tremendous opportunity with the unconventional resource, and we hope that Great Bear is just the first company to make a buck on it.”
Duncan said they will gather more seismic data this winter. Then, they will unveil their development plan at the end of 2014. That includes how they plan to move the oil off of the North Slope.
“Initial development would very likely be trucked to Prudhoe. And then longer term development certainly would warrant a dedicated processing facility and very likely a tap into the pipeline.”
Great Bear’s leases are about 15 miles south of Pump Station One on the TransAlaska Pipeline.