The state’s third largest oil and gas company is preparing to expand its operational footprint in Cook Inlet. Hilcorp recently filed an application for the incidental take of marine mammals with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The Texas-based independent oil and gas producer filed with NMFS on October 26th. The application lays out the company’s plans for the next half-decade, beginning with exploration work next year. 2-D surveys are planned both on and offshore between Anchor Point and Kasilof, while 3-D surveys will be shot in Lower Cook Inlet. Hilcorp was the lone bidder in last year’s sale of tracts near Anchor Point and Ninilchik by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
In 2020, the company plans to begin drilling at least two new exploratory wells offshore in Lower Cook Inlet. That work will depend on the availability of the Spartan 151 jack-up rig, which is currently deployed further north in the Kitchen Lights Unit on the Julius R. platform.
Other exploratory wells are planned for Trading Bay, on the west side of the Inlet, as well as a number of geohazard surveys in several locations.
The application also includes maintenance work planned for some of the companies other assets, like subsea pipeline inspections and platform leg inspections. Hilcorp owns 16 of the 18 platforms in Cook Inlet.
Hilcorp has been active in the area since 2011, slowly buying many of the assets left behind be previous producers such as Marathon and Chevron. The company is producing in excess of 16,000 barrels a day out of the wells it’s drilled or taken over. Oil production out of Cook Inlet peaked in the 1970’s at more than 200,000 barrels a day.