MADRID – Spain’s Repsol and partner Armstrong Energy said on Thursday they made the biggest onshore conventional oil discovery in the United States in 30 years at a field in Alaska.
“The contingent resources identified with the existing data in Repsol and Armstrong Energy’s blocks in the Nanushuk play in Alaska could amount to approximately 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable light oil,” Repsol said in a statement.
The Spanish energy company said “the Horseshoe wells extend by 32 kilometers (20 miles) a play already uncovered in previous campaigns in an area known as Pikka.”
The discovery is the biggest made by Repsol since 2009, when the company found the Perla field in Venezuela.
“The Horseshoe-1 and 1A wells drilled during the 2016-2017 winter campaign confirm the Nanushuk play as a significant emerging play in Alaska’s North Slope,” Repsol said.
Repsol said it had been exploring for oil in Alaska since 2008 and had drilled numerous wells with Armstrong Energy on the North Slope since 2011.
The Spanish oil company said it held a 25 percent working interest in the Horseshoe discovery and a 49 percent working interest in the Pikka Unit, while Armstrong, which is the operator, held the remaining working interests.
Development plans project production starting in Pikka in 2021, with potential output of some 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, Repsol said.
The Spanish oil company’s 49 percent stake in Pikka would amount to nearly 60,000 bpd.
In 2016, Repsol produced 120,000 bpd of crude in the US, where it has been focusing on Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
“Alaska has significant infrastructure which allows new resources to be developed more efficiently,” Repsol said.
Repsol, one of Spain’s largest corporations, posted a profit of 1.73 billion euros ($1.83 billion at the current exchange rate) in 2016, the highest level in four years.