Junior oil explorer 88 Energy (ASX: 88E) and its consortium partners Otto Energy (ASX: OEL) and Red Emperor Resources (ASX: RMP) are on track to drill a maiden well next month at their newly acquired Western Blocks acreage on Alaska’s North Slope.
In separate announcements, the Australian trio today reported a drilling permit had been submitted for the Winx-1 exploration well and construction had started for the 17km ice road to the planned well location.
The ice road is expected to take about three weeks to complete, ahead of construction of the ice pad upon which the Nordic Rig#3 will drill the well.
According to 88 Energy, all logistics and permitting remains on schedule for a mid-late February spud date.
“Commencement of drilling at the highly anticipated Winx-1 exploration well is now as little as six weeks away, with everything proceeding to plan,” 88 Energy managing director Dave Wall said.
The Winx-1 well will target a gross best estimate prospective resource of 400 million barrels of oil across multiple stacked objectives including the primary target, the Nanushuk play fairway.
The planned well location lies about 6km east of Armstrong-Repsol’s 2017 discovery well Horseshoe-1/1A, which had significantly extended Nanushuk to the south.
Winx was initially identified as a large oil prospect by the technical team of Otto Energy, which had an existing 10.8% working interest in the Western Blocks prior to 88 Energy and Red Emperor’s farm-in last year.
Otto managing director Matthew Allen today commended the technical team on identifying and developing the prospect.
“Success will unlock an extension to one of the largest emerging conventional oil plays in America,” he said.
Western Blocks farm-in
The trio executed formal agreements to farm into the acreage last July, with 88 Energy taking over as operator.
Under the deal, the consortium is required to drill a commitment well before 30 May 2019 to earn 90% of private company Great Bear Petroleum’s working interest (88 Energy 36%/Otto 22.5%/Red Emperor 31.5%).
Meanwhile, 88 Energy has been waiting to close on a farm-out deal for its flagship Project Icewine, also located on Alaska’s North Slope.
The company revealed last month it had extended its 2018 year-end deadline in order to maximise the number of bid-ready parties.
According to 88 Energy, the farm-out process is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 with the drilling of multiple wells remaining on schedule for the 2020 operating season.
Project Icewine currently has a gross mean prospective resource of 2.9 billion barrels of oil.