Alaska-focused XCD Energy (ASX: XCD) has engaged a local oil and gas expert as an advisor to its board to help drive Project Peregrine’s exploration initiatives on the North Slope.
The onshore oil explorer today announced the appointment of Erik Opstad, an Anchorage-based oil and gas executive with over 40 years of experience in the industry including more than 25 years operating in Alaska.
According to the company, Mr Opstad’s experience in managing exploration activities including drilling and seismic operations for domestic and international companies will provide XCD with the “on-ground local expertise it requires to progress its Project Peregrine exploration program”.
Speaking with Small Caps, XCD managing director Dougal Ferguson described Mr Opstad as an “entrepreneurial leader in Alaska”.
“He is the key to allow the company to progress its low-cost drilling initiative,” he said.
“I have met Erik several times now and having someone on the ground in Alaska who has extensive operational expertise and excellent local contacts as well as an understanding of how international companies operate, is a unique combination of skills,” Mr Ferguson added.
Oil industry veteran
Mr Opstad’s energy project management and technical experience includes working on BP’s onshore and offshore operations in Alaska.
In 2000, he founded oilfield services company ELKO International, which is focused on well planning, design and permitting, drilling management, well completions and restorative activities. ELKO has also served as an expert witness for various arbitration panels and state commissions.
In 2008, ELKO and partners acquired the Badami field and pipeline from BP and Mr Opstad acted as drilling, wells and general manager before the oilfield was sold onto Miller Energy in 2014.
Since then, Mr Opstad has assisted 88 Energy (ASX: 88E) with its North Slope exploration projects.
He also recently formed Jade Energy to develop oil resources within the Point Thomson field in Alaska.
Low-cost drilling opportunity
Last month, XCD announced a two-tranche placement to raise $2 million to advance Project Peregrine and launch a farm-out campaign.
At the time, Mr Ferguson said funds from the placement would also be used to advance a “low-cost drilling opportunity” at Project Peregrine.
“The company is investigating the option of using innovative drilling options that would not only be significantly cheaper than traditional methods but could result in the drilling being done much quicker than the market is currently expecting,” he said.
Mr Ferguson told Small Caps today that if the company want to progress this option then Mr Opstad is “the guy who will drive that for us”.
Mr Ferguson said the company will now progress its low-cost drilling initiative and is preparing for the farmout process to begin in the first quarter of 2020.