Seismic work planned for an Old Believer town

Seismic work planned for Nikolaevsk

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

A contractor with Armstrong Oil and Gas, the Denver-based operator of the North Fork gas field, has applied for a state permit to do a seismic survey of a 20-square-mile area in Nikolaevsk and the North Fork.

PGS Onshore Inc., an Anchorage company, proposes to lay and cut survey lines and drill shot holes in which explosive charges will be detonated. By measuring shock waves through the ground, geophysicists can determine location of oil and gas fields.

PGS plans to start its survey in late December, but first must get a geophysical exploration permit from the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas, Department of Natural Resources. DOG published a public notice last week requesting public comment on the permit. As a condition of the permit, PGS will have to reach an agreement with surface landowners regarding possible damage to property.

«They’ll be seeking the surface owners’ agreements,» said Matt Rader, a natural resources specialist with DOG. «They can’t proceed without an additional process with DNR without that.»

Armstrong is a partner in Anchor Point Energy, the lease holder of subsurface and gas rights in the North Fork unit.

Anchor Point Energy leases subsurface rights from private, Cook Inlet Regional Inc. and state land in the area. The state also holds subsurface rights to some land in which property owners hold surface rights, such as agricultural land.

PGS held an open house Nov. 9 at Nikolaevsk School to explain the project. Palmer Bailey has a 50-acre parcel, Meadow Ridge, that includes a state grazing lease, and attended the meeting. Bailey said company officials asked North Fork residents impacted by the survey to point out wells, sheds and other structures

«I’m pleased to see that they’re not charging through,» he said.

Bailey said most Nikolaevsk residents understood that if the state had subsurface rights, homeowners couldn’t deny access for the seismic survey.

«Somebody said, ‘I really know I can’t say no,'» Bailey said. «They didn’t deny that.»

Cook Inletkeeper director Bob Shavelson said North Fork residents should be concerned about impacts on wells.

«We’re encouraging anyone in the vicinity of the proposed seismic survey to secure their water rights with the Department of Natural Resources,» he said. «Cook Inletkeeper would be happy to help with that.»

PGS would have to get the permission of the landowner to do ground clearing, said Brian Havelock, a DOG natural resources technician. Seismic crews can move lines to avoid structures or large trees.

«They always try to minimize the impact on the surface,» Havelock said.

Arctic Slope Energy Services also is working with PGS on the project. Michelle Turner, the contact for ASRC Energy Services on the permit, referred questions for ASRC and PGS to Armstrong Oil and Gas. Ed Kerr, vice-president of Armstrong Oil and Gas, was not available for comment and did not return messages.

For more information on the seismic survey, visit DOG at ftp://ftp.dnr.state.ak.us/oilgas/beh/PGS_NorthFork_3D_Seismic_Survey. Comments are due by 5 p.m. Dec. 7. For more information or to send comments, call Havelock at (907) 269-8807, e-mail brian.havelock@alaska.gov, ADNR, Division of Oil and Gas, 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 805, Anchorage AK 99501.

Havelock said comments sent to him also will be copied to PGS and ASRC.

Anchor Point Energy is a group of five partners involved with the North Fork field. The field is operated by Armstrong Oil and Gas. The other four partners are Dale Resources, GMT Exploration Co., Jonah Gas Co. and Nerd Gas Co. Anchor Point Energy and Enstar Natural Gas recently signed an agreement for Anchor Point Energy to deliver 10.5 billion cubic feet of gas to Enstar and build a pipeline from the North Fork unit to Anchor Point. Enstar will build a pipeline from Anchor Point to Ninilchik, connecting the field to the Kenai-Kachemak pipeline. Armstrong also will drill two more wells in the North Fork in addition to a well already drilled.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong.@homernews.com.

Story last updated at 8:34 PM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

http://homernews.com/stories/112409/news_img17_002.shtml

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