Asset Report

US Alaska North Slope exploration basin

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04 April 2018

US Alaska North Slope exploration basin

Report summary

The North Slope is an established producing petroleum province where exploration began in the 1950's. To date, over 35 bnboe has been discovered in the basin, notably in the super-giant Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk oil fields. The basin is located in a harsh Arctic environment presenting unique challenges for explorers, such as seasonal access, environmental issues, and high costs. Potential for material discoveries exists within the offshore plays, particularly the Chukchi Sea, but in the current environment companies are choosing to relinquish offshore leases, casting doubts over the future of the play. However, recent exceptional onshore exploration success in the emerging Nanushuk play, and also offshore in the Beaufort Sea play, have made Alaska one of the top global exploration targets, particularly onshore. The combined prospective resource, together with relatively favourable access conditions compared with other basins, make it attractive to explorers.

Table of contents

    • Key issues include:
  • Location maps
  • Participation
    • Well participation
  • Geology
    • Wells drilled
    • Basin success rates
    • Volumes discovered
    • Prospective resource potential
      • Play inputs
        • Creaming curve and key play data
        • Model field pool size distribution
        • Existing discoveries and modelled prospective resource pool size distribution
    • Prospective resource costs and underlying assumptions
  • Costs
    • Licensing
    • Fiscal terms
  • Economic assumptions
    • TYP economics
    • Outlook economics
      • Development value
        • Beauforts Sea
        • Chukchi Sea
        • Colville River
        • NPR-A Area
        • Nanushuk
      • Prospect breakeven price
        • Beaufort Sea
        • Chukchi Sea
        • Colville River
        • NPR-A Area
        • Nanushuk
      • Play economics
    • Full cycle basin economics
      • Implied acreage value

Tables and charts

This report includes 96 images and tables including:

  • Key play characteristics
  • Key assumptions
  • Value creation versus investment (TYP period)
  • Value creation versus investment (outlook)
  • Exploration history map
  • Exploration wells by play
  • Licensed exploration acreage
  • Expiry forecast of current licences
  • Key licence holders
  • Key play characteristics
  • Recent discovery costs
  • Summary of discovery and development costs
  • Exploration and appraisal spend
  • Exploration spend per well and average well depth*
  • Brent and local oil price assumptions
  • Henry Hub and local gas price assumptions
  • Commerciality index
  • Key well operators (TYP period)
  • Gross exploration wells completed by operator
  • Net exploration wells completed by participant
  • Key companies: Table 3
  • Drilling activity by well type
  • Cumulative exploration wells by play
  • Discoveries and success rates
  • Discoveries by licence year and drilling year
  • Basin creaming curve
  • Key basin data
  • Volumes discovered by year
  • Average discovery size and volume per well by year
  • Top discoveries (TYP period)
  • Cumulative discoveries by play
  • Cumulative volumes discovered by play
  • Forecast data by play (outlook)
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Colville River
  • NPRA Area
  • Nanushuk
  • Typical fiscal terms - Colville River, Nanushuk, NPR-A (State of Alaska terms)
  • Typical fiscal terms - Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea (Federal terms)
  • Value creation, exploration spend & volume discovered
  • Returns by drilling year
  • Breakeven price versus prospect size
  • Value creation versus investment
  • Full-cycle economic analysis
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Economic analysis: Table 8
  • NPR-A Area
  • Nanushuk
  • Average value of future discoveries and implied acreage value
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Reserves and resources: Table 4
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Reserves and resources: Table 5
  • Colville River
  • Reserves and resources: Table 6
  • NPR-A Area
  • Reserves and resources: Table 7
  • Nanushuk
  • Reserves and resources: Table 8
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Colville River
  • NPRA Area
  • Nanushuk
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Colville River
  • NPR-A Area
  • Nanushuk
  • Value of potential discoveries
  • Unit value of potential discoveries
  • Value of potential discoveries
  • Unit value of potential discoveries
  • Value of potential discoveries
  • Unit value of potential discoveries
  • Value of potential discoveries
  • Unit value of potential discoveries
  • Value of potential discoveries
  • Unit value of potential discoveries
  • Breakeven price of exploration
  • Discount rate breakeven price sensitivities
  • Breakeven price of exploration
  • Discount rate breakeven price sensitivities
  • Breakeven price of exploration
  • Discount rate breakeven price sensitivities
  • Breakeven price of exploration
  • Discount rate breakeven price sensitivities
  • Breakeven price of exploration
  • Discount rate breakeven price sensitivities
  • Economic analysis: Table 1
  • Economic analysis: Table 2
  • Economic analysis: Table 3
  • NPR-A Area
  • Nanushuk