Alaska North Slope: Caelus Energy announces giant discovery in Beaufort Sea
On 4 October 2016, Caelus Energy released internal estimates of 1.8 to 2.4 bnbbl of recoverable reserves and 6 bnbbl of oil in place from the Tulimaniq field in the shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea off the North Slope of Alaska. If these volumes are proven, it would mark the largest oil discovery since Norway’s Johan Sverdrup in 2010. While the discovery has been touted by the operator as a game-changer, it faces significant headwinds to reach development. The remote location, costly development solution, environmental sensitivity and fluctuating fiscal environment could diminish returns or derail the project altogether, even if appraisal results support the giant field size.