Eni 'Slows' Development of Nikaitchuq in Alaska's North Slope

According to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Eni has delayed its drilling and development operations at its 100%-owned Nikaitchuq project, located offshore Alaska's North Slope.

While onshore pipeline construction will be shelved, offshore pipeline construction, as well as insulation of pipe in Fairbanks, is expected to continue, contractors reported to the Journal.

The Journal noted that state officials confirmed that the company informed them of the Nikaitchuq project's delay, and that plans were to resume drilling and additional operations next winter.

State O&G Director Kevin Banks told the Journal that Eni "described it as slowing the schedule and more or less returning to a normal rather than fast-paced schedule. Unfortunately it means laying down the rig for the winter."

Banks also noted that Eni expects to commence production at Nikaitchuq, which has an estimated 180 million barrels of reserves, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

As part of its drilling campaign, Eni plans to drill 71 wells with about a third of the wells drilled from an onshore production pad and the remaining wells from an offshore gravel production island that will be constructed in Phase 2 of the Nikaitchuq field's development.