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Big hit on North Slope means big potential for Alaska oil independent

Katie Medred

Nuna, the fledgling well site of Texas-based Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska Inc., appears to be the next big thing in independent oil. Pioneer announced -- based on exploration drilling done over the winter months -- that as many as 50 million barrels may be nestled under a potential development site in Alaska's far north, according to Petroleum News.

Nuna sits at the southern extent of the Torok formation in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea region. Pioneer’s outlined plan suggests drilling between 35 and 65 horizontal wells  from two onshore pads into the Torok formation should the company chooses to go forward with the expansion of their already-existing Oooguruk unit to incorporate Nuna. Petroleum News reports that Pioneer has until June 30, 2014 to decide whether or not to sanction the new development.

The exploration of the area didn't come cheap to the independent producer, penciling in at slightly more than $50 million in combined investigation efforts. However, the company was well rewarded with the prospect of expanding to include Nuna. The substantial production at an expanded Oooguruk could make Alaska a much more attractive prospect to Pioneer. The company’s CEO, Scott Sheffield, sees Alaska as growing in resources, while other locations seem to be running out.

Read much more, at Petroleum News.