The Nuna project is an onshore oil development located in the North Slope of Alaska, US.

ConocoPhillips Alaska fully owns the project. The company acquired the Nuna development from Caelus Energy Alaska in 2019.

In June 2023, ConocoPhillips Alaska announced that it plans to invest around $1bn per year to develop its Alaska legacy business with projects such as Nuna.

Construction on the project is scheduled to start in 2023 and continue in 2024, with pipeline and on-pad construction.

Drilling activities are anticipated to begin in late 2024, with the first oil expected in early 2025. The Nuna project is expected to produce 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Nuna Project Location and Background

The Nuna Project is located within the Kuparuk River Unit (KRU), east of the Colville River and 40 miles west of Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay), Alaska.

The Nuna prospect was discovered in 2012.

The proposed Drill Site 3T (DS-3T) Development Project was initially authorised by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 Department of the Army Permit POA-2005-01295- M6 for the permittee, Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska.

In September 2014, the permit was transferred to Caelus Energy Alaska.

Caelus executed the work approved by POA-2005-01295-M6 to build the existing DS-3T gravel pad and access road connecting DS-3T to the Kuparuk River field road network.

Caelus drilled two wells on the DS-3T gravel pad before suspending them in 2013. POA-2005-01295-M6 was transferred to ConocoPhillips Alaska in September 2019, and is now known as POA-2019-00444. The purchase includes 11 tracts totalling 21,000 acres.

The permission for the construction of two Class I non-hazardous industrial waste injection wells to be constructed and drilled from the onshore Nuna Project Drill Site for injection into the Oooguruk Unit (OU) was granted in April 2016.

Drilling Activity

Drilling and completion activities are set to commence in October 2024 and continue through 2027, until all planned wells are completed.

Prior to the commissioning of the new power line linked to DS-3T, drill rig engines will be fueled by ultra-low sulphur diesel, and drill rig boilers and heaters will be powered by low-end point diesel.

Drill rig engines will be powered by shore power generated at Central Processing Facility 3 after commissioning of the powerline, and ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel will be available for backup.

Nuna Project Development Details

The Nuna project will involve 29 development wells, on-pad infrastructure, and pipelines that will link to existing KRU processing facilities. Drillsite 3T will be the 49th drill site within KRU. The onshore oil project will be linked to the existing KRU infrastructure through pipelines and a power line extending from the DS-3T gravel pad to the DS-3S drill site.

The new pipelines comprise a 16-inch diameter produced oil (PO) pipeline, an eight-inch diameter water injection (WI) pipeline, and an eight-inch diameter gas injection (GI) pipeline.

The pipelines will be installed on about 320 Vertical Support Members (VSM) and new horizontal support members (HSM) to accommodate space for a future pipeline. The power line will be connected to DS-3T through a messenger cable tied to the new pipes, and a pipeline crossing will be erected in the current DS-3T access road.

The DS-3T gravel work is scheduled to start in August 2023, including the installation of pipeline casings, and the Single Production Module (SPM) will be delivered in 2024. Pipelines will be constructed beginning in November 2023, with hydrostatic testing will begin in August 2024.

Contractors Involved

Cruz Construction was engaged by Caelus to provide construction services for the Nuna project.

The scope of work comprised the construction of a 75-bed remote camp, mine site development, three miles of on-shore ice road and ten miles of offshore ice road, gravel placement for road and pad improvements, and other project development infrastructure.