Point Thomson is the first field in Alaska’s North Slope to be operated by ExxonMobil. The field is estimated to hold approximately one-fourth of the known natural gas resources in the North Slope.
ExxonMobil holds a 62% participation interest in the Point Thomson field, while the remaining stake is held by BP.
BP, however, agreed to sell its Alaska assets including its interest in the Point Thomson field to Houston-based Hilcorp in 2019. The acquisition is expected to be completed in 2020.
The field commenced condensate production in April 2016, while the natural gas resources are expected to be commercialised through the proposed Alaska LNG and Qilak LNG projects.
Point Thomson field development background
ExxonMobil completed the drilling and testing of two wells at Point Thomson in 2010. It received environmental approval to develop Point Thomson in 2012 and started construction of production facilities and pipelines for the project in 2013.
ExxonMobil invested approximately £3.2bn ($4bn) to develop the Point Thomson field.
Location and field details
The Point Thomson field is located on the coast of Beaufort Sea in Alaska’s North Slope, approximately 60 miles to the east of Prudhoe Bay.
Spread over approximately 93,000 acres, the Point Thomson field is located adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The field’s reservoir is primarily located offshore and the natural gas is recovered using long-reach directional drilling technology.
Gas and condensate reserves
The Point Thomson field is estimated to contain eight trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves and 200 million barrels of condensate reserves.
Point Thomson is a retrograde gas condensate reservoir which poses many challenges in field development when compared to other conventional reservoirs.
Point Thomson initial production system (IPS)
The high-pressure gas condensate cycling project comprises a high-pressure gas production system and an onsite central processing facility with a capacity to process 200 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas per day to produce 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) of condensate.
The processed natural gas is re-injected to maintain the reservoir pressure. The field consists of the production well PTU 17, and two injection wells PTU 15 and 16.
The natural gas condensate from the field is supplied to the Badami pipeline through a 35km-long and 12-inch diameter pipeline. The condensate from the Badami pipeline is further transported to the Trans-Alaska pipeline system through the Endicott pipeline.
The Point Thomson field produced 6.17 million barrels of natural gas condensate till February 2020 since it commenced production in April 2016.
Natural gas off-take agreements
ExxonMobil has entered into a sales precedent agreement to supply its share of natural gas from the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson fields to the proposed Alaska LNG project.
ExxonMobil also entered into a Heads of Agreement to supply natural gas from Point Thomson field to the proposed Qilak LNG export project in October 2019. Qilak LNG is a subsidiary of the Dubai-based Lloyds Energy.
Worley Parsons Group executed the primary engineering, procurement and construction management contract for the Point Thomson field development project.
CH2M HILL Alaska was responsible for the installation of production system modules.
Although the Point Thomson prospect was approved by Alaska’s department of natural resources in 1977, there was no activity in the field between 1983 and 2009. As many as 17 wells were drilled at the field by ExxonMobil and other companies till 1983.
The field was classified into the default category by Alaska’s department of natural resources in 2005 as there was no development for 30 years.
The project partners approached the court challenging the government’s decision and reached a settlement after a legal battle for almost seven years in 2012.
As per the settlement, the Point Thomson field was required to produce natural gas condensates by the winter of 2015/16.
ConocoPhillips exited from the project by assigning its 4.9% participating interest in the Point Thomson field to the field operator ExxonMobil in 2017.