Economy and Business

Spanish firm Repsol makes largest onshore oil discovery in US in 30 years

Company says it has discovered approximately 1.2 billion barrels in Alaska’s North Slope

Spanish energy giant Repsol has made the largest onshore find of conventional oil in the United States in the last three decades, with reserves identified in Alaska totaling an estimated 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable light crude oil, the company said in a statement.

Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau (right) with managing director Josu Jon Imaz.
Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau (right) with managing director Josu Jon Imaz.EFE

The reserves were discovered by a consortium formed by Repsol and US energy firm Armstrong Energy after exploratory drilling at the Horseshoe-1 and Horseshoe-1A wells last winter. The new discovery extends by 32 kilometers south earlier discoveries made from 2014 to 2015 in the so-called Pikka Unit of the Nanushuk mining area in northern Alaska.

The new find confirms the area as one of the most promising in Alaska’s North Slope, Repsol said in its statement.

It is also equivalent to the total consumption of Spain for four years, and given the high standard of infrastructure in the zone it can be efficiently extracted.

The discovery is equivalent to Spain’s total consumption for four years

Respol, headed by CEO Antonio Brufau, has a 25% stake in Horseshoe and a 49% working interest in Pikka, while Armstrong holds the remaining shares and is the current operator.

Before drilling at Horseshoe, Repsol worked as the operator at 13 exploration and appraisal wells on the North Slope, projects that resulted in multiple discoveries currently included in the Pikka Unit.

Production at the new site is set to kick off in 2021 with potential output of around 120,000 barrels a day. The total size of the Horseshoe reserves is yet to be established with the current figure of 1.2 million barrels subject to change.

Repsol, with a strong presence in Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Libya and Algeria, has been operating in the United States for 10 years and has been involved in exploration in Alaska since 2008.

Last year, the company chalked up production of 690,200 barrels a day, 23% up on a year earlier and the target for 2017 is 700,000 barrels a day. The scale of the new discovery in Alaska is therefore highly significant.

English version by George Mills.

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