Explorers 2014: Royale is studying seismic and planning exploration
Royale and partner Rampart have competed a seismic program and secured a $50 million credit facility
For Petroleum News
Royale Energy Inc. recently completed its first seismic acquisition in Alaska and the results will determine exploration drilling in the near future, according to the company.
“We are pleased with the progress of this important step in the development of (Royale’s) Alaska property, and look forward to analyzing the data to select drilling locations for the coming winter season,” Co-CEO Stephen Hosmer said in a statement in March.
Royale is partnering on the program with Denver-based Rampart Energy Inc., which recently committed $50 million to upcoming exploration activities on the acreage.
“The preliminary results available to date are showing excellent data quality and clearly highlight the key interpretable intervals such as the Brookian and HRZ packages, and near top Kingak Formation. We look forward to reporting on interim processing deliverables, and our early interpretation, in due course,” Rampart CEO Torey Marshall said in an April 2014 statement, adding that the partners plan to drill two wells next year.
A recent arrival
The San Diego-based Royale arrived in Alaska in December 2011, when it spent some $2.7 million in high bids on nearly 100,000 acres of North Slope leases thought to be prospective for source rock development. The leases were in three blocks: in the Franklin Bluffs region, south of Prudhoe Bay, and south of Nuiqsut along the Colville River.
The small company also holds interests in Sacramento basin and San Joaquin basin of California, as well as in Utah and Texas, and produces some 15 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from its wells. After testing the waters with the Monterey shale of California, the company wanted to take another stab at unconventional resources.
“I believe in the oil shale opportunities here (in Alaska), so we decided to give it a shot and I’m happy that it looks like we have succeeded,” Royale Vice President for Exploration and Production Mohamed Abdel-Rahman told Petroleum News in late 2011.
Abdel-Rahman arrived in Alaska in the early 1980s, while working for Sohio. He started as a geologist focusing on the southern half of the state and became the district geologist for the entire state as the company was drilling the Mukluk well in Harrison Bay, in 1983.
The $1 billion well was the most expensive dry hole in history. Sohio picked Abdel-Rahman to lead a post-mortem investigation. “At the time it was not fashionable to talk about biomarkers - organic compounds that are characteristic of the organisms from which the oil is generated - but we did biomarkers work in Mukluk and compared it to all the other oils that had been discovered on the North Slope. We found an astounding match of the Mukluk oil and Kuparuk oil,” Abdel-Rahman told Petroleum News in early 2012, adding, “In my view there is no doubt that the Mukluk oil went to Kuparuk.”
The work convinced Abdel-Rahman about the nature and location of the North Slope source rocks, which would have “charged” Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk and other big fields.
While Royale claims to have been interested in Alaska source rock potential for some time, the company said it wanted to get more “internal infrastructure” in place before bidding on acreage. But after Great Bear Petroleum LLC took some 500,000 acres of source rock prospective acreage in an October 2010 lease sale, Royale decided it had better make its move. “We were caught by surprise when Great Bear Petroleum took that much acreage. It forced us to move quickly,” Hosmer told Petroleum News in early 2012.
Even though Royale came in second, it believes it got a good land position. “Everything we picked is optimum for oil generation - in all three shales,” Abdel-Rahman said.
The central North Slope is home to three stacked shales: the Triassic-age Shublik formation, the Jurassic-age Kingak shale and the Cretaceous-age Hue, or HRZ, shale.
Prices of NG / oil irrelevant . movement of share price reflects value of co
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