Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Doyon is seeking oil, not gas, in the second well.

 

FAIRBANKS — Doyon Limited is planning to dig a second well in the Nenana Basin to explore for oil this summer.

The Fairbanks-based Alaska Native corporation is in the process of extending a road 12 miles west of Nenana to reach the drill site. The road follows a right-of-way owned by the city of Nenana, according to Jim Mery, vice president of lands and natural resources for Doyon.

“We’re extending a road we had built in 2009 for our first well out there,” Mery said on Friday.

Doyon is extending the road 9 miles west from the site of the first well, dubbed Nunivak No. 1. The first well tapped a 3,000-acre area and the results showed an “active petroleum system” in the area, although not enough to make a development project economically viable in the immediate vicinity.

However, the first well provided “sufficient encouragement” to convince Doyon to drill a second well, Mery said. The Nunivak No. 1 well, which was drilled on Mental Health Trust Lands, has since been plugged and abandoned, he said.

The plans for the second well, which will be drilled on state land and named Nunivak No. 2, are similar to the first. Crews will drill down about 12,000 feet in search of oil, Mery said. Drilling is expected to begin in mid-June.

Mery did not provide a cost estimate, but Doyon and its partners, Usibelli Energy, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and Denver-based Rampart Energy, sank about $15 million into drilling the first well.

The Nenana Basin is estimated to hold 1 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.