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Phillips Focused on Alaska

By applying advanced technology at existing but maturing oil fields and finding new pools of oil, Phillips Alaska Inc. hopes to keep North Slope production at or above the current rate of 360,000 barrels per day for years, a company official said yesterday.

"Our real goal is to stay flat and, hopefully, incline production in the next five years," said Kris Fuhr, projects group manager for the Phillips Petroleum unit.

An important step toward reaching that goal is efficient production of the remaining 3 billion recoverable barrels at Prudhoe Bay and 1 billion recoverable barrels at Kuparuk, giant but aging fields co-owned with BP plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and others, according to Reuters.

Phillips is now producing nearly 7,000 barrels a day from the formation and is trying to perfect the technology that will allow wider production. Phillips has been successful at finding and developing satellite fields near existing production sites, Fuhr said.

And at the company's Alpine field, which started production last fall, performance has been so good that Phillips Alaska's managers hope to boost production capacity there. Current capacity at the processing plant and pipeline is 100,000 barrels a day. Production now is about 90,000 barrels a day, above the expected 80,000 barrels, and a "really pleasant outcome" for the field, Fuhr said.

If officials at the parent company and in state government approve, and if engineering problems can be addressed, Alpine's production capacity could increase by 35 percent to 40 percent, Fuhr said.

An application for approval of the capacity increase is expected in the third quarter of the year, said Phillips spokeswoman Dawn Patience.
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