Prudhoe Bay is the largest oil field in North America, and it ranks among the 20 largest fields in the world. The operator, BP, estimates the original oil in place to be about 25 billion barrels, and gas in place is estimated to be 46 trillion cubic feet.1
Through December 2015, cumulative production from the Prudhoe Bay Field totaled nearly 12.6 billion barrels of oil, and the Prudhoe Oil Pool contributed nearly 11.7 billion barrels to this total.2
Associated produced water and most of the associated produced gas are currently re-injected to maintain reservoir pressure.
The Prudhoe Bay State No. 1 exploratory well discovered this pool in 1968. In that well, DST No. 12 (a 48-1/2 hour production test that began June 1, 1968) produced oil at a maximum rate of 2,415 barrels per day, with an average estimated rate of about 2,025 barrels per day.3
Regular oil production began in April 1969, exceeded an average rate of 1,000,000 barrels per day in March of 1978, and then peaked in January 1987 at 1,627,036 barrels per day. In March 1994, oil production from the pool dropped below 1,000,000 barrels per day. For the last three months of 2010, the Prudhoe Oil Pool produced an average of 257,150 barrels of oil per day. Between 2009 and 2013, Prudhoe Bay dropped from first place to third place amongst all U.S. oil fields, falling behind two Texas oil fields, the Eagle Ford Shale Play and the Sprayberry Trend.4
For the last three months of 2015, the Prudhoe Oil Pool averaged 218,100 barrels of oil per day.5
In October 2015, the AOGCC approved Conservation Order No. 341F, which increased the allowable annual average gas offtake rate from the Prudhoe Oil Pool from 2.7 to 3.6 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day to adequate capacity to meet the anticipated gas sales requirements for the proposed Alaska LNG project. That same order determined the carbon dioxide within the Alaska LNG gas treatment plant effluent stream would prove to be a very valuable resource for enhanced recover projects on the North Slope of Alaska.6
At that same time, the AOGCC also approved Area Injection Order Nos. 3B and 4G, which authorized injection of carbon dioxide and other gas treatment plant effluent gasses from sources within or outside of the Prudhoe Bay Unit to be injected into the Prudhoe Oil Pool for purposes of pressure maintenance and enhanced oil recovery.7,8