Peak builds ice road for Kenai exploration

Peak Oilfield Service Co. (Peak) is building a 3-mile ice road and 1-acre ice pad to provide access to NordAq Energy Inc. (NordAq) for exploratory drilling on CIRI subsurface estate below the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Peak is constructing the 30-foot-wide road using a mixture of freshwater, ice chips and snow. Ice roads are not common on the Kenai Peninsula, and it has required unusual measures, including renting three snowmakers from the Alyeska ski resort and trucking ice from local salmon processing plants.

NordAq plans to drill the “Shadura” gas prospect in the Refuge and will target the Beluga formation sands between 6,000 feet and 11,000 feet deep and the Tyonek formation sands between 11,000 and 14,500 feet deep. Directional drilling from an off-refuge site to reach these targets was not feasible because of the distance involved.

The ice road accesses NordAq’s drill site with minimal environmental impact because it follows wetlands and winds around timber islands to avoid tree cutting. CIRI received the subsurface acreage as part of the Cook Inlet Land Exchange and will receive royalties if gas is produced.

The project has generated jobs for about 150 Kenai Peninsula residents and many subcontractors, according to a NordAq representative.

“There have been so many people in the community involved in the project and community support has been tremendous,” the NordAq representative said.

Drilling is expected to begin late in January or early February and will be concluded by early March. CIRI and Nabors Industries Inc. each own 50 percent of Peak. Peak provides a variety of equipment, maintenance, support, construction and general contracting services to oil, gas and chemical projects on Alaska’s North Slope, the Kenai Peninsula, the Matanuska Valley and Valdez. Peak also provides procurement, safety, engineering services and electric power systems across Alaska.