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BP celebrates Prudhoe Bay production milestone

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Oilfield Technology,

The Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska has reached 40 years of production. This milestone highlights the field’s contribution to US energy security and its ongoing role as a key economic tool for both the region and the nation.

Located on Alaska’s North Slope, Prudhoe Bay oil production started on 20 June 1977. It began flowing 800 miles down what was then a newly constructed Trans Alaska pipeline system (TAPS) to Valdez, where it was loaded onto tankers to supply markets on the US West Coast.

Since Prudhoe Bay began production, it has generated over 12.5 billion bbls of oil. This figure has exceeded initial projections and makes the oil field the most productive in the US. The original estimated recovery for Prudhoe Bay was 9.6 billion bbls. However, an additional 3 billion bbls have been unlocked so far through innovations in oilfield technology.

As well as contributing to advances in drilling techniques, including multi-lateral and coiled tubing, the oilfield has been a hub for testing and deploying emerging enhanced oil recovery technologies that BP pioneered. Many of these recovery technologies are now integral to Prudhoe Bay’s operations and other parts of BP’s portfolio.

Today, while production has fallen from historic peaks due to natural decline, Prudhoe Bay remains the third largest oilfield in the US by proved reserves, behind the Eagle Ford Shale and Spraberry fields in Texas. Prudhoe Bay is a major source of domestic oil production, with current output at approximately 281 800 boe/d. In addition, Prudhoe Bay continues to support more than 16 000 Alaska jobs and supplies 55% of all of Alaska’s oil production.

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