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Drilling for more at C-31

Canadian Forest Oil drilling for Liard gas

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Liard (Dec 01/00) - The search has been a success and it's not over.

Major natural gas discoveries have been made near Fort Liard and exploration work continues.

Canadian Forest Oil is drilling a well it calls C-31, just north of Chevron's massive K-29 find. The company already has applications before the Mackenzie Land and Water Board for a 300-metre pipeline tie-in to the C-31 well.

"We're making applications on anticipation of success to facilitate a timely tie-in, said Bob Bachynski, manager of land and regulatory affairs for Canadian Forest Oil.

"The regulatory process, at times, can be rather involved and long. Therefore we're trying to approach some of these things in parallel."

Even if the board decides on Thursday to refer the applications to an environmental assessment, which usually takes about two months, Bachynski said there would still be an opportunity to do the work during the first half of 2001 because of the location and short length of pipeline needed.

He added it probably won't be until next month when Canadian Forest Oil will know whether C-31 will be lucrative enough to warrant the pipeline.

Promising land

The Acho Dene Koe are supplying the camps and catering service on the C-31 project.

Canadian Forest Oil and other partners plan to drill another well, F-75, on an exploration licence to the east.

The land in the area is promising in terms of its natural gas content, but there haven't been any further rights issuances in quite some time, Bachynski said.

"So that sort of creates a bit of a bottleneck ... I think all industry would like to see more rights become available in the area, but it's a complicated process," he said.

It's hoped the Deh Cho First Nations' interim measures agreement might create more certainty in the rest of the region in terms of oil and gas exploration and development, Bachynski said.

"A lot of people are looking towards that," he said. "Momentum is a wonderful thing when it comes to oil and gas or any development. Failing to take hold of the momentum, capital is very fluid, it can go elsewhere."