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88 Energy poised for catalysts as Icewine well nears pivotal phase

onshore oil drilling
Production testing may prove decisive

88 Energy Limited (LON:88E) has not been shy in telling investors that the next few weeks will provide share price catalysts.

Imminent fracking and flow testing at the Icewine-2 appraisal well, slated to progress over the next three weeks, are seen as pivotal for the future of the group’s ‘play opening’ shale project in Alaska.

The AIM-quoted share has climbed some 50% in the past month as traders get their bets in whilst the Icewine-2 well has progressed.

Decisive results are now just around the corner, and seemingly the anticipation is almost palpable.

Good results in the imminent testing programme may prove that the HRZ shale resource, so far estimated in excess of 1bn barrels, are commercially viable and, according to analysts, that could be a significant step that would attract the attention of US oil majors which have yet to pour into Alaska shale.

As exciting as the prize potentially is, the drill programme has thus far been somewhat unremarkable.

88 Energy is a regular communicator whilst it is in the field. As the Icewine-2 programme has advanced the explorer has updated investors at pretty much every turn, and to this point the well has gone as guided.

Drilling began in late April and was completed by the end of May. The well has cut two zones of the HRZ shale to be perforated and tested, as expected.

The next step is to frack the shale, with a multi-stage programme due to start on Saturday June 17, after that comes the planned production testing phase, which aims to measure the flow of oil from the two shale zone. These will be the decisive results for the programme.

Most recent update from Alaska

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, 88 Energy’s most recent project update revealed that the sundry application for execution of the main stimulation work at Icewine-2 has been approved by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC).

Giving details of the upcoming multiple stage fracking programme, the company noted that one stage will be executed in the lower HRZ shale interval and the other will be in the upper HRZ.

It is anticipated that the upper zone will be flowed back for up to two weeks, before the lower zone is opened up and comingled with the flow from the upper zone. The company said an extra two weeks of clean-up will occur before the company may be in a position to report flow rates.

In the statement, 88 Energy managing director Dave Wall said: “The company would like to thank its shareholders for supporting the Project Icewine team in getting us to the cusp of flow testing a potentially significant resource play in the HRZ shale.”

“The work done to date by a dedicated group of employees and consultants has been to a high standard utilising the latest best practice techniques in industry.

“This increases the chance of a successful execution of the program but does not increase the likelihood of success for the play itself. 

“The remaining key uncertainties, namely effective creation of complex fractures and gas to oil ratio, cannot be resolved until the stimulation is executed.”

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