Hilcorp Energy Company is making preparations to conduct 3-D seismic testing near Ninilchik. The company has submitted an application for geophysical exploration and a plan of operations for the testing. The fifty-square-mile exploration area in the Deep Creek Unit is just east of Ninilchik and extends south for several miles, encompassing portions of Stariski Creek.
According to Hilcorp’s operations plan, the project begins with survey work to establish the testing grid, followed by a small-scale 2-D seismic test to determine how big the explosive charges for 3-D seismic testing will need to be.
That testing will occur between fifteen and thirty feet below ground surface. Geophones, the devices that record the echoes from the detonations, will be placed every two-hundred-twenty feet and monitored by helicopter.
Hilcorp currently holds about sixty-percent of the oil and gas leases in the area and is seeking permission for access from private landowners and lease holders. The project still requires permit-approval from federal, state and local agencies including one from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow approximately two-thousand shot holes that will be located in a wetlands area.
The preliminary work will begin as soon as possible and the testing is anticipated to be finished by May of next year. Hilcorp Spokesperson Lori Nelson says public meetings about the seismic testing are planned for January 9th at Ninilchik School before the project is fully underway.