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Caelus hopes to extract millions of barrels of oil through North Slope fracking

State officials hope North Slope newcomer Caelus Energy Alaska can crack the code on a tricky oil prospect along the Arctic Ocean and lay the groundwork for similar opportunities scattered across the region.

Success at the Nuna field west of Prudhoe Bay, where Caelus will employ fracking techniques developed in the Lower 48 shale boom, could have widespread benefits if lessons learned can be applied to other fields with oil trapped in “tight” rock with little porosity, state officials said.

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Caelus sanctions Nuna development

Caelus Energy has given formal approval for its new $1.5 billion Nuna oil project on the North Slope and has started construction, the company confirmed Friday.

A letter notifying the state Department of Natural Resources of the approval was sent to the agency March 10 to satisfy a requirement of a temporary state royalty modification for the Nuna project.

Gravel mining and hauling for a 2.5-mile access road and 22-acre drillsite began Jan. 25, Caelus Vice President Pat Foley told state Deputy Natural Resources Commissioner Marty Rutherford in the letter.

The road and pad are to be finished this winter, with construction of production facilities planned for next year, company spokesman Casey Sullivan said in an interview.

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