Pioneer sees possible future in Alaska oil

May 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 13 (UPI) -- Pioneer Natural Resources' chief executive officer said the Texas company's future in Alaska oil shows promise, but stopped short of committing to the state.

When asked last August if Pioneer has a future in the state, CEO Scott Sheffield said, "it's always an option" to divest itself of its business in Alaska.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday that Sheffield said this month the assets in Alaska showed the potential for "growing significantly over the next several years." Still, when asked about Pioneer's future in the state, Sheffield said that decision would be made "down the road" based on whether productive wells are drilled.

"And so that's the key," he said. "Do we have enough upside on growth to able to reinvest the cash flow and grow the asset? And we love growing assets."

By contrast, the firm's wells in South Africa were "running out," he said, and the Daily News said Pioneer recently sold its assets in that country.

Pioneer announced recently it had discovered a 50-million-barrel site in Alaska based on tests done this past winter.

The well, Nuna No. 1, showed the potential to produce 2,000 barrels per day.

The well has been shut down temporarily, but tests are expected to start up again next winter, the newspaper said.

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