Kenai pipeline will connect new gas source

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- A $100 million pipeline planned along the Sterling Highway will bring natural gas to the southern Kenai Peninsula and add to the supply flowing north to serve the big markets in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Kenai Kachemak Pipeline LLC is owned by Unocal Corp. and Marathon Oil Co. Enstar Natural Gas is expected to oversee construction and operation of the line.

The project got a big boost last week when an exploration well 35 miles south of Kenai tested at 11.2 million cubic feet of gas daily, which Unocal officials called a ''very, very large find.''

''The primary purpose will be to move gas to the north,'' Unocal Manager of Resource Development John Zager said. ''It will also facilitate gas usage in the communities along the route.''

Enstar will work with the pipeline owners to manage operation, construction and distribution to Anchorage and some peninsula communities, he said, with Enstar building a low-pressure distribution line to carry gas from Anchor Point to Homer.

Work on the project could get under way as early as this fall, Zager said.

The pipeline will be buried four feet underground. Zager said much of the line will run along Sterling Highway easements, going around dense population centers to avoid potential hazards to the pipe. The pipeline will duck under seven rivers and streams along its route.

The first gas is scheduled to begin passing through the pipe system by November 2003, Zager said.

''We have a pretty firm deadline of having the pipeline actually capable of flowing gas in late 2003,'' he said. ''We could begin clearing the right of way possibly this fall.''

The companies will try to minimize impacts on tourism along the busy highway during the peak summer months, he said.

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