Pipeline work on schedule

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2003

Work on the Kenai-Kachemak Natural Gas Pipeline soon to link Kenai with new gas fields near Ninilchik is meeting construction deadlines so far, a spokesperson for Enstar Natural Gas Co. said Thursday.

"We are stringing pipe out," said Mark Slaughter, operations analyst for Enstar. "We are right on schedule where we intended to be."

Slaughter said the weather hasn't been as cold a was anticipated, which has created some difficulties in working in wetlands in the pipeline route that runs along Kalifornsky Beach Road and down the Sterling Highway corridor to Ninilchik. But all in all, work is progressing as expected.

An Enstar subsidiary, Norstar Pipeline Co., will operate the new pipeline for its owners, a Marathon Oil Co. and Unocal Corp. joint venture called Kenai Kachemak Pipeline LLC.

Originally intended to stretch some 62 miles from Kenai to south of Anchor Point -- hence, the name Kenai-Kachemak -- the project was scaled back last year to around 33 miles following disappointing results from gas exploration efforts near Anchor Point. The current terminus is now Ninilchik where exploration efforts were more fruitful.

Houston Contracting Co., a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., is doing the building.

Thursday, as they have been for several weeks already, workers were welding, coating and sealing the joints linking some of the roughly 3,000 lengths of steel pipe, averaging some 55 feet long, that will be used to create the pipeline. Eventually, large sections of the pipe will be lowered into a trench, joined with other sections, tested and buried, Slaughter explained.

Currently, about 90 workers are employed on the project. The pipeline is due to be completed by Oct. 15.

The line will provide tie-ins for future production pipelines from current exploration sites along its route and may one day provide for distribution lines to nearby communities. It will be able to handle up to 330 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

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