Netricity hires firm for study of North Slope data center

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Netricity LLC has hired Parsons Engineering Inc. to study the economics and markets for a proposed $1 billion data center on the North Slope.

The study, which just got under way, will take about two months, according to Mike Caskey, vice president of Fidelity Exploration and Production Co., one of two partners in the venture.

Caskey told Petroleum News Alaska that the facility, commonly known as a server farm, would house a half-million web-hosting servers in a 1 million-square-foot building, connected to clients and users by the fiber optic system that runs the length of the trans-Alaska pipeline. It would also include construction of a 400 megawatt, gas-fueled electric plant to power the center and an additional fiber optic line for backup.

Modular buildings to house the data center and power plant would be constructed in Anchorage or Nikiski, Netricity said.

Netricity is in negotiations with producers to buy natural gas from North Slope producers to power the facility. The center would use a maximum of 120 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

''We are expecting gas prices from several owners soon,'' Caskey said.

Fidelity Exploration and Production, a 75 percent partner in Netricity, is a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, the parent company of Knife River Corp., which owns Alaska Basic Industries and Alaska Sand and Gravel.

Andex Resources LLC, a 25 percent partner in Netricity, is a partner in BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.'s Slugger prospect on the North Slope. The Houston independent is also putting together a deal with Doyon Ltd. and the state of Alaska to explore and develop 538,000 acres in the Nenana Basin.

Billionaire financier George Soros is one of Andex's principal shareholders.

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