Enstar's peninsula growth continues

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Enstar continues to experience what it terms normal growth on the Kenai Peninsula at an annual rate of 3 percent, adding 328 customers in 2003. It expects an additional 300 to 400 customers this year.

By the end of 2004, the company anticipates bringing residential natural gas service to people in the Ninilchik area and to add Anchor Point and Homer residential customers in 2005 or 2006, according to Charlie Pierce, division manager.

Enstar gets its natural gas supplies primarily from Unocal and Marathon, but Pierce said the company is constantly looking for additional supplies.

In a presentation to the Regu-latory Commission of Alaska late last year, Enstar executives said the company is working with two contracts with Cook Inlet region gas producers: Marathon Oil Co. and ConocoPhillips.

Enstar at a glance

Company headquarters: Anchorage

Manager: Charlie Pierce, division manager

Local contact: 262-9334

Number of employees on Kenai Peninsula: 14

Number of Kenai Peninsula customers: 10,500

Company outlook: Enstar anticipates a normal growth of about 3 percent in 2004 on the Kenai Peninsula but expects to deliver residential natural gas service to the Ninilchik area by the end of the year. Homer and Anchor Point should be brought online in 2005 or 2006.

The company also received a commitment from Unocal representing 26 percent of the utility's supply, and officials said by 2007, Unocal is expected to be providing about half of the company's supply requirements.

Enstar is expected to distribute approximately 27 billion cubic feet of natural gas to its customers this year.

Most of the new supply from Unocal will come from offshore fields developed near Ninilchik by Unocal and Marathon.

Gas fields in the Beluga River area operated by ConocoPhillips and Chevron Oil Co. continue to supply about 7 percent of the utility's needs and another 7 percent is being produced onshore on the Kenai Peninsula by Aurora Gas.

Enstar expects to have abundant supplies of gas available in Southcentral Alaska well into the next decade, but the cost of heating homes with gas likely will increase.

The price is tied to the price of all fuels, according to Pierce, who said the company does an annual fuel cost adjustment, which usually comes out in January.

"The price of natural gas parallels price moves of other fuels," he said.

Some of Enstar's contracts with suppliers are based on price indexes tied to market conditions in the Lower 48.

In addition to Cook Inlet gas, Enstar receives supplies from the Beaver Creek and Swanson River fields, which are considered part of the Cook Inlet Basin.

In all, Enstar supplies natural gas to 115,000 customers.

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