Kenai motorists traveling along Bridge Access Road can expect to see some natural gas well drilling activity for the next month or so.
As soon as Marathon Oil Company receives permits from Kenai and from the state possibly by the end of this week drilling will begin on what the company is calling Cannery Loop No. 3 Pad.
“We’re waiting for the city of Kenai conditional use permit, the city drilling permit and the state oil and gas conservation permit,” said Charles “Chick” Underwood, Marathon’s regulatory compliance representative, on Monday.
A drilling rig is already in place at the site, and mechanical work is under way on the rig and on other production equipment, according to Underwood.
Once drilling begins, Marathon expects to drill for 30 days and then put the well into production. Drilling depth is approximately 8,150 feet.
“Originally we were permitting for two wells, but we will only be drilling one well at this time,” Underwood said.
Marathon has drilled 10 wells from its Cannery Loop No. 1 Pad on the south side of the Kenai River near the entrance to Kenai Landing.
Realizing the gas being produced extends farther north, the company decided to reactivate Pad No. 3, which first became a Union Oil now Unocal gas production site in 1981.
Unocal exchanged properties with Marathon in 1994 and Pad No. 3 has been maintained in a suspended status until now.
Underwood said Marathon is installing new production equipment including line heaters and a glycol reboiler and anticipates having the well fully active by the end of the year.
“For the most part, these (Cook Inlet) fields are 97 to 98 percent pure methane,” Underwood said. Sulfur and hydrogen sulfide, typically present in oil production, are not occurring in gas from these fields.
Impurities such as water vapor and inert gases will be removed from the gas before it is put into the Kenai-Nikiski pipeline for delivery to industrial users in North Kenai.
Underwood said gas from that pipeline can also be diverted to Enstar for use by the utility company.
While he did not say how much gas production Marathon expects from the well, Underwood said the other wells at Cannery Loop produce in the range of 5 to 12 million cubic feet a day.
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