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Seismic surveys underway in Cook Inlet

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- The pace of Cook Inlet oil and gas exploration is picking up this month with new seismic surveys along the coast from Ninilchik nearly to Clam Gulch.

Unocal Corp. plans to do roughly 20 miles of seismic surveys, 12 miles offshore and eight miles on land, said Rick Trupp, permitting coordinator for Fairweather Geophysical, which is conducting the work with joint venture partners Veritas DGC and Kuukpik Corp.

Plans call for discharging air guns and explosives, then measuring echoes from the seismic waves to map underground structures that could hold oil and natural gas.

''Unocal believes there is still significant hydrocarbon potential in the Cook Inlet and on the Kenai Peninsula,'' said Chuck Pierce, vice president of Unocal Alaska.

Unocal, Enstar Natural Gas Co. and Homer Electric Association are exploring the feasibility of building a $45 million natural gas pipeline between Kenai and Homer. That could make natural gas from the south peninsula available to users in Kenai, Soldotna and Anchorage and allow natural gas service for south peninsula consumers.

The coastline of the project lies within the Clam Gulch Critical Habitat Area, which includes the intertidal area from Cape Kasilof nearly to the mouth of Happy Valley Creek. Rader said that after May 1, seismic workers must coordinate with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to avoid conflicts with fishing and other activities in the area, such as recreational clam digging. There will be no seismic work allowed in the critical habitat area after May 15.

Don McKay, permitting coordinator for the Fish and Game in Anchorage, said the state's primary concerns are to avoid conflicts with commercial fishing later in the summer and to avoid conflicts with recreational clammers.

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