Miami company installing oil and gas platform in Cook Inlet

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Miami company is gearing up to install the first new oil and gas platform in Cook Inlet since 1986.

The move by Forcenergy Inc. could nearly double the inlet's oil production.

VECO Inc. built living quarters for the $35 million Osprey Platform in Anchorage, while Hyundai Heavy Industries built the deck and legs in South Korea. Workers this week in Anchorage are securing the 300-ton quarters to a barge for shipment to South Korea where Hyundai will set them on the platform's deck, said Gary Carlson, Forcenergy vice president for Alaska operations.

The disk and legs will be shipped to Port Graham for assembly. Carlson told the Kenai Peninsula Clarion that he hopes to install the finished platform at Redoubt Shoal, near West Foreland in upper Cook Inlet, the second week in July.

Forcenergy is using novel methods to cut the costs of the project. Cook Inlet oil companies traditionally have used a jack-up or floating rig to explore, then removed that to build a production platform.

Forcenergy, however, has designed the Osprey as an exploration platform. If the exploratory wells find sufficient oil and gas, Forcenergy will convert it for production. If they fail, Forcenergy will move Osprey to another exploration site.

Forcenergy permit applications to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggest the Redoubt Shoal prospect could produce up to 25,000 barrels of oil and 4.3 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. That would be a huge boost to the inlet's present oil production of roughly 32,000 barrels per day.

Carlson said the company won't know how big the reservoir is until it drills exploratory wells this summer. It has permits to drill four exploratory wells, plus a fifth well to inject drilling muds and cuttings deep underground, for disposal.

If the exploratory wells find sufficient reserves, Forcenergy will build two undersea pipelines to carry the oil and gas 3.3 miles to Kustatan on the inlet's west shore.

Forcenergy also plans two 7.8-mile pipelines to carry natural gas and crude oil from Kustatan to Trading Bay.

The company is applying for permits to convert Osprey to production, Carlson said.

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