Drilling to start on Cook Inlet project while Enstar seeks new contracts

Posted: Friday, September 01, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- Enstar Natural Gas Co. expects drilling to start soon on a project in western Cook Inlet, officials said this week.

Enstar recently signed a contract with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for gas from the Moquawkie Prospect in western Cook Inlet, Enstar President Barrett Hatches told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Later, Anadarko spokesman Mark Hanley said his company struck gas at Moquawkie with its Lone Creek 1 well in 1998 and plans to drill the Lone Creek 2 and 3 wells this fall.

''We're hoping those wells confirm what we think from some of the seismic stuff,'' he said.

The utility is negotiating other contracts for new natural gas to encourage Cook Inlet exploration and development, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

''We don't have our entire capacity to 2020,'' Hatches said. ''So what we're doing now is filling in the voids.''

Enstar is negotiating with another producer to fill other gaps in its supplies. Hatches said that company also is committing to drill for natural gas.

Enstar actually could use the commitments it has through 2020 to meet demand until 2008, he said.

Enstar isn't lobbying for a role in the effort to bring natural gas from the North Slope, Hatches told the Soldotna audience. When a pipeline comes from the slope, though, he said, he's hoping it comes close enough to the present Cook Inlet distribution system so Enstar can build a spur to reach it. He said local supplies are limited.

''At some point, what we have is going to run out unless we do something different,'' he said.

Enstar wants to bring natural gas to communities such as Homer and Seward, he said, but before it expands into a new community, there must be at least one large customer to support the project. Hatches said he believes that once a pipeline comes, the customers will follow.

''But we need to have someone on the end of that pipeline that can support it until they get there,'' he said.

Enstar will encourage economic development to bring the large commercial and industrial customers that make residential service possible, he said.

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