A new gas pipeline is being proposed to carry the recently discovered natural gas reserves in Ninilchik some thirty miles to the nearest infrastructure in Kenai.
According to Ben Schoffmann, Project Manager for Marathon Oil Company, the new project is known as the Kenai Kachemak Pipeline or KKPL for short.
Marathon and Unocal are partners in the new project and are currently in the permitting process to construct a 12-inch diameter 33-mile long pipeline to carry the gas to market. The pipeline is relatively smaller then most other lines in Kenai, which are 16 to 20 inch pipelines, and will have a capacity of 120 million cubic feet per day. "The route of the pipeline will follow the existing transportation corridor for the Alaska Highway System, so it will follow the Sterling Highway from Ninilchik to just north of the Kasilof River and then follow the K-Beach Road up to the Kenai gas field," said Schoffmann last week speaking to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
Schoffmann said that the river crossings will be bored and that the wet land portions will be buried in the winter when it will have the least environmental impact and restored to it's original condition after construction.
The project is expected to have a positive economic impact on the local area as well as the Anchorage bowl providing jobs and additional tax base as well as securing the market demands for natural gas in the future. Schoffmann is hopeful that the new pipeline will spark additional exploration and development in the area, "Marathon is heavily invested in the Cook Inlet and we currently have an exploration prospect that we are evaluating and we would like to do some work on next year around Kasilof. That's going to be made all the more possible because of KKPL, other operators have leases down in that direction, and the presence of a new pipeline to bring gas to market in that area is only going to help the justification to spend more money there looking for more gas," said Schoffmann.
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