Unocal is all smiles about its Happy Valley natural gas discovery.
Last week, the company said it has begun pumping gas from the field, which is roughly seven miles southeast of Ninilchik within the Deep Creek unit.
On Thursday, Unocal spokesperson Roxanne Sinz said the field has been producing gas since early this month, and that the company has plans for more exploration on the southern Kenai Peninsula.
"We currently have five wells producing (at Happy Valley)," Sinz said.
Unocal began finding gas in the Ninilchik area in 2000, and the company announced in 2003 that it had found a large pocket at Happy Valley.
The Happy Valley discovery has been heralded as one of the best prospects for gas on the peninsula in recent years. The state and Unocal estimate that more than 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas lie within the discovery, and Unocal says it expects to pump in excess of 20 million cubic feet of gas per day from the discovery.
Production began in Ninilchik at a rate of approximately 4 million cubic feet per day at one well, but has been increasing since then.
"We've been kind of ramping up production from these new wells," Sinz said.
The gas at the Happy Valley discovery flows into the Kenai-Kachemak pipeline, which runs along the western edge of the peninsula. The land above where the gas sits is owned partially by the state and Cook Inlet Regional Inc.
In addition to the Happy Valley gas flowing into the pipeline, Sinz said Unocal has plans to continue exploration in the Deep Creek unit.
"We will continue to develop Deep Creek in 2005," she said.
She also said plans are in the works to do seismic testing near Anchor Point in the coming year.
The company currently is going through its budgeting process for next year, and Sinz said it's not yet known how much exploration Unocal will do.
However, it appears as if Unocal isn't leaving the southern peninsula any time soon.
Still, how much exploration the company does in the area will depend on how much money it decides to spend on exploration during the next year.
"It all depends on budgeting," Sinz said.
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