DNR commissioner signs pipeline right-of-way lease

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The plan to build a 32-mile-long pipeline between Ninilchik and Kenai cleared one of its final hurdles Tuesday when Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Pat Pourchot signed a 30-year right-of-way lease for the Kenai-Kachemak Natural Gas Pipeline at a ceremony in Anchorage.

The 32-mile buried pipeline will transport natural gas from fields north of Ninilchik to Kenai. Much of the pipeline will be built within Kalifornsky Beach Road and Sterling Highway right of ways and along section line easements. Pipeline trenching and construction is planned during January through October of 2003. Kasilof River, Crooked Creek and Coal Creek will be crossed using horizontal-directional drilling.

The lease was issued to Kenai Kachemak Pipeline, LLC, which is jointly owned by Marathon and Unocal oil companies. The line will not only link the Ninilchik fields with Kenai, but it will enable development of other gas reserves along the corridor to proceed.

According to Tony Braden, right-of-way chief for the Joint Pipeline Office, the lease signing means the pipeline plan now has the state's official blessing.

"This is the last (permit) as far as I know. They still have some

paperwork to do, but I know of no other permits," Braden said Tuesday.

The lease issuance concludes the six-month public review process conducted by the state. Resolutions supporting the issuance of this pipeline right-of-way lease by the commissioner of DNR were received from the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.

According to Bill Popp, oil and gas liaison for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the pipeline is a welcome addition to the peninsula's energy infrastructure.

"It's an important project for the future of oil and gas development on the peninsula," he said. "For the borough, it's going to mean new gas supplies coming on line in the future."

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