Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 7:12 PM on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Business in Brief

Free business startup workshop set for March 11

The Alaska Small Business Development Center plans the following workshops:

March 11: Bryan Zak will lead a free business startup orientation from 11 a.m. to noon at the Homer Chamber of Commerce Conference Room. Zak will answer your basic questions on starting a business on the Kenai Peninsula and share information about the Alaska Small Business Development Center and its partner programs

The deadline to register is March 7.

Register online at http://aksbdc.ecenterdirect.com: Click training events, scroll to centers, select Kenai Peninsula and find the seminar you want to attend

A "Starting Your Own Business" workshop will be offered from 11 a.m.-noon March 18 also at the Homer chamber. Cost is $20.

There will be a free renewable energy workshop from 1-4 p.m. March 21 also at the chamber.

Nikaitchuq oil field starts production on North Slope

Alaska has a new oil producing company, Eni Petroleum Co.

The company has started production at the Nikaitchuq offshore field and is processing crude oil in its own processing facility at Oliktok Point, north of the producing Kuparuk River field on the slope.

Eni chose to build its own processing plant rather than use a plant in the nearby Kuparuk field partly because of the nature of its thick, viscous oil, which is produced with quantities of sand.

Nikaitchuq is expected to produce at peak rates of 28,000 barrels per day, Eni said in a press release. Forecasts by the Alaska Department of Revenue, which rely on company data, are for the field to average 10,000 barrels per day in its first year, however.

The processing plant is capable of handling 40,000 barrels per day of oil and up to 120,000 barrels per day of water, an indication that Eni hopes to expand production in the area over the long term.

Kenai considers increasing water, sewer rates

At a recent work session, the Kenai City Council discussed water and sewer rate increases proposed by a consulting firm hired to study the city's water and sewer rates.

For unmetered one- and two-family residences, the proposal suggests a monthly increase of about $6 a month for water, and between $2 and $3 dollars for sewer.

Currently, unmetered residences make up about 79 percent of sewer accounts and 80 percent of water accounts. The current rates at those dwellings are $40.35 a month for sewer and $13.78 for water. Commercial rates, residential apartments and metered rates would also increase under the plan.

Consulting firm CH2M Hill did the study of Kenai's water and sewer rates and concluded that within a few years, the costs to operate and maintain the city's water and sewer systems will be more than the city receives in revenue from those accounts.

According to CH2M Hill's report, the water and sewer fund is only breaking even because the two are combined. The money residents pay for water doesn't cover expenses. Necessary improvements mean that sewer will not be able to carry water very much longer.

CH2M Hill recommended making the rate change in fiscal year 2013, which begins in July 2012. Under the proposal rates would increase in 2013, and again each year after that. After the initial increases, rates would increase a much smaller amount in subsequent years — 2 percent or 3 percent of the cost — to keep pace with inflation.