Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:20 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Natural gas pipeline to be constructed in Stariski area

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer

About 30 residents from Tall Tree Avenue north of Stariski listened Friday night as plans for a 10.3-mile pipeline to come through their neighborhood were described.

In a meeting held at Happy Valley Bar and Restaurant, Tom Arminski, manager, right of way and permitting for Alaska Pipeline Company, and Mike Sheppard, Kenai-Cook Inlet area manager for Conam Construction Company, gave details about the project and the crew that will do the work.

Arminski said he was surprised by the number of people attending the Friday meeting.

"I thought maybe there would be six people," he said.

The six-inch steel line, which will be buried at a depth of about four feet, will carry natural gas from Hilcorp Alaska's Red Pad across 1.5 miles of land owned by Cook Inlet Region Inc., 5.5 miles of property belonging to Ninilchik Native Association and 3 miles along Tall Tree toward the Sterling Highway where it will connect with a transmission line owned and operated by Alaska Pipeline Company that runs north from wells in the Anchor Point area.

The natural gas will continue its northward flow, connecting with the Kenai Kachemak Pipeline, owned and operated by Marathon Oil, in Ninilchik, according to Arminski.

The project is being financed by Hilcorp, but will belong to Alaska Pipeline Company, said that company's external affairs manager, Lori Nelson.

"It's important for us because it's bringing more gas production online," Nelson told the Homer News.

Clearing of the right-of-way along Tall Tree for what Arminski said is being called the Red Pad East-West Pipeline is scheduled to begin during the last week of August. Sheppard said construction of the line is expected to take 10 weeks with a crew that will peak at about 55-60 nonunion laborers, welders, pipefitters, pipefitter helpers and operators.

"We expect to hire as many local as we can," said Sheppard.

Asked by one Tall Tree resident if it was possible to avoid having driveways disrupted by boring under, rather than using excavators to dig up sidestreets and approaches to private residences that cross the right of way.

"We would, but your (natural gas) rates would go up," said Sheppard, referring to the additional cost that would be involved.

"What rates? We don't get any gas," the resident said. "We get our driveways torn up so Anchorage can get gas."

Sheppard said construction would be scheduled to minimize disruption to the local flow of traffic.

"We will not block you out," he said.

Charlie Pierce, southern region manager for Enstar Natural Gas Company, will hold a follow-up meeting later this month to discuss the possibility of area residents being able to access the natural gas, according to Arminski.

The Red Pad wells were originally drilled by Unocal, with the ownership then going to Chevron and now to Hilcorp, said Arminski. Alaska Pipeline Company is incorporated in Alaska and owned by Semco Energy, a Michigan corporation. Enstar is a division of Semco Energy.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.