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December 21, 2009 --- Vol. 15, No. 98December 2009

DNR study finds some 10 years of Cook Inlet gas reserves

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin said today that a recently concluded study of available natural gas reserves in the Cook Inlet basin shows that sufficient gas reserves remain to provide for the Railbelt and Southcentral Alaska’s energy needs for the coming decade or more.

Irwin authorized the project through DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas last spring in response to public questions about natural gas shortages and concerns over possible energy blackouts this winter.

“Consumers who rely on Cook Inlet natural gas should be aware that although reserves are winding down we still have about 20 percent of the original capacity left,” Irwin said in a statement. “The most accessible gas has been produced, and while the basin is not in imminent danger of running out, the remaining gas may carry an increased cost.”

The division said the study represents a comprehensive effort to evaluate available natural gas reserves from a geological perspective, including an analysis of all 28 currently producing Cook Inlet gas fields.

“Essentially, we looked at the amount of gas produced from these wells, the amount of reserves and other factors related to the mechanics of the wells and the composition of the reservoirs and the basin to make our assessment,” division Director Kevin Banks said in a statement. He said the division’s best estimate is that there are some 1,142 billion cubic feet of probable gas reserves remaining in developed reserves.

Banks said the reserves estimates don’t include potential from undiscovered resources.

The study is limited to evaluating available resources, and does not attempt to analyze economics for continued development within the basin.

“Without increased investment the reserve base for the basin will continue to decline,” Irwin said. “Investments in storage development, reserves replacement and pipeline infrastructure will create additional pressure on future energy prices.”

The study is available at the division’s Web site at www.dog.dnr.state.ak.us/oil/.

See story in Dec. 27 issue available at noon Dec. 24 at www.PetroleumNews.com.

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