Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
April 2017

Vol. 22, No. 16 Week of April 16, 2017

Donlin Gold plans Cook Inlet gas line

Pipeline for fuel to planned gold mine would boost demand for Cook Inlet gas but development is still several years in the future

Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

Donlin Gold Inc, the company hoping to develop a major gold mine to the north of the Kuskokwim River, is planning to use Cook Inlet natural gas delivered by pipeline for power generation at the mine, Kurt Parkan, the company’s external affairs manager, has told Petroleum News. At one time the company had considered using imported liquefied natural gas for the project but is now confident that there would be adequate supplies of gas from the Cook Inlet basin at a workable price.

Parkan said that his company has been in discussion with Cook Inlet gas producers and has become confident with the concept of a Cook Inlet gas supply.

The Cook Inlet gas industry suffers from the problem of insufficient gas demand in relation to the amount of gas potentially available for delivery to the gas market. Donlin Gold could use about 33 million cubic feet of gas per day, a figure that represents about 10 percent of the local demand in the Anchorage and Southcentral gas market, Parkan said.

EIS in progress

However, it would likely be several years before the Donlin Gold mine would go into operation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed a draft environmental impact statement for the project, has gathered public comments on the draft and anticipates issuing a final EIS sometime around March 2018. A record of decision would likely follow around July of that year. If Donlin Gold’s owner companies then decide to proceed with the project, design work for the mine could take a couple of years, with construction then taking a further four years to complete, Parkan said.

The gas supply concept for the mine involves a 315- to 320-mile, 14-inch steel gas pipeline from Cook Inlet, connecting to the Cook Inlet gas transmission system at Beluga, on the west side of Cook Inlet, Parkan said. The line would run north through the Susitna Valley and cross the Alaska Range in the area of Rainy Pass, before heading west to cross the Kuskokwim River to the mine site.

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