April 19, 2000 --- Vol. 6, No. 15April 2000

Senate passes House Bill 290

The state Senate passed House Bill 290 April 17, described by sponsors as the second step in the Legislature's efforts to encourage and facilitate the development of Alaska's North Slope natural gas reserves.

At a March 23 hearing the bill was described as making changes to existing statutes to remove commercial and regulatory impediments to the successful marketing of liquefied natural gas in Asian markets.

House staff working on the bill said it will provide "fair, predictable and timely process to identify and dedicate intrastate capacity in a North Slope natural gas pipeline before one is constructed."

Jim Eason, working on the bill from the industry side, said the bill "will clarify that the Regulatory Commission of Alaska has authority to regulate only the intrastate transportation of North Slope natural gas through a natural gas pipeline." Interstate regulation will be by the federal government.

The tariff structure will be based on that for utilities, not on that for pipelines.

The bill is awaiting transmittal to the governor.

Barge on way from Seattle to load Osprey platform quarters

Forcenergy has a target date of July 9 for its Osprey platform to reach Redoubt Shoal in Cook Inlet, with quarters for the platform expected to leave Anchorage next week.

"This is somewhat dependent upon transportation schedules of barges and vessels, but right now we're estimating we will be loading up those quarters the week of April 24," Gary Carlson, vice president for Alaska of Forcenergy Inc., told PNA April 19.

The barge is on the way from Seattle now, he said, to take the Osprey platform quarters, which were constructed by VECO in Anchorage, to Korea to be loaded on the platform.

From Anchorage, the barge will go to Homer where it will be loaded on a heavy-lift vessel, and its sea fastenings and condition rechecked. And from there, Carlson said, it's about a two-week trip to the shipyard in Korea, where the barge is expected about the third week in May.

The barge will also be used in platform installation, so when it reaches the shipyard in Korea, they'll take the barge and quarters off and put the platform tower on the heavy lift vessel. The platform deck will be put on the barge, and then the barge will be put on the heavy-lift vessel. The quarters go on top.

Carlson said that Forcenergy has had people at the shipyard periodically during construction. There are some minor modifications being done now, and there is an engineer there for that work, he said.

The heavy-lift vessel is scheduled to leave the shipyard May 29 or 30, and arrive in Port Graham, across Kachemak Bay from Homer, around June 12.

The heavy-lift vessel will leave the barge and the tower in the water there and the tower will be mated to the deck. Carlson said that work would take around three weeks.

The target date is July 9 to set the Osprey platform at Redoubt Shoal. After that, Carlson said, the piles will be driven and the platform leveled. Installation of the platform will take around a month.

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