September 03, 2010 --- Vol. 16, No. 82September 2010

Unocal questions gas pipeline capacity for CINGSA gas storage

Chevron subsidiary Unocal, a major Cook Inlet natural gas producer, has questioned whether there is sufficient Kenai Peninsula gas pipeline capacity to support Cook Inlet Gas Storage Alaska’s planned new gas storage facility on the south side of the city of Kenai.

CINGSA wants to build the facility to head off potential shortfalls in utility gas deliverability in the winter of 2012-13 and has applied to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the facility. As the aging Cook Inlet gas fields deplete there is increasing concern about providing a sufficiently fast flow of gas to population centers such as Anchorage during peak winter demand — gas storage can alleviate this problem by storing excess gas produced in the summer and then making this gas available in the winter.

In a letter to RCA, Unocal Commercial Manager Gary Orr said that Unocal supports the CINGSA project but is concerned that the Kenai Peninsula pipeline infrastructure may not be able to support the anticipated 150 million cubic feet per day of additional gas that the CINGSA facility could deliver into the pipeline system during periods of high gas usage.

During a period of record gas demand in the winter of 2008-09, there were delivery bottlenecks on the east side of Cook Inlet, Orr said. Unocal understands that the pipeline system on the east side of the inlet has a 180 million to 200 million cubic feet per day throughput limit and that the gas fields on the east side of the inlet are producing at an average monthly rate of 208 million cubic feet per day, including deliveries to the LNG plant at Nikiski.

“With the infrastructure close to its maximum throughput limit, adding 150 million cubic feet per day of extra deliverability at CINGSA will only compound bottlenecks on the eastside and may not result in the much needed additional gas throughput to Anchorage,” Orr said.

See story in Sept. 12 issue of Petroleum News, available to subscribers online at noon Friday, Sept. 10, at

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