SWANSON RIVER SATELLITES PROJECT
KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) currently produces natural gas from the Swanson River Field (SRF) within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR). Unocal proposes to explore for and produce natural gas in two areas near the SRF through a project collectively termed the “Swanson River Satellites Project” (SRS). Unocal will explore for and, if successful, produce natural gas in partnership with Marathon Oil Company (MOC) in an area termed the East SRS. In partnership with MOC and CIRI Production Company (CPC), Unocal proposes to establish production from the Birch Hills Unit and conduct additional natural gas exploration in an area termed the North SRS.
The entire project is within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and is subject to approval of a Right of Way from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS). Cook Inlet Region, Inc. has title to the subsurface estate under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and is entitled to adequate and feasible access to these resources.
Unocal and MOC are seeking to bring natural gas to market by drilling exploratory wells from two surface locations identified in the East SRS. Unocal, in partnership with CPC plans to re-enter the existing Birch Hill Unit gas well to establish production and conduct additional drilling in the North SRS. Unocal, MOC and CPC are exploring for gas to increase the gas reserves available to the Cook Inlet market and ensure adequate supply. No oil exploration or development is proposed and discovery of oil is not anticipated.
In total, full development of the proposed project will include construction of approximately 12 miles of new gravel roads, the installation of buried pipeline/utility systems (including gas, produced water lines and utilities) adjacent to the roads, and construction of three new drill pads and upgrading of a fourth drill pad. Less than 186 acres will be developed. The KNWR is comprised of 1.92 million acres. In cooperation with USF&WS, the proposed project was modified from an original development plan to impact fewer acres, reduce the number of drill pads and eliminate a bridge crossing of the Swanson River.
Once permits are obtained, clearing and road construction to the East Satellite could begin as early as February of 2003.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project was issued in July, 2002. The purpose of the EIS is to ensure that exploration and construction facilities are subject to reasonable regulations necessary to protect the natural and other values of the refuge. A copy of the complete DEIS and the Executive Summary may be obtained by accessing the USF&WS website at: .
A public hearing is scheduled for September 5, 2002, 7-9 p.m. at the Aspen Hotel, 326 Binkley Circle, Soldotna, Alaska. A second hearing will be held on September 17, 2002,