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Construction picking up at Furie prospect in Cook Inlet

Alan Bailey | Petroleum News

The heavy lift vessel for installing Furie Operating Alaska’s new Kitchen Lights gas production platform should arrive in Cook Inlet by Friday, Damon Kade, president of Furie, told Petroleum News on Wednesday. The piping for the gas gathering pipeline from the platform to shore has already arrived in Cook Inlet and is currently staged at Port MacKenzie, Kade said.

Onshore work for the construction of a gas processing facility near East Forelands on the Kenai Peninsula has been in progress for a couple of months, building the foundations for the facility structures, for example. And horizontal directional drilling has been underway for a while, auguring out the tunnel that will carry the gas pipeline under the bluffs near the processing facility, to emerge on the seafloor beyond the tidal zone. The piping for the pipeline will need to be pulled through the drilled tunnel. The pipeline may be laid in August, Kade said.

The platform, of monopod design and called the Kitchen Lights Unit Platform A, is currently on a barge in Seattle, having been shipped from Texas.

“The monopod is actually in Seattle right now,” Kade said. “They’re outfitting it with some final lifting components for the heavy lift.”

And a template designed for positioning the platform’s single monopod caisson on the seafloor was scheduled to depart Vancouver, Washington, for Cook Inlet on Sunday, Kade said.

Discovered in 2011

Furie first discovered natural gas in the Kitchen Lights unit in 2011 when drilling the Kitchen Lights unit No. 1 well using its Spartan 151 jack-up rig. Gas production from the unit will start from the Kitchen Lights unit No. 3 well however, drilled in 2013. There is little public information about the size of Furie’s gas find, although the scale of the development would suggest the existence of a fairly large gas field. The Kitchen Lights plan of operations says that Furie anticipates producing up to 30 billion cubic feet per of gas per year. This year’s initial field development involves the installation of the first of two twin pipelines from the Kitchen Lights platform, with each pipeline being capable of carrying up to 200 million cubic feet per day of gas, according to the plan of operations.

Furie has not indicated who will purchase the Kitchen Lights gas.

Once the procedure for installing the platform on the seafloor begins, the heavy lift vessel, stationed next to the barge carrying the platform components, will use its cranes to place each of the components into position. The operation will start with the placement of the template over the well location on the seafloor, to act as a guide for driving into place the first few of the piles that will hold the platform in place, Kade explained. The template will then be removed, and the monopod’s caisson will be lowered into position, using those initial piles as guides. Once the caisson is in position, additional piles will be installed, to securely hold the platform structure in position.

Apparently the heavy lift vessel, called the M.V. Svenja and owned by the German company Sal Heavy Lift, recently saw action in support of the operation to salvage the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that ran aground and sank in the Mediterranean in 2012.

Furie does not anticipate any significant problems with its Cook Inlet venture - the company still expects first gas to flow from the Kitchen Lights unit by the end of this year.

“There are a lot of moving parts but ... it will get done this year,” Kade said.

This story originally appeared in Petroleum News and has been republished with permission.