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Hydrates freezes up Julius R platform deliveries

The cold and snowy winter so far could renew stress on the Cook Inlet Natural Gas transportation infrastructure.

As reported by Petroleum News on Friday, Furie Operating Alaska has notified Alaska Pipeline Co. that ice has blocked the flow of natural gas from its Kitchen Lights Field.

A letter from Furie on Jan. 5 stated that the cold snap was messing with delivery from Kitchen Lights. It appears that the frigid temperature caused what are called “hydrate plugs” to form at the Julius R Platform and in the 15-miles of sub-sea pipeline at the bottom of Cook Inlet.

Enstar spokeswoman Lindsay Hobson told Petroleum News that it has not received a delivery from Furie since Jan. 19.

“We have not had an interruption to our customers. Fortunately it’s been pretty warm these last few weeks. And we’ve also been able to rely on on our gas that we have stored in CINGSA to supplement those volumes.”

Hobson said she did not anticipate any price increase to consumers as a result of this freeze-up. So far, she said, there has been no interruption to customers’ service, and that the company is still evaluating all options to maintain that continuity of service.

Hydrates form when water mixed with natural gas combine in cold temperatures to form ice.

To meet its contractual obligations, Furie bought natural gas on the open market and drawer from reserves, but the line became completely blocked on Jan. 11. In its letter to APC on Jan. 23, the company said it was having to suspend its deliveries, invoking the force majeure clause of its contract with the Enstar subsidiary.

Declaring a force majeure frees Furie from liability and obligation until the situation resolves.

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