ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ENSTAR Natural Gas
Company is excited about recent announcements of gas exploration success on
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula made by Unocal Corporation (NYSE: UCL) and Marathon
Oil Company (NYSE: MRO). Both companies announced the successful completion
and testing of two exploration wells in the Ninilchik Unit. In January 2002
Unocal-Marathon said that they had discovered a new gas reservoir in the unit,
located about 35 miles south of Kenai, Alaska. Both Unocal and Marathon are
suppliers of natural gas to ENSTAR.
"We are quite pleased that new gas has been discovered and that work is
proceeding to bring it to the South Central Alaska market," said ENSTAR
President Tony Izzo. "One of the primary reasons that we entered into a new
gas supply contract with Unocal in December 2000 was to encourage new natural
gas exploration such as this in Cook Inlet."
Unocal and Marathon have formed Kenai Kachemak Pipeline LLC to develop a
natural gas pipeline that would connect new natural gas supplies with the
existing South Central Alaska pipeline system. Upon completion of the
pipeline, newly discovered resources would serve commercial and utility
markets in South Central Alaska. Design work and permitting is currently
underway, first production is anticipated to occur in late 2003. ENSTAR is
assisting with the project, and has entered into a contract to operate and
maintain the pipeline for Unocal and Marathon once it is completed.
Unocal also announced that a related three-well drilling program on the
southern Kenai Peninsula failed to encounter commercial quantities of natural
gas. The wells were near the communities of Ninilchik and Anchor Point.
"We are disappointed, as Unocal is, that their additional exploration on
the southern Kenai was not successful," said Izzo. "We were looking forward
to working with Unocal to bring gas distribution service to Homer, Anchor
Point and the other southern Peninsula communities. Based on these results,
we are reviewing all of the supply options for these communities."
"Unocal has assured us that although this southern Kenai exploration
program was not what everyone had hoped, they are still quite positive on the
Cook Inlet area," stated Izzo. "Unocal has announced that it will continue to
pursue exploration and development opportunities to supply gas to ENSTAR and
its other customers."
This is a "Safe-Harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. This release contains forward-looking statements that
involve risks and uncertainties. Statements that are not historic facts,
including statements about the Company's outlook, beliefs, plans, goals and
expectations, are forward-looking statements. Factors that may impact
forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effects of
weather, the economic climate, competition, commodity prices, changing
conditions in the capital markets, regulatory approval processes, success in
obtaining new business and other risks detailed from time to time in the
company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
ENSTAR Natural Gas Company distributes natural gas to over 108,000
customers in South Central Alaska, including the Anchorage area. It is a
division of SEMCO ENERGY, Inc., (NYSE: SEN) a diversified energy and
infrastructure company that also distributes natural gas to more than 260,000
customers in Michigan. In addition, SEMCO owns and operates businesses
involved in pipeline construction services, propane distribution, intrastate
pipelines and natural gas storage in various regions of the United States. It
also provides information technology and outsourcing services, specializing in
the mid-range computer market.
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SOURCE ENSTAR Natural Gas Company
Web site: http: //www.semcoenergy.com
CONTACT: Media Contact: Alaska: Daniel M. Dieckgraeff of ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, +1-907-264-3661, Fax: +1-907-264-3671; Other: Francis R. Lieder of SEMCO Energy, Inc., +1-810-987-2200, ext. 4186, Fax: +1-810-989-4098, or Analysts Contact: Thomas Connelly of SEMCO Energy, Inc., +1-248-702-6000, ext. 6240