ML&P, Chugach Electric partner to purchase portion of natural gas field
ANCHORAGE — In hopes of securing a stable energy future for Anchorage, two utilities have teamed up to buy part of a Cook Inlet gas field.
Municipal Light & Power and Chugach Electric Association announced Monday the joint purchase of ConocoPhillips’ one-third interest in the Beluga River Unit natural gas field, which is about 30 miles east of Anchorage near Tyonek.
The agreement gives 70 percent ownership to ML&P and 30 percent ownership to Chugach. Altogether, they paid a total of $152 million.
Chugach Electric Board Chair, Janet Reiser, said the company will be able to pass savings onto its customers.
“We are all about affordability and reliability and we are always working on both of those topics,” Reiser said. “We expect it to save two to three million dollars a year just for the Chugach rate payers.”
ML&P expects its customers to save more than $4 million a year. General Manager Mark Johnston said it’s important to have a stable fuel supply to provide consistent pricing for the business and commercial sectors of Anchorage.
“It will be helpful for them making business decisions and investments in this community as we move forward,” said Johnston.
ML&P, owned by the Municipality of Anchorage, already held a separate portion of the gas field. As a result of the purchase, ML&P will own 56.67 percent of the total Beluga River Unit and Chugach will own 10 percent. The remaining 33.33 percent is held by Hilcorp Alaska.
The Beluga River Unit is estimated to contain more than 70 billion cubic feet of natural gas and is expected to produce through 2033.
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