Independent Furie Operating Alaska LLC has secured funding for the installation of the first new offshore natural gas production platform in Alaska’s Cook Inlet since 2000.

Energy Capital Partners Mezzanine Opportunities Fund committed $160 million to fund the buildout of infrastructure for the installation of the platform, a marine pipeline, and onshore production facilities to bring gas reserves to market from Furie’s Kitchen Lights Unit (KLU) in the Cook Inlet.

Furie said its platform will the first for the Cook Inlet since 2000, when the Osprey platform was installed at the Redoubt Shoal field. The KLU infrastructure will allow Furie to bring a newly discovered gas field online to diversify supply for the Kenai Peninsula, Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage areas.

Furie said it plans to continue its exploration and development program in the Kitchen Lights Unit, which is an 83,000-acre lease position. KLU includes a number of oil and gas leases owned by majority working owner Cornucopia Oil & Gas Co. LLC.

KLU is south of the North Cook Inlet Unit. In October 2010, Furie acquired its majority working interest in KLU. During the summer of 2011, Furie brought the first jack-up rig (Spartan 151) to the Cook Inlet in 20 years.

Five previous wells had been drilled within KLU, most notably two by Shell in the mid 1960s and two by Arco in the early 1990s, according to Furie. “The wells were exploration wells and did not produce but had logs and flow tests showing solid natural gas and oil reserves,” the company said on its website. “Currently, there are 16 platforms in the Cook Inlet, the oldest of which was first installed by Shell in 1964. There are also numerous oil and gas pipelines running around and under the Cook Inlet.”

The east coast in the Cook Inlet, Kenai/Nikiski area, has access to gas utility pipelines to support the power and heating needs of Southern Alaska, a liquefied natural gas plant for natural gas exports, a fertilizer plant, and a refinery where crude oil can be sold.

Until fairly recently, utilities in Alaska’s Southcentral region have fretted over how much gas would be available for heating and power generation. It was thought earlier that liquefied imports might be necessary (see Daily GPI, Nov. 21, 2012). However, the Cook Inlet has been making a comeback. A Cook Inlet lease sale last year was the third-largest of its kind in nominal dollars and the sixth-largest in acreage leased since the state’s areawide lease sale program began in 1999 (see Daily GPI, May 9).