Playing a vital role in ensuring sufficient year-round gas supplies for Southcentral Alaska, Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska (CINGSA) is an underground gas storage facility capable of storing up to 11 billion cubic feet of natural gas. By substantially improving the reliability and delivery of natural gas supplies during the winter months, the facility provides a critical service to residents and communities throughout the Cook Inlet region.
CINGSA began operations in 2012 and has been in operation for six years. “It’s been a good investment for us and for the region,” said Suzanne Settle, vice president, CIRI energy and infrastructure. “CIRI purchased a 4.25 percent interest before the facility was even constructed. It’s a vital resource for the region, both for heating and electricity. When the opportunity arose to double our percentage interest in CINGSA to 8.5 percent in January, we jumped.”
The facility is owned by SEMCO Energy Inc., which also owns ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, a public utility that delivers natural gas to more than 142,000 customers in Southcentral Alaska. ENSTAR operates the facility and is CINGSA’s largest customer. Other customers include Chugach Electric Association, Homer Electric Association and Municipal Light and Power. Twenty-four years remain on the storage capacity contracts with each utility.
In 2018, CINGSA requested that the Regulatory Commission of Alaska—a state agency that regulates public utilities—review its plan to invest approximately $41 million of additional capital into an improvement project during 2019. The investment will increase the reliability of storage services by installing standby equipment to be used in the event of primary equipment failure.
“Increasing CIRI’s ownership interest to 8.5 percent provides consistent and steady cash flow and fits squarely within our energy investment strategy,” Settle said. “An additional CINGSA investment also provides a more meaningful platform for growth as the storage needs of Alaska’s natural gas market expand in the future.”
For more information on CINGSA and CIRI’s other energy and infrastructure investments, visit www.ciri.com/energy.