- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Oil and Gas Commission has issued a $20,000 fine against a company exploring a coal gasification prospect in Cook Inlet.

Linc Energy plans to appeal the fine imposed for not providing information related to three wells, the company told the Alaska Dispatch News (https://bit.ly/1KN0FOu) in a story Tuesday.

Coal gasification involves heating coal underground to produce gas that can be used for power or for production of diesel fuels. The fine was issued July 1 for alleged regulatory violations at wells near Tyonek on the west side of Cook Inlet.

According to the commission, Linc Energy did not submit well inclination surveys, core analysis reports and digital log data.

The Australian-based company is exploring for oil at Umiat, a site about 100 miles west of trans-Alaska pipeline Pump Station 2 and the Dalton Highway.

The company’s annual reports say the exploration effort has received tens of millions of dollars in state oil and gas tax credits, including $53 million last year.

The commission regulates drilling that might result in the release of hazardous substances and create potential blowouts, said Cathy Foerster, commission chairwoman.

Regulators are stepping up enforcement on operators they say are violating permit requirements. Some smaller newcomers to the state have had trouble following rules, Foerster said.

In addition to issuing fines, Foerster said, the commission has increased meetings with company managers.

“It appears to be paying off,” she said.

James Strong, who provides public relations for Linc Energy, said Linc will appeal by the end of July. He said by email the company understands the well information from the 2011-12 drilling season was submitted.

“We believe it may have been overlooked so we will raise it at appeal,” he wrote.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com


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