Report Touts In-State Gas Line
Legislators were told they should make some decisions fairly soon.
Natural gas from the North Slope could be flowing through the Railbelt by the end of the decade, according to a report released today.
And legislators were told they should make some decisions fairly soon.
The concept of an in-state pipeline to deliver natural gas to Alaska consumers got a boost from a report by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, a public entity.
Corporation President Dan Fauske said the 737-mile line to Southcentral could deliver gas in 2019, with a price in Anchorage not drastically higher than what consumers pay now.
"No other single project alternative is likely to address the same Cook Inlet energy supply shortfall in a comparable time frame."
Fauske is recommending that the state own the $7.5 billion project but have it built and operated by a private firm.
He proposes a route down the Parks Highway, with a spur to Fairbanks, and he urged lawmakers to act decisively.
"It's critical in that you make a decision and go with it, because if you alter that, you've really altered your time frame in a dramatic way."
House Speaker Mike Chenault says he does not rule out action by the Legislature yet this year.
"If the report is as good as some may claim, it may be in Alaska's best interests to have a special session. You only have one item on the table. That's the item that you discuss and that's the item that you address, vs. a regular session getting balled up and tied up in legislation and operating and capital budgets, things like that."
Governor Parnell told lawmakers by videoconference that he does not want to jump to any conclusions.
"The report defines some options for structuring a project and leaves room for flexibility, both as to where the gas should come from and regarding what a final pipeline project should look like."
And Representative Les Gara is concerned that the state could give up prematurely on the proposed major pipeline to the lower 48, under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
"It's a difficult decision. An in-state gas line produces expensive gas and no revenue for the state. You know, so you've got to decide when you're going to pull the plug on the big gas line. The big export gas line produces cheaper gas for Alaskans and revenue, and if people are right that there's a lot of gas in Cook Inlet to hold us over until that can be built, that's the ideal situation."
The balancing act for legislators is that they do not want to act too soon ... or too late.
And they will have to choose which side to err on.
Shortly after the report by the Gasline Development Corporation had been released, Bill Walker of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority spoke out against it.
Walker says a major pipeline to Valdez. for liquefied natural gas exports is the best use of Alaska's resource.