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Denali Backers Make Early Filing at FERC for Alaska Gasline

Backers of the Denali Alaska gasline proposal -- BP and ConocoPhillips -- have filed a request at FERC to use pre-filing procedures at the Commission, noting the project's significant size and need for an expanded timeline for consideration.

"This request is being submitted much earlier in the process than is normally the case with major pipeline projects," the Denali backers told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). "Because of the scope of the Denali Project, project design and application development will require a much longer time period (approximately 36 months) than is typically the case."

Denali is in competition with TransCanada to build a gasline to tap the North Slope's abundant gas reserves and carry them to Alberta and markets in the Lower 48 (see NGI, May 26). The Denali and TransCanada proposals are similar. However, since TransCanada is pursuing a license for its project under Alaska's Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) it is eligible for a $500 million subsidy. Denali is not pursuing a license or a subsidy. Gov. Sarah Palin's administration has selected TransCanada's project, and it is currently being mulled by state lawmakers in a special legislative session. The Denali camp has said it is proceeding with its project regardless whether TransCanada is awarded a license, in effect putting the two projects in a race. A vote by lawmakers on the TransCanada project is expected next month.

"The Denali Project will be one of the largest construction projects in North American history, making early engagement between Denali and [FERC's] Office of Energy Projects particularly valuable, even before development of all of the information normally available at the time of a pre-filing request," the Denali filing said.

Project backers have already contacted some landowners and agencies along the contemplated pipeline corridor where they plan to conduct preliminary field studies this summer.

Because of the project's size and the request's early submission, Denali is asking Commission staff to work with it to modify the normal schedules and deadlines for project consideration. "[A]s was suggested by the Commission staff during our initial consultation on the Denali Project, initiating the pre-filing process now will be beneficial by enabling Denali and the Commission to exchange information and coordinate planning and activities to insure a timely and efficient application development and review process."

Former BP Alaska executive and Denali President Bud Fackrell (see NGI, June 16) signed the letter. The letter and attachments are available on the Denali website, www.denali-thealaskagaspipeline.com, under "about the project" and "FERC application for pre-filing."

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