Senate to Review Alaska Pipeline Proposals
Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) said recently the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Committee plans to begin tackling the issue of transporting
Alaska's North Slope natural gas to the Lower 48 market when Congress reconvenes
He said the time is ripe for Congress to begin discussing an Alaska
pipeline system based on the ever-increasing demand for natural gas by
electric power generators, which he believes will keep gas prices high
enough to justify the economics of construction.
At a hearing, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 14, the Senate panel will
begin reviewing the economical, environmental and strategic and international
aspects of some of the pending proposals for moving gas from Alaska to
the Lower 48 market. "It's time for Congress to examine the proposals
and determine the federal role to expedite developing the projects,"
Murkowski noted. Some of the pending proposals include:
- Arctic Resources Co.'s Northern Gas Pipeline Project, which would
run eastward from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska and come ashore in the Mackenzie
Delta area in northern Canada, then follow the Mackenzie River south through
the Northwest Territories to interconnect with pipelines in Alberta with
access to U.S. markets;
- A proposal to build the northern half of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation
System (ANGTS), with the gas transported from Prudhoe Bay south along the
Alaska Highway, across the Yukon, northern British Columbia and Alberta.
The southern portion of ANGST, from Alberta to the U.S. border, was completed
- An LNG project, where gas would be piped to Valdez, chilled into a
liquid and shipped to Asian markets; and
- A gas-to-liquids project, where gas would be refined into a liquid
and shipped through the oil pipeline in Alaska.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) already is on record favoring the pipeline project
that would follow the "Alaska Highway," saying the competing
Prudhoe Bay-to-Mackenzie Delta project would deny Alaskans access to the
state's huge gas reserves.
Murkowski would not say which project he favors, but it appears that
he, too, is leaning towards the "Alaska Highway" proposal. Specifically,
he said he would oppose any pipe construction through the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge or offshore in the Beaufort Sea that would deny Alaska
towns access to the 34.4 Tcf of proven gas reserves in the North Slope.
The hearing "will give all sides a chance to clarify where things
stand and allow Congress a chance to look at the policy implications of
Alaska gas finally reaching markets," Murkowski said in a prepared
statement. "Given the changes in the national and international supply
and pricing situation since Congress last considered the Alaska gas issue
in 1977-78, it is time to get this project underway."
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