Alaskan Northwest Pipeline Application Still Viable
Calgary-based Alaskan Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Co. plans
to keep up to-date its 20-year-old application for a pipeline right-of-way
on Alaskan lands in its efforts to secure a front row seat if a natural
gas pipeline is ever approved. The original application was filed in 1981
and remains active and in good standing, calling for a parallel route to
the Alaska Highway.
The company filed an application last week with the Alaska State Pipeline
Coordinator in Anchorage to continue its application for a 235-mile-long
pipeline right-of-way. It already holds a federal grant of right-of-way,
covering more than 400 miles in the state.
"Alaskan Northwest has maintained its permits and rights-of-way
over the years in order to capture the timing advantage and gain momentum
once the price of gas makes an Alaska natural gas pipeline viable,"
said project manager John Ellwood. He said the company has kept the application
in force so that when the time was right, it could secure additional permits
or approvals necessary to build the pipeline.
If and when the proposal becomes reality remains questionable, however,
the potential natural gas reserves on the North Slope are considerable.
Experts estimate the North Slope to contain 100 Tcf, and Alaska could supply
up to 4 Bcf/d to the Lower 48 with a pipeline. The projected route would
run parallel to the existing Alcan Highway, and would not cross any national
conservation system units.
If the permit is given approval, Alaskan Northwest would then secure
agreements with producers to supply the pipeline, something several producers
already are considering, as witnessed by an announcement last year by BP,
Phillips Alaska and Exxon Mobil Corp. (see NGI, Sept.
18, 2000). The announcement marked the first time that the three North
Slope producers agreed to study the prospect of constructing an Alaskan
pipeline. Until now, each has been reviewing the project separately.
In the first meeting of the newly-formed Alaska Highway Natural Gas
Policy Council earlier this month, Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, who also is
advocating pipeline construction, charged his newly appointed 28-member
panel of community, business and labor leaders with the task of looking
into public policy questions surrounding the development and transportation
of natural gas in the North Slope (see NGI, March
Alaskan Northwest is owned by subsidiaries of Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd.
and TransCanada PipeLines Ltd.
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