The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management have issued a joint record of decision (JROD) for the smaller of two pipeline projects designed to export natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to Asia Pacific markets.

The JROD represents the last regulatory milestone for the 733-mile Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP), a project proposed by the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC). The pipeline would initially provide natural gas to Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as other communities along the project's route, but it also may provide opportunities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

As designed, ASAP includes a 36-inch diameter mainline and a 30-mile, 12-inch diameter lateral connecting the mainline to Fairbanks, as well as a gas conditioning facility at Prudhoe Bay. The JROD covers a supplemental environmental impact statement that the Army Corps issued last June.

"This JROD and the federal permits for ASAP demonstrate ratification of the environmental and engineering aspects of a trans-Alaska natural gas project and support AGDC's efforts to bring Alaska's North Slope natural gas to market," AGDC spokesman Jesse Carlstrom told NGI.

Carlstrom said the decision could provide a regulatory boost for a separate, larger project proposed by AGDC: the Alaska LNG project, which would include a three-train liquefaction plant, an 807-mile, 1.1 meter diameter gas pipeline, a gas treatment plant and interconnecting facilities.

"Because ASAP and Alaska LNG share a common path for 80% of Alaska LNG's pipeline route, this permit and the underlying data will help the Alaska LNG project efficiently advance through the federal permitting process," Carlstrom said.

However, the new president of the AGDC told Alaska lawmakers last month that the Alaska LNG project could be shelved, the state-owned corporation dissolved and current funding returned to the state's general fund if Alaska LNG is determined to be unfeasible.