Alaska officials have reviewed the five applications to build pipeline/liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that would monetize the state's vast North Slope gas reserves and last week selected only one -- a proposal from TransCanada Alaska Co. LLC and Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. -- as being compliant with requirements of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA).

TransCanada's application will move to the evaluation phase of the AGIA process. The commissioners of Natural Resources and Revenue must evaluate the application to determine whether it will sufficiently maximize the benefits to Alaskans and merit issuance of the exclusive AGIA license. The commissioners are now soliciting public comment on the TransCanada application.

The five companies that applied under AGIA are AEnergia LLC, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, Little Susitna Construction Co. Inc. (Sinopec ZPEB); and TransCanada. The applicants other than TransCanada, which did not meet all of the application requirements, will not be evaluated further.

In their application, TransCanada/Foothills propose a project that would include:

Not being evaluated under the AGIA process but available to state legislators for their consideration is a proposal floated by ConocoPhillips for "a gas transmission system from the ANS [Alaska North Slope] to the border of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. From there, the natural gas will be transported to markets throughout North America by utilizing a new-build pipeline to Chicago, spare capacity available at the time on then-existing pipelines, or expanded capacity on then-existing pipelines" (see NGI, Dec. 10, 2007).

Components of the project would include a:

"We have reached another important milestone in bringing our natural gas to market," said Gov. Sarah Palin Friday in announcing TransCanada/Foothills as the sole compliant proposal. "We have long stated that it only takes one good application. We're thrilled to have a project sponsor willing to build a pipeline on terms that benefit all Alaskans. Today's result is tremendously satisfying."

Public review and comment will last 60 days, closing March 6. The public may review all applications received and provide comments on TransCanada's application.

If the commissioners find that the TransCanada application meets all the requirements of AGIA, they will forward it to the legislature for approval. All applications and public comment procedures have been posted online at www.state.ak.us.

"The Governor and her team are to be commended for reaching another major milestone in the AGIA process," said Drue Pearce, federal coordinator of Alaska natural gas transportation projects. "TransCanada has long been a major player in the Alaska natural gas pipeline debate and I'm pleased to hear that their application is considered by the State to be a very strong proposal."

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