Officials with FERC told Alaska lawmakers Thursday that the state's proposed Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) appears to pose no conflict with the federal agency's certification process.

If the legislation is enacted, the pipeline operator selected to build the proposed gasline would have to be certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Alaska's lawmakers have held hearings for the past two weeks in a push to pass legislation by the end of the session in May.

FERC Deputy Assistant General Counsel John Katz told state lawmakers during a hearing that the agency does not see any conflicts.

"It's a well-crafted bill in the sense of where it dovetails into the FERC process," said John Katz, a deputy assistant general counsel for the FERC, by telephone from Washington, DC, during a House Oil and Gas Committee hearing. "We don't see any conflicts."

Hearings on the proposed pipe were held Friday morning and were expected to continue on Saturday afternoon, with executives from the North Slope's top producers -- ExxonMobil Corp., BP plc and ConocoPhillips -- among those expected to testify. ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillps had clinched a deal in principle during private negotiations with former Gov. Frank Murkowski last year, but the contract negotiations fell through after Murkowski was defeated by Sarah Palin in the Republican primary last August (see Daily GPI, Nov. 9, 2006).

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