Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski last week signed into law a bill that appropriates $1.65 million for the state’s Department of Revenue for costs associated with bringing North Slope natural gas to market.

SB 241, which took immediate effect, includes $650,000 to fund the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority for its continuing efforts to develop a liquefied natural gas export project. The funding will allow the Authority to continue in its efforts to identify and develop Pacific Rim markets (both on the U.S. West Coast and in Asia). In addition, it will evaluate specific in-state needs on the Kenai and in the Anchorage area, as well as development of a petrochemical industry within Alaska.

Another $1 million was authorized for issues common to “all the various pipeline proposals” currently pending. The common efforts include legal opinions examining the extent to which tax exempt bonding authorities may be used to finance the pipeline, market evaluations, permitting issues, in-state consumption needs and socio-economic studies on the pipeline’s impacts on communities along its proposed route.

“This is another important step forward for my administration’s commitment to bring Alaska’s vast North Slope natural gas reserves to market in the Lower 48,” Murkowski said.

The governor said that Alaska “has the gas resources and the market demand is growing stronger every day.” He said the legislation “goes a long way to help us connect the dots that will make the gas pipeline a reality.”

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