Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Wednesday signed House Bill 3001, authorizing the state to award a license allowing TransCanada Alaska to start developing a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline from a treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay to the Alberta Hub in Canada.

“After dreaming of a natural gas pipeline for more than 30 years, Alaskans have now created the framework for the project to advance,” Palin said. “This legislation brings us closer than we’ve ever been to building a gas pipeline and finally accessing our gas that has been languishing for so many decades on the North Slope.”

TransCanada Corp. has constructed many gas pipelines and now operates more than 36,000 miles of gas pipelines in North America, the governor pointed out. Her comments did not include mention of TransCanada’s competitor to build the gasline, a producer group known as Denali (see Daily GPI, Aug. 5). That project is backed by BP and ConocoPhillips, and at one point there were rumblings that Russia’s Gazprom might want to get involved; however, talks on that appear to have stalled.

“From our perspective there hasn’t been any further discussion on this since that was announced as something of interest to Gazprom,” said ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva, as reported by Bloomberg.

TransCanada Vice President Tony Palmer Wednesday thanked the state for its cooperation with the company. “Our company has started field work on the project in order to meet our target date for completing the initial open season within two years.” TransCanada has authorized aerial photography, engineering work and environmental gap analysis in support of the open season project. The AGIA license is to be issued in 90 days.

©Copyright 2008Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.