FERC submits seventh report to Congress on Alaska gas pipeline

Two proposals for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope into Canada have emerged and advanced to the detailed planning and project development stage, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress on Feb. 20.

"At this point in project development, both Denali and TC Alaska are now fully working towards obtaining quality information to conduct their respective open seasons (the formal process to obtain shippers for their pipeline)," FERC said in its seventh report to federal lawmakers on the project.

It said that since it submitted its last report on Aug. 29, the Denali partnership, which is comprised of BP and ConocoPhillips, continued with the pre-filing process for its project with FERC, performed some field work and hired a contractor to evaluate a major gas treatment plant planned on the North Slope. Denali formally applied to the US Bureau of Land Management on Oct. 17 for a right-of-way across federal land in Alaska, the report noted.

At the same time, the State of Alaska completed the selection of TC Alaska, which is comprised two TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. affiliates, as the licensee under its Alaska Gas Line Inducement Act program, FERC said. It said that this qualifies TC Alaska to receive up to $500 million in matching contributions to cover costs of preparing a federal application and obtaining related permits, and access to streamlined state administrative permitting procedures.

The Alaska Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Co., which received approval to construct a gas pipeline from Alaska during the Carter administration, notified FERC in December that its sponsors concluded that their project was no longer viable, the report continued. The company has dissolved and surrendered the last of its permits and approvals, according to FERC.

It said that during the open seasons in 2010, "both Denali and TC Alaska are expected to keep most of their information and decisions internal, yet they will also continue to work with, and inform various levels of government, other stakeholders and the public about their projects.

"The commission stands ready to do its part and reminds all stakeholders that construction and operation of an Alaska natural gas pipeline is the ultimate goal," it added.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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