TransCanada closes Alaska Pipeline Project open season

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Aug. 2 -- TransCanada Corp.’s Alaska Pipeline Project closed its initial open season July 30 after receiving bids from potential natural gas shippers. The company will now assess the bids and negotiate the issues and conditions of each. ExxonMobil is TransCanada’s partner in the Alaska Pipeline Project.

The open season called on potential gas shippers to make bids of 20 years or more to reserve capacity on the proposed pipeline. TransCanada intends to use these commitments to secure financing for the pipeline, estimated to cost $32-41 billion to build. Details to be assessed include gas volumes, route preferences, and conditions attached to the bids by the shippers. The Alaska Pipeline Project will release names of shippers, volumes bid, and duration of contracts within 10 days of their being signed, as stipulated by US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guidelines.

The Alaska Pipeline Project presented two alternatives for assessment by potential shippers, only one of which will move forward. One option would transport an estimated 4.5 bcfd of gas from Alaska’s North Slope about 1,700 miles across Alaska to Alberta, Canada, where it could be sent on existing pipelines to North American gas markets. The second option would transport an estimated 3 bcfd of gas about 800 miles to Valdez, Alas., where shippers could liquefy the gas in a plant constructed by others and ship it on tankers to US and international markets.

Both options would provide a minimum of five in-state off-take points. The Alberta option would also provide opportunities for local gas deliveries in Canada.

A world-class natural gas treatment plant, to be sited adjacent to the North Slope’s Prudhoe Bay facilities, and a roughly 58-mile transmission pipeline connecting the natural gas supplies of the Point Thomson field to the plant are components of both development options.

Denali-The Alaska Gas Pipeline, a competing joint venture of BP PLC and ConocoPhillips, is currently holding its open season. Denali expects its open season to run at least through Oct. 6, 2010 (OGJ Online, June 8, 2010).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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