Gov. Knowles lobbies Canadians on trans-Alaska gas line

Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles is visiting Ottawa to brief Canadian officials on the merits of a proposed Alaska Highway-route pipeline. Knowles said North America's gas demands are high enough to justify construction of two pipelines to move arctic gas, one across Alaska and one from the Mackenzie Delta in Canada.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 31 -- Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles visited Ottawa Thursday for 2 days of meetings to promote development of Alaskan North Slope gas and to brief officials on how a proposed Alaska Highway-route pipeline could benefit Canada.

"Arctic natural gas from Alaska and Canada can meet our nations' growing energy needs with the clean-burning fuel of the 21st century, and contribute significantly to Canadian and American economic prosperity," Knowles said.

The debate has been revived regarding on where, when, and if a pipeline to move Arctic gas reserves to southern markets would be built. Knowles said North American gas demand justifies two pipeline routes, one across Alaska and one from the Mackenzie Delta in Canada.

A pipeline following the Alaska Highway route would parallel the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks, and then the Alaska highway from Fairbanks to pipeline connections near Fort St. John, BC (OGJ, Aug. 7, 2000, p. 68).

The proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline route would move as-yet-untapped gas reserves from the Northwest Territories to market. This pipeline route could be a stand-alone project or it also could transport Alaskan gas (OGJ Online, Apr. 3, 2001).

Knowles said the Alaska Highway pipeline "can begin quickest and be completed soonest" because US and Canadian officials approved much of the route years ago.

He said, "The Alaska Highway pipeline will be an enormous economic shot in the arm to both Alaska and Canada. Construction alone will last 3-5 years, creating up to direct 6,000 construction jobs in Alaska and Canada."

Knowles was slated to meet with members of the Prime Minister's natural gas development working group, with individual ministers, with US Ambassador Paul Cellucci, and with the Canadian media.

He is meeting with natural gas working group head and Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley, Environment Minister David Anderson, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Herb Dhaliwal, International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bob Nault, and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.

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