Companies say Alaskan gas pipeline feasible

Pipeline firms told the US Senate Energy Committee Thursday that a pipeline to move gas from the Alaskan North Slope to the Lower 48 states is feasible. "With prices hovering around $5/Mcf, the economics have never looked better for Alaskan gas to be delivered to an eager market in the Lower 48," said Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alas.), committee chairman.


Washington, DC�Pipeline firms told the US Senate Energy Committee Thursday that a pipeline to move gas from the Alaskan North Slope to the Lower 48 states is feasible.

Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alas.), committee chairman, said proven recoverable gas reserves are more than 35 tcf on the North Slope, and potential reserves may be up to 10 times that. �With prices hovering around $5/Mcf, the economics have never looked better for Alaskan gas to be delivered to an eager market in the Lower 48,� he said.

Robert L. Pierce, Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. chairman, said, �We believe that the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System [ANGTS] can be in service and transporting Alaskan North Slope gas in the 2006-07 time frame.� He said the ANGTS overland pipeline route would move the gas from Alaska to northern Alberta, from which it would be shipped to the Lower 48.

The US and Canadian governments approved the route 21 years ago, said Pierce, and it would be less environmentally disruptive than other overland routes because it would parallel existing highways.

Robert Malone, BP�s western region vice-president, said his firm is studying various options for moving the gas to market, including gas, natural gas liquids, and gas-to-liquids proposals. He said it would take 1 year to order materials for a gas pipeline and 3 years to build it.

�Our focus for Alaska gas is not to simply build a pipeline. Rather, our goal is to create a new gas exploration, development, and production industry�that sits side by side with the existing oil industry in Alaska.�

Terry Knooce, president of ExxonMobil Production Co., told the committee, �At this time, we do not know whether the Lower 48 gas market will support the major capital expenditures required for a [gas] pipeline and when such a pipeline could be built and be in operation.

�It is worth noting that there is sufficient gas on the North Slope for multiple projects if market conditions are supportive. The prospect of building a gas-to-liquids project would not be precluded by building another project, such as a pipeline to the Lower 48.�

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