November 15, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska Senator Frank H. Murkowski today announced that major gas transmission companies, after months of negotiations, have agreed to reconstitute a partnership to transport Alaska natural gas to markets in the Lower 48. Murkowski, after a meeting with the major natural gas transmission companies announced that Foothills Pipeline Inc., TransCanada Pipelines, Duke Energy, El Paso Pipeline Group, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), National Energy Group, Sempra Energy, Westcoast Energy, Williams Gas Pipeline and Enron, have agreed to principles to return to the Alaskan gas transportation system partnership, and are proceeding immediately with development of a proposal to present to the Alaska North Slope producers by year's end. "This is a big step forward in bringing Alaska's natural gas to markets in the Lower 48. I always have believed that construction of an Alaskan gas transportation system to the Lower 48 is going to take the synergistic efforts of pipeline companies and the oil and gas production companies in cooperation with the State, the federal government and Canada. These companies bring huge financial and engineer capability, along with the existing federal permits for the highway project, to the gas line effort. "While this does not guarantee construction of a North Slope gas delivery system, it is a big step in the right direction," said Murkowski. "Alaska's oil and gas reserves hold the keys to a future of dependence." He said the principles agreed to resolve an outstanding $4 billion liability against the system, which has clouded the companies participation with Alaska's oil and gas producers in recent efforts to construct an Alaska gas line. Today's announcement, Murkowski said, sets the stage for constructive discussions between gas production and transportation companies over the economic feasibility and routing of the gas line to move Alaska's estimated 36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to market. The companies, who today rejoined the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Consortium, were original members of the Northwest Energy Co. led-consortium that won permits and presidential approval in 1976 to move Alaska gas to market through a pipeline that parallelled the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to Delta and then followed the Alaska Highway south through. The companies over the years had dropped out of the project. There return markedly improves the chances for financing of an Alaska project. It should also help Alaska's efforts to make sure any gas line allows the possibility for an all-Alaska extension to Valdez or the Kenai Peninsula to permit LNG gas exports from Alaska. ###