June 25, 2004
The delegation that met with the governor included George Anderson, deputy minister of Natural Resources Canada; Krishna Sahay, director general of the Petroleum Resources Branch of Natural Resources Canada and assistant commissioner of the Northern Pipeline Agency; and Jim Booth, director of the Natural Gas Division at Natural Resources Canada. Brian Parrott, consul and senior trade commissioner from the consulate general of Canada in Seattle, also attended the meetings.
"We discussed permitting issues, how to settle potential problems that could cause expensive delays in the project, and what both nations can do to help get the line built," Governor Murkowski said. "They were here on a high-level, fact-finding mission, and we made sure they had all the pertinent facts necessary to advance the effort."
The governor and his staff spent much of the time updating the Canadian officials on Alaska's Stranded Gas Development Act that allows for a negotiated, long-term fiscal contract between the state and gasline developers in lieu of the uncertainty in potentially changing tax structures. The state is considering three applications for development of the project. Two of the applications were submitted by Canadian companies TransCanada Corp. and Enbridge Inc. looking for a role in the gasline that would run through Canada on its way to Lower 48 markets.
"We welcome any participant that can help the project, which Alaskans have been waiting for ever since oil and gas was discovered on the North Slope 35 years ago," Murkowski said.
The state also is negotiating with the three major North Slope producers for a Stranded Gas Act contract governing their proposal for the multibillion-dollar line.
State and Canadian officials discussed Alaska's regulatory system for pipeline construction and explored the possibility of "seamless permitting processing" for the Canadian portion of the line.
"Just as Alaska has been working with Congress and our federal government for provisions to ensure reasonable and timely reviews of permitting issues, we suggested an equal effort in Canada could be a big help in a project of this size and cost," Murkowski said.
Governor Murkowski said he expects to follow up on the meeting by traveling to Ottawa this fall for another session with Canadian officials. "This project is important not only for Alaskans but for consumers and industry in both countries. We can bring steady, affordable supplies of gas to North America for decades to come, and the line will be built if our state, provincial and federal governments keep working together."
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